Neuroimaging, Urinary, and Plasma Biomarkers of Treatment Response in Huntington's Disease: Preclinical Evidence with the p75NTR Ligand LM11A-31. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics Simmons, D. A., Mills, B. D., Butler Iii, R. R., Kuan, J., McHugh, T. L., Akers, C., Zhou, J., Syriani, W., Grouban, M., Zeineh, M., Longo, F. M. 2021


Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by an expansion of the CAG repeat in the huntingtin gene leading to preferential neurodegeneration of the striatum. Disease-modifying treatments are not yet available to HD patients and their development would be facilitated by translatable pharmacodynamic biomarkers. Multi-modal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and plasma cytokines have been suggested as disease onset/progression biomarkers, but their ability to detect treatment efficacy is understudied. This study used the R6/2 mouse model of HD to assess if structural neuroimaging and biofluid assays can detect treatment response using as a prototype the small molecule p75NTR ligand LM11A-31, shown previously to reduce HD phenotypes in these mice. LM11A-31 alleviated volume reductions in multiple brain regions, including striatum, of vehicle-treated R6/2 mice relative to wild-types (WTs), as assessed with in vivo MRI. LM11A-31 also normalized changes in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics and diminished increases in certain plasma cytokine levels, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6, in R6/2 mice. Finally, R6/2-vehicle mice had increased urinary levels of the p75NTR extracellular domain (ecd), a cleavage product released with pro-apoptotic ligand binding that detects the progression of other neurodegenerative diseases; LM11A-31 reduced this increase. These results are the first to show that urinary p75NTR-ecd levels are elevated in an HD mouse model and can be used to detect therapeutic effects. These data also indicate that multi-modal MRI and plasma cytokine levels may be effective pharmacodynamic biomarkers and that using combinations of these markers would be a viable and powerful option for clinical trials.

View details for DOI 10.1007/s13311-021-01023-8

View details for PubMedID 33786806