Open Access Open Badges Research article

Monkey hybrid stem cells develop cellular features of Huntington's disease

Chuti Laowtammathron13, Eric CH Cheng1, Pei-Hsun Cheng1, Brooke R Snyder1, Shang-Hsun Yang12, Zach Johnson1, Chanchao Lorthongpanich3, Hung-Chih Kuo4, Rangsun Parnpai3 and Anthony WS Chan12*

Author affiliations

1 Yerkes National Primate Research Center, 954 Gatewood Rd, NE Atlanta, GA 39329, USA

2 Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, 615 Michael St, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA

3 Embryo Technology and Stem Cell Research Center, School of Biotechnology, Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhon Ratchasima 30000, Thailand

4 Stem Cell Program, Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology and Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

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Citation and License

BMC Cell Biology 2010, 11:12  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-11-12

Published: 5 February 2010



Pluripotent stem cells that are capable of differentiating into different cell types and develop robust hallmark cellular features are useful tools for clarifying the impact of developmental events on neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's disease. Additionally, a Huntington's cell model that develops robust pathological features of Huntington's disease would be valuable for drug discovery research.


To test this hypothesis, a pluripotent Huntington's disease monkey hybrid cell line (TrES1) was established from a tetraploid Huntington's disease monkey blastocyst generated by the fusion of transgenic Huntington's monkey skin fibroblast and a wild-type non-transgenic monkey oocyte. The TrES1 developed key Huntington's disease cellular pathological features that paralleled neural development. It expressed mutant huntingtin and stem cell markers, was capable of differentiating to neural cells, and developed teratoma in severely compromised immune deficient (SCID) mice. Interestingly, the expression of mutant htt, the accumulation of oligomeric mutant htt and the formation of intranuclear inclusions paralleled neural development in vitro , and even mutant htt was ubiquitously expressed. This suggests the development of Huntington's disease cellular features is influenced by neural developmental events.


Huntington's disease cellular features is influenced by neural developmental events. These results are the first to demonstrate that a pluripotent stem cell line is able to mimic Huntington's disease progression that parallels neural development, which could be a useful cell model for investigating the developmental impact on Huntington's disease pathogenesis.