© 2017 The Author(s). We have previously shown that exon 1 of the huntingtin gene does not always splice to exon 2 resulting in the production of a small polyadenylated mRNA (HTTexon1) that encodes the highly pathogenic exon 1 HTT protein. The level of this read-through product is proportional to CAG repeat length and is present in all knock-in mouse models of Huntington's disease (HD) with CAG lengths of 50 and above and in the YAC128 and BACHD mouse models, both of which express a copy of the human HTT gene. We have now developed specific protocols for the quantitative analysis of the transcript levels of HTTexon1 in human tissue and applied these to a series of fibroblast lines and post-mortem brain samples from individuals with either adult-onset or juvenile-onset HD. We found that the HTTexon1 mRNA is present in fibroblasts from juvenile HD patients and can also be readily detected in the sensory motor cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum of post-mortem brains from HD individuals, particularly in those with early onset disease. This finding will have important implications for strategies to lower mutant HTT levels in patients and the design of future therapeutics.