Huntington's disease (HD) is a late-onset, neurodegenerative disease for which there are currently no cures nor disease-modifying treatments. Here we report the identification of several potential anti-inflammatory targets for HD using an ex vivo model of HD that involves the acute transfection of human mutant huntingtin-based constructs into rat brain slices. This model recapitulates key components of the human disease, including the formation of intracellular huntingtin protein (HTT)-containing inclusions and the progressive neurodegeneration of striatal neurons-both occurring within the native tissue context of these neurons. Using this "high-throughput biology" screening platform, we conducted a hypothesis-neutral screen of a collection of drug-like compounds which identified several anti-inflammatory targets that provided neuroprotection against HTT fragment-induced neurodegeneration. The nature of these targets provide further support for non-cell autonomous mechanisms mediating significant aspects of neuropathogenesis induced by mutant HTT fragment proteins.
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