Metabolic and hormonal signatures in pre-manifest and manifest Huntington's disease patients

Rui Wang, Christopher A. Ross, Huan Cai, Wei Na Cong, Caitlin M. Daimon, Olga D. Carlson, Josephine M. Egan, Sana Siddiqui, Stuart Maudsley, Bronwen Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder typified by involuntary body movements, and psychiatric and cognitive abnormalities. Many HD patients also exhibit metabolic changes including progressive weight loss and appetite dysfunction. Here we have investigated metabolic function in pre-manifest and manifest HD subjects to establish an HD subject metabolic hormonal plasma signature. Individuals at risk for HD who have had predictive genetic testing showing the cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) expansion causative of HD, but who do not yet present signs and symptoms sufficient for the diagnosis of manifest HD are said to be "pre-manifest." Pre-manifest and manifest HD patients, as well as both familial and non-familial controls, were evaluated for multiple peripheral metabolism signals including circulating levels of hormones, growth factors, lipids, and cytokines. Both pre-manifest and manifest HD subjects exhibited significantly reduced levels of circulating growth factors, including growth hormone and prolactin. HD-related changes in the levels of metabolic hormones such as ghrelin, glucagon, and amylin were also observed. Total cholesterol, HDL-C, and LDL-C were significantly decreased in HD subjects. C-reactive protein was significantly elevated in pre-manifest HD subjects. The observation of metabolic alterations, even in subjects considered to be in the pre-manifest stage of HD, suggests that in addition, and prior, to overt neuronal damage, HD affects metabolic hormone secretion and energy regulation, which may shed light on pathogenesis, and provide opportunities for biomarker development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 231
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume5 JUN
StatePublished - 2014


  • Huntington's disease
  • lipids
  • metabolic hormones
  • peripheral energy metabolism
  • pre-manifest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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