The IGF-1/Akt pathway is neuroprotective in Huntington’s disease and involves Huntingtin phosphorylation by Akt.
Dev. Cell 2:831-837.
In the search for neuroprotective factors in Huntington's disease, we found that insulin growth factor 1 via activation of the serine/threonine kinase Akt/PKB is able to inhibit neuronal death specifically induced by mutant huntingtin containing an expanded polyglutamine stretch. The IGF-1/Akt pathway has a dual effect on huntingtin-induced toxicity, since activation of this pathway also results in a decrease in the formation of intranuclear inclusions of mutant huntingtin. We demonstrate that huntingtin is a substrate of Akt and that phosphorylation of huntingtin by Akt is crucial to mediate the neuroprotective effects of IGF-1. Finally, we show that Akt is altered in Huntington's disease patients. Taken together, these results support a potential role of the Akt pathway in Huntington's disease.