Huntington's disease affects not only neurons but also small vessels of brain

June 11, 2024  11:04

Neurophysiologists have found new evidence that Huntington's disease is not only accompanied by mass destruction of neurons, but also by disruptions in the work of small vessels in the brain, which considerably worsens the oxygen supply to the brain, reported the press service of Lancaster University (UK).

Scientists discovered that Huntington's disease affects not only the nerve cells, but also the small vessels of the brain. Monitoring has shown that changes in the functioning of brain vessels occur even before the first visible symptoms of Huntington's disease appear, which can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of therapies for early detection of the disease and the evaluation of lifestyle changes, the statement noted.

The discovery was made by a group of neurophysiologists, led by Professor Aneta Stefanovska from Lancaster University, and brain activity of 30 patients with the disease and the same number of healthy volunteers was monitored. The scientists monitored, with the help of an infrared spectroscope and an electroencephalograph, the brain activity of the patients and studied the work of their heart and lungs.

The researchers explained that they were interested in the interaction between the brain and the blood circulation system in the sense of a recent discovery made by biologists. It was found that brain neurons contain a large amount of HTT protein, the synthesis of which is disturbed in people with Huntington's disease. This has led scientists to the idea that the occurrence of the disease can create disruptions in the work of cells and the supply of oxygen to the brain.

In people with Huntington's disease, the rhythms of nerve cell activity, blood vessel pulses, and the work of respiratory organs were not synchronized with each other, which leads to problems in providing oxygen to the brain. This was not typical for healthy volunteers, in whom all these rhythms were synchronized.

According to the researchers, this feature of Huntington's disease can be used as a biomarker, which will enable non-invasive and timely detection of the first signs of its occurrence. In addition, this discovery points to the fact that therapies should not only slow down the destruction of neurons, but also restore the function of small blood vessels in the brain.

Huntington's disease is a severe disease of the nervous system associated with the appearance of mutations in the HTT gene. The excessive number of genetic repetitions within the gene leads to the fact that at around the age of 30-50 the neurons of the brain begin to die, as a result of which the sufferers gradually lose control of the movements of their limbs, and later the cognitive functions of the brain are also impaired.

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