Subcortical neurodegeneration in chorea: Similarities and differences between chorea-acanthocytosis and Huntington's disease

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2018 Apr:49:54-59. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2018.01.009. Epub 2018 Jan 10.


Introduction: Chorea-acanthocytosis (ChAc) and Huntington's disease (HD) are neurodegenerative conditions that share clinical and neuropathological features, despite their distinct genetic etiologies.

Methods: In order to compare these neuropathologies, serial gallocyanin-stained brain sections from three subjects with ChAc were analyzed and compared with our previous studies of eight HD cases, in addition to three hemispheres from two male controls.

Results: Astrogliosis was much greater in the ChAc striatum, as compared to that found in HD, with dramatic increase in total striatal glia numbers and the number of glia per striatal neuron. Striatal astrocytes are most likely derived from the striatal subependymal layer in ChAc, which showed massive proliferation. The thalamic centromedian-parafascicular complex is reciprocally connected to the striatum and is more heavily affected in HD than in ChAc.

Conclusion: The distinct patterns of selective vulnerability and gliosis observed in HD and ChAc challenge simplistic views on the pathogenesis of these two diseases with rather similar clinical signs. The particular roles played by astroglia in ChAc and in HD clearly need to be elucidated in more detail.

Keywords: Chorea-acanthocytosis; Huntington's disease; Stereology; Subcortical neurodegenerationin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Corpus Striatum / cytology
  • Corpus Striatum / pathology*
  • Female
  • Gliosis / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroacanthocytosis / pathology*
  • Thalamus / cytology
  • Thalamus / pathology*