Researchers from the University of Barcelona (UB) have identified in a study with animal models new neural circuits that are altered in Huntington’s disease, a genetically based neurodegenerative disorder that causes motor, cognitive and psychiatric alterations.

The journal ‘Journal of Neuroscience’ has published the findings of the work about this rare and hereditary disease which usually manifests itself in adults between 35 and 50 years of age and which is associated with the dysfunction of some neural pathways in the brain, the UB reported in a statement this Thursday.

in a previous work also with animal models have characterized one of the neural circuits involved in the development of the disease: the connection of the secondary motor cortex (M2) with the dorsolateral striatum (DSL).

The new work identifies for the first time that the cortex M2 sends different axonal projections towards another anatomical structure of the brain, the superior colliculus (SC), which are «deeply damaged and could be related to the symptoms of the disease».

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The researchers have observed through functional magnetic resonance the reduction of the functional connectivity between the left M2 cortex and all brain regions analyzed in mouse models of the disease.

In addition, they have discovered that a lack of activity in the M2 cortex may be responsible of the responses alerted in models of the disease using techniques such as optogenetics, electrophysiology, photometry and chemogenetics.