Calcium and Huntington’s Disease

Posted: April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Calcium plays an important role in mitochondrial function.  In previous articles I discussed the mitochondria’s role in Huntington’s Disease.  There was a study published in the journal Nature that suggested that the early symptoms of HD were the result of a decrease in number, size, and distribution of the mitochondria (Song, 2011). 

The mitochondria change according to the demands of the brain.  One of the changes the mitochondria undergo are the act of splitting, or fission.  In patients with HD this  process is enhanced and leads to the mitochondria being incomplete, or as the study calls it being fragmented.  The degree of fragmentation also correlated with the severity of symptoms (  This has led some researchers to theorize that the Huntington gene may also regulate the mitochondria.

Calcium plays a critical role in the health status of the mitochondria.  Calcium helps form Ca2+ (calmodulin-dependent protein kinases II).  Impaired uptake of Ca2+ downregulates mitochondrial metabolism.  Under oxidative stress mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake overload can lead to cell death (  In a previous article I explained how there is a decrease in intracellular glutathione and in increase in oxidative stress in HD.

Many researchers are looking at Ca2+ uptake and mitochondrial stress as the main culprits to the onset of symptoms in the disease (  Important things to keep in mind are one, healthy mitochondria rely on stable blood sugar levels.  This means it is critical to be good at burning fat for energy.  Magnesium is also important as well as our copper:zinc ratio (explained in last post), manganese, carnosine, vitamin A, vitamin C, ALA, CoQ10, and resveratol.  I will get to all of these pieces in future entries.


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