Although the effects of growth hormone (GH) therapy on spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3) have been examined in transgenic SCA3 mice, it still poses a nonnegligible risk of cancer when used for a long term. This study investigated the efficacy of IGF-1, a downstream mediator of GH, in vivo for SCA3 treatment. IGF-1 (50 mg/kg) or saline, once a week, was intraperitoneally injected to SCA3 84Q transgenic mice harboring a human ATXN3 gene with a pathogenic expanded 84 cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) repeat motif at 9 months of age. Compared with the control mice harboring a 15 CAG repeat motif, the SCA3 84Q mice treated with IGF-1 for 9 months exhibited the improvement only in locomotor function and minimized degeneration of the cerebellar cortex as indicated by the survival of more Purkinje cells with a more favorable mitochondrial function along with a decrease in oxidative stress caused by DNA damage. These findings could be attributable to the inhibition of mitochondrial fission, resulting in mitochondrial fusion, and decreased immunofluorescence staining in aggresome formation and ataxin-3 mutant protein levels, possibly through the enhancement of autophagy. The findings of this study show the therapeutic potential effect of IGF-1 injection for SCA3 to prevent the exacerbation of disease progress.
Keywords: Purkinje cells; autophagy; insulin-like growth factor-1; locomotor function; mitochondrial function; spinocerebellar ataxia type 3.