Cerebral Vitamin B5 (D-Pantothenic Acid) Deficiency as a Potential Cause of Metabolic Perturbation and Neurodegeneration in Huntington's Disease

Metabolites. 2019 Jun 11;9(6):113. doi: 10.3390/metabo9060113.


Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded CAG repeat in exon 1 of the HTT gene. HD usually manifests in mid-life with loss of GABAergic projection neurons from the striatum accompanied by progressive atrophy of the putamen followed by other brain regions, but linkages between the genetics and neurodegeneration are not understood. We measured metabolic perturbations in HD-human brain in a case-control study, identifying pervasive lowering of vitamin B5, the obligatory precursor of coenzyme A (CoA) that is essential for normal intermediary metabolism. Cerebral pantothenate deficiency is a newly-identified metabolic defect in human HD that could potentially: (i) impair neuronal CoA biosynthesis; (ii) stimulate polyol-pathway activity; (iii) impair glycolysis and tricarboxylic acid cycle activity; and (iv) modify brain-urea metabolism. Pantothenate deficiency could lead to neurodegeneration/dementia in HD that might be preventable by treatment with vitamin B5.

Keywords: Huntington’s disease; acetyl-coenzyme A; acetylcholine biosynthesis; bioinformatics; brain energy metabolism; data analytics; data visualisation; metabolomics; neurodegeneration; vitamin B5.