Peripheral biological correlates of early-stage Huntington’s disease (HD) are currently attracting much interest given their possible use as prognostic predictors of later neurodegeneration. Since deficits in social-cognition processing are present among the initial disease symptoms, aim of this work was to appraise, in blood platelets, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and serotonin (5-HT) transporter (SERT), two proteins involved in human adaptive behavior as potential biochemical correlates of such disabilities in mild-HD. Thirteen gene positive and symptomatic patients (9M/4W, HD-stage II, age> 40y) together 11 gender/age matched controls without a concurrent diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, underwent a blood test to determine BDNF storage and membrane-bound SERT in platelets by ELISA immune-enzyme and [3H]-paroxetine ([3H]-PAR) binding assays, respectively. Concomitantly, all subjects were examined through a battery of socio-cognitive and emotion recognition questionnaires. Results showed moderately increased intra-platelet BDNF amounts (+20-22%) in patients versus controls, whereas [3H]-PAR binding parameters, maximum density (Bmax) and dissociation constant (KD), did not appreciably vary between the two groups. While patients displaying significantly reduced cognitive/emotion abilities, biochemical parameters and clinical features or psychosocial scores did not correlate each other, except for platelet BDNF and the illness duration, positively correlated, or for SERT KDs and angry voice recognition ability, negatively correlated in both controls and patients. Therefore, in this pilot investigation, platelet BDNF and SERT did not specifically underlie psychosocial deficits in stage II-HD. Higher platelet BDNF storage in patients showing lasting-mild symptoms would derive from compensatory mechanisms. Thus, supplementary investigations are warranted by also comparing patients in other illness’s phases.

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and Serotonin Transporter (SERT) in Platelets of Patients with Mild Huntington’s Disease: Relationships with Social Cognition Symptoms

Laura Betti
Co-primo
;
Lionella Palego;Elisa Unti;Sonia Mazzucchi;Lorenzo Kiferle;Giovanni Palermo;Ubaldo Bonuccelli;Gino Giannaccini;Roberto Ceravolo
2018-01-01

Abstract

Peripheral biological correlates of early-stage Huntington’s disease (HD) are currently attracting much interest given their possible use as prognostic predictors of later neurodegeneration. Since deficits in social-cognition processing are present among the initial disease symptoms, aim of this work was to appraise, in blood platelets, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and serotonin (5-HT) transporter (SERT), two proteins involved in human adaptive behavior as potential biochemical correlates of such disabilities in mild-HD. Thirteen gene positive and symptomatic patients (9M/4W, HD-stage II, age> 40y) together 11 gender/age matched controls without a concurrent diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, underwent a blood test to determine BDNF storage and membrane-bound SERT in platelets by ELISA immune-enzyme and [3H]-paroxetine ([3H]-PAR) binding assays, respectively. Concomitantly, all subjects were examined through a battery of socio-cognitive and emotion recognition questionnaires. Results showed moderately increased intra-platelet BDNF amounts (+20-22%) in patients versus controls, whereas [3H]-PAR binding parameters, maximum density (Bmax) and dissociation constant (KD), did not appreciably vary between the two groups. While patients displaying significantly reduced cognitive/emotion abilities, biochemical parameters and clinical features or psychosocial scores did not correlate each other, except for platelet BDNF and the illness duration, positively correlated, or for SERT KDs and angry voice recognition ability, negatively correlated in both controls and patients. Therefore, in this pilot investigation, platelet BDNF and SERT did not specifically underlie psychosocial deficits in stage II-HD. Higher platelet BDNF storage in patients showing lasting-mild symptoms would derive from compensatory mechanisms. Thus, supplementary investigations are warranted by also comparing patients in other illness’s phases.
2018
Betti, Laura; Palego, Lionella; Unti, Elisa; Mazzucchi, Sonia; Kiferle, Lorenzo; Palermo, Giovanni; Bonuccelli, Ubaldo; Giannaccini, Gino; Ceravolo, Roberto
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