Neuroprotective effects of PPAR-γ agonist rosiglitazone in N171-82Q mouse model of Huntington's disease

Jing Jin, Jennifer Albertz, Zhihong Guo, Qi Peng, Gay Rudow, Juan C. Troncoso, Christopher A. Ross, Wenzhen Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Huntington's disease (HD) is a devastating genetic neurodegenerative disease caused by CAG trinucleotide expansion in the exon-1 region of the huntingtin gene. Currently, no cure is available. It is becoming increasingly apparent that mutant Huntingtin (HTT) impairs metabolic homeostasis and causes transcriptional dysregulation. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-γ) is a transcriptional factor that plays a key role in regulating genes involved in energy metabolism; recent studies demonstrated that PPAR-γ activation prevented mitochondrial depolarization in cells expressing mutant HTT and attenuated neurodegeneration in various models of neurodegenerative diseases. PPAR-γ-coactivator 1α (PGC-1 α) transcription activity is also impaired by mutant HTT. We now report that the PPAR-γ agonist, rosiglitazone (RSG), significantly attenuated mutant HTT-induced toxicity in striatal cells and that the protective effect of RSG is mediated by activation of PPAR-γ. Moreover, chronic administration of RSG (10 mg/kg/day, i.p) significantly improved motor function and attenuated hyperglycemia in N171-82Q HD mice. RSG administration rescued brain derived neurotrophic factor(BDNF) deficiency in the cerebral cortex, and prevented loss of orexin-A-immunopositive neurons in the hypothalamus of N171-82Q HD mice. RSG also prevented PGC-1α reduction and increased Sirt6 protein levels in HD mouse brain. Our results suggest that modifying the PPAR-γ pathway plays a beneficial role in rescuing motor function as well as glucose metabolic abnormalities in HD. Huntington's disease (HD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that no cure is available. We found that PPARγ agonist rosiglitazone normalizes the levels of the Sirt6, restores the levels of BDNF and PGC-1α in HD models. The protective effects of rosiglitazone in HD mice suggest that targeting the PPAR-γ signaling pathway should be considered in developing HD therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-419
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013


  • BDNF
  • PGC-1α
  • PPAR-γ
  • Sirt6
  • glucose metabolism
  • huntingtin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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