Quantitation of huntingtin protein in the brain is needed, both as a marker of Huntington disease (HD) progression and for use in clinical gene silencing trials. Measurement of huntingtin in cerebrospinal fluid could be a biomarker of brain huntingtin, but traditional protein quantitation methods have failed to detect huntingtin in cerebrospinal fluid. Using micro-bead based immunoprecipitation and flow cytometry (IP-FCM), we have developed a highly sensitive mutant huntingtin detection assay. The sensitivity of huntingtin IP-FCM enables accurate detection of mutant huntingtin protein in the cerebrospinal fluid of HD patients and model mice, demonstrating that mutant huntingtin levels in cerebrospinal fluid reflect brain levels, increasing with disease stage and decreasing following brain huntingtin suppression. This technique has potential applications as a research tool and as a clinical biomarker.
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