Proper development of neuronal cells is important for brain functions, and impairment of neuronal development may lead to neuronal disorders, implying that improvement in neuronal development may be a therapeutic direction for these diseases. Huntington’s disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by impairment of neuronal structures, ultimately leading to neuronal death and dysfunctions of the central nervous system. Based on previous studies, fibroblast growth factor 9 (FGF9) may provide neuroprotective functions in HD, and FGFs may enhance neuronal development and neurite outgrowth. However, whether FGF9 can provide neuronal protective functions through improvement of neuronal morphology in HD is still unclear. Here, we study the effects of FGF9 on neuronal length in HD and attempt to understand the related working mechanisms. Taking advantage of striatal cell lines from HD knock-in mice, we found that FGF9 increases total neuronal length and upregulates several structural and synaptic proteins under HD conditions. In addition, activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) signaling by FGF9 was observed to be significant in HD cells, and blockage of NF-kB leads to suppression of these structural and synaptic proteins induced by FGF9, suggesting the involvement of NF-kB signaling in these effects of FGF9. Taken these results together, FGF9 may enhance total neuronal length through upregulation of NF-kB signaling, and this mechanism could serve as an important mechanism for neuroprotective functions of FGF9 in HD.
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