Excitotoxin lesions do not mimic the alteration of somatostatin in Huntington's disease

M. Flint Beal, Patricia E. Marshall, Gail D. Burd, Dennis M.D. Landis, Joseph B. Martin

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28 Scopus citations


Huntington's disease is accompanied by severe neuronal death in the striatum, but despite this cell loss, there is a marked increase in the striatal concentration of somatostatin-like immunoreactivity (SLI). We attempted to examine the mechanism of this increase by using kainic or ibotenic acid to effect a unilateral lesion in the rat neostriatum. Graded doses of toxin cause a proportional decrease in the concentration of somatostatin-like immunoreactivity to a maximum of 50% of control, which is stable over an interval of 3 months. The increased somatostatin-like immunoreactivity in Huntington's disease is not mimicked by the excitotoxin lesions in rats. In addition we find that unilateral kainic acid lesions in the striatum reduce SLI in the contralateral striatum as well, although histologic evidence and assay of choline acetyltransferase activity indicate that damage is confined to the injected side. Immunocytochemistry demonstrates a loss of somatostatin-containing neurons on the lesioned side but no discernible loss in the contralateral striatum. The bilateral decrease in SLI following unilateral lesions suggests damage to a somatostatin projection to the contralateral striatum or a compensatory interaction between the two striatal nuclei.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 30 1985


  • Huntington's disease
  • ibotenic acid
  • immunocytochemistry
  • kainic acid
  • somatostatin
  • striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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