Background: Huntington’s disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by CAG repeat expansions in the HTT gene. Somatic repeat expansion in the R6/1 mouse model of HD depends on mismatch repair and is worsened by base excision repair initiated by the 7,8-dihydroxy-8-oxoguanine-DNA glycosylase (Ogg1) or Nei-like 1 (Neil1). Ogg1 and Neil1 repairs common oxidative lesions.
Methods: We investigated whether anthocyanin antioxidants added daily to the drinking water could affect CAG repeat instability in several organs and behaviour in R6/1 HD mice. In addition, anthocyanin-treated and untreated R6/1 HD mice at 22 weeks of age were tested in the open field test and on the rotarod.
Results: Anthocyanin-treated R6/1 HD mice showed reduced instability index in the ears and in the cortex compared to untreated R6/1 mice, and no difference in liver and kidney. There were no significant differences in any of the parameters tested in the behavioural tests among anthocyanin-treated and untreated R6/1 HD mice.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that continuous anthocyanin-treatment may have modest effects on CAG repeat instability in the ears and the cortex of R6/1 mice. More studies are required to investigate if anthocyanin-treatment could affect behaviour earlier in the disease course.