Inactivation of the mouse homologue of the Huntington disease gene (Hdh) results in early embryonic lethality. To investigate the normal function of Hdh in the adult and to evaluate current models for Huntington disease (HD), we have used the Cre/loxP site-specific recombination strategy to inactivate Hdh expression in the forebrain and testis, resulting in a progressive degenerative neuronal phenotype and sterility. On the basis of these results, we propose that huntingtin is required for neuronal function and survival in the brain and that a loss-of-function mechanism may contribute to HD pathogenesis.
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