Huntington’s disease (HD) is a dominantly inherited progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by the accumulation of polyglutamine expanded mutant huntingtin as inclusion bodies primarily in the brain. After the discovery of the HD gene, considerable progress has been made in understanding the disease pathogenesis and multiple drug targets have been identified, even though currently there is no effective therapy. Here, we demonstrate that the treatment of topotecan, a brain-penetrating topoisomerase 1 inhibitor, to HD transgenic mouse considerably improved its motor behavioural abnormalities along with a significant extension of lifespan. Improvement of behavioural deficits are accompanied with the significant rescue of their progressively decreased body weight, brain weight and striatal volume. Interestingly, topotecan treatment also significantly reduced insoluble mutant huntingtin load in the HD mouse brain. Finally, we show that topotecan treatment to HD mouse not only inhibits the expression of transgenic mutant huntingtin, but also at the same time induces the expression of Ube3a, an ubiquitin ligase linked to the clearance of mutant huntingtin. These findings suggest that topotecan could be a potential therapeutic molecule to delay the progression of HD.

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