Formation of neuronal intranuclear inclusions underlies the neurological dysfunction in mice transgenic for the HD mutation

Cell. 1997 Aug 8;90(3):537-48. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)80513-9.


Huntington's disease (HD) is one of an increasing number of human neurodegenerative disorders caused by a CAG/polyglutamine-repeat expansion. The mutation occurs in a gene of unknown function that is expressed in a wide range of tissues. The molecular mechanism responsible for the delayed onset, selective pattern of neuropathology, and cell death observed in HD has not been described. We have observed that mice transgenic for exon 1 of the human HD gene carrying (CAG)115 to (CAG)156 repeat expansions develop pronounced neuronal intranuclear inclusions, containing the proteins huntingtin and ubiquitin, prior to developing a neurological phenotype. The appearance in transgenic mice of these inclusions, followed by characteristic morphological change within neuronal nuclei, is strikingly similar to nuclear abnormalities observed in biopsy material from HD patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cell Nucleus / pathology
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure*
  • Disease Progression
  • Exons
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Huntingtin Protein
  • Huntington Disease / genetics*
  • Huntington Disease / pathology*
  • Huntington Disease / physiopathology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inclusion Bodies / pathology
  • Inclusion Bodies / ultrastructure*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neurons / ultrastructure*
  • Nuclear Proteins / analysis
  • Nuclear Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Ubiquitins / analysis
  • Weight Loss


  • HTT protein, human
  • Htt protein, mouse
  • Huntingtin Protein
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Ubiquitins