FGF-2 promotes neurogenesis and neuroprotection and prolongs survival in a transgenic mouse model of Huntington's disease

Kunlin Jin, Michelle LaFevre-Bernt, Yunjuan Sun, Sylvia Chen, Juliette Gafni, Danielle Crippen, Anna Logvinova, Christopher A. Ross, David A. Greenberg, Lisa M. Ellerby

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180 Scopus citations


There is no satisfactory treatment for Huntington's disease (HD), a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder that produces chorea, dementia, and death. One potential treatment strategy involves the replacement of dead neurons by stimulating the proliferation of endogenous neuronal precursors (neurogenesis) and their migration into damaged regions of the brain. Because growth factors are neuroprotective in some settings and can also stimulate neurogenesis, we treated HD transgenic R6/2 mice from 8 weeks of age until death by s.c. administration of FGF-2, FGF-2 increased the number of proliferating cells in the subventricular zone by ≈30% in wild-type mice, and by ≈150% in HD transgenic R6/2 mice. FGF-2 also induced the recruitment of new neurons from the subventricular zone into the neostriatum and cerebral cortex of HD transgenic R6/2 mice. In the striatum, these neurons were DARPP-32-expressing medium spiny neurons, consistent with the phenotype of neurons lost in HD. FGF-2 was neuroprotective as well, because it blocked cell death induced by mutant expanded Htt in primary striatal cultures. FGF-2 also reduced polyglutamine aggregates, improved motor performance, and extended lifespan by ≈20%. We conclude that FGF-2 improves neurological deficits and longevity in a transgenic mouse model of HD, and that its neuroprotective and neuroproliferative effects may contribute to this improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18189-18194
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number50
StatePublished - 13 Dec 2005


  • Polyglutamine
  • Trophic factor


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