Molecular neurobiology

Inhibition of Excessive Monoamine Oxidase A/B Activity Protects Against Stress-induced Neuronal Death in Huntington Disease.

PMID 25398695


Monoamine oxidases (MAO) are important components of the homeostatic machinery that maintains the levels of monoamine neurotransmitters, including dopamine, in balance. Given the imbalance in dopamine levels observed in Huntington disease (HD), the aim of this study was to examine MAO activity in a mouse striatal cell model of HD and in human neural cells differentiated from control and HD patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) lines. We show that mouse striatal neural cells expressing mutant huntingtin (HTT) exhibit increased MAO expression and activity. We demonstrate using luciferase promoter assays that the increased MAO expression reflects enhanced epigenetic activation in striatal neural cells expressing mutant HTT. Using cellular stress paradigms, we further demonstrate that the increase in MAO activity in mutant striatal neural cells is accompanied by enhanced susceptibility to oxidative stress and impaired viability. Treatment of mutant striatal neural cells with MAO inhibitors ameliorated oxidative stress and improved cellular viability. Finally, we demonstrate that human HD neural cells exhibit increased MAO-A and MAO-B expression and activity. Altogether, this study demonstrates abnormal MAO expression and activity and suggests a potential use for MAO inhibitors in HD.