Infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis is a devastating neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disease caused by mutations in the gene (CLN1 or PPT1) encoding palmitoyl-protein thioesterase-1 (PPT1). We have previously reported that phosphocysteamine and N-acetylcysteine mediate ceroid depletion in cultured cells from patients with this disease.
We aim ed to assess whether combination of oral cysteamine bitartrate and N-acetylcysteine is beneficial for patients with neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. 9 INCL patients (5 female and 4 males) were treated with oral cysteamine bitartrate (60 mg/kg per day) and N-acetylcysteine (60 mg/kg per day) and were assessed every 6-12 months until they had an isoelectric electroencephalogram (EEG, attesting to a vegetative state) or they were too ill to travel. Patients were evaluated by electroretinography, brain MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), and electron microscopic analyses of leukocytes for granular osmiophilic deposits (GRODs). Children also underwent physical and neurodevelopmental assessments on the Denver scale. Outcomes were compared with the reported natural history of infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis and that of affected older siblings. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00028262. Patients were followed up for 8 to 75 months. MRI showed abnormalities similar to those in previous reports; brain volume and N-acetyl aspartic acid (NAA) decreased steadily, but no published quantitative MRI or MRS studies were available for comparison. None of the children acquired new developmental skills, and their retinal function decreased progressively. Average time to isoelectric EEG (52 months, SD 13) was longer than reported previously (36 months). At the first follow-up visit, peripheral leukocytes in all nine patients showed virtually complete depletion of GRODs. Parents and physicians reported less irritability, improved alertness, or both in seven patients. No treatment-related adverse events occurred apart from mild gastrointestinal discomfort in two patients, which disappeared when liquid cysteamine bitartrate was replaced with capsules. Our findings suggest that combination therapy with cysteamine bitartrate and N-acetylcysteine is associated with delay of isoelectric EEG, depletion of GRODs, and subjective benefits as reported by parents and physicians. Our systematic and quantitative report of the natural history of patients with infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis provides platform for future assessment of experimental treatments; (b) Since nonsense mutations account for 5-70% of all genetic disorders. In the United States, nonsense mutations in the CLN1/PPT1 gene underlie >40% of the patients with infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (INCL), a devastating neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disease. We sought to generate a reliable mouse model of INCL carrying the most common Ppt1 nonsense mutation (c.451C>T) found in the United States patient population to provide a platform for evaluating nonsense suppressors in vivo. We knocked-in c.451C>T nonsense mutation in the Ppt1 gene in C57 embryonic stem (ES) cells using a targeting vector in which LoxP flanked the Neo cassette, which was removed from targeted ES cells by electroporating Cre. Two independently targeted ES clones were injected into blastocysts to generate syngenic C57 knock-in mice, obviating the necessity for extensive backcrossing.Generation of Ppt1-KI mice was confirmed by DNA sequencing, which showed the presence of c.451C>T mutation in the Ppt1 gene. These mice are viable and fertile, although they developed spasticity (a clasping phenotype) at a median age of 6 months. Autofluorescent storage materials accumulated throughout the brain regions and in visceral organs. Electron microscopic analysis of the brain and the spleen showed granular osmiophilic deposits. Increased neuronal apoptosis was particularly evident in cerebral cortex and abnormal histopathological and electroretinographic (ERG) analyses attested striking retinal degeneration. Progressive deterioration of motor coordination and behavioral parameters continued until eventual death. Our findings show that Ppt1-KI mice reliably recapitulate INCL phenotype providing a platform for testing the efficacy of existing and novel nonsense suppressors in vivo; (c) Neurodegeneration is a devastating manifestation in the majority of >50 lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs). Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) are the most common childhood neurodegenerative LSDs. Mutations in 13 different genes (called CLNs) underlie various types of NCLs, of which the infantile NCL (INCL) and congenital NCL (CNCL) are the most lethal. Although inactivating mutations in the CLN1 gene encoding palmitoyl-protein thioesterase-1 (PPT1) cause INCL, those in the CLN10 gene encoding cathepsin D (CD) underlie CNCL. PPT1 is a lysosomal thioesterase that cleaves the thioester linkage in S-acylated proteins required for their degradation by lysosomal hydrolases like CD. Thus, PPT1 deficiency causes lysosomal accumulation of these lipidated proteins (major constituents of ceroid) leading to INCL. We sought to determine whether there is a common pathogenic link between INCL and CNCL. Using biochemical, histological and confocal microscopic analyses of brain tissues and cells from Cln1-/- mice that mimic INCL, we uncovered that Cln10/CD is overexpressed. Although synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum, the CD-precursor protein (pro-CD) is transported through endosome to the lysosome where it is proteolytically processed to enzymatically active-CD. We found that despite Cln10 overexpression, the maturation of pro-CD to enzymatically active-CD in lysosome was disrupted. This defect impaired lysosomal degradative function causing accumulation of undegraded cargo in lysosome leading to INCL. Notably, treatment of intact Cln1-/- mice as well as cultured brain cells derived from these animals with a thioesterase-mimetic small molecule, N-tert-butyl-hydroxylamine, ameliorated the CD-processing defect. Our findings are significant in that they define a pathway in which Cln1 mutations disrupt the maturation of a major degradative enzyme in lysosome contributing to neuropathology in INCL and suggest that lysosomal CD deficiency is a common pathogenic link between INCL and CNCL.
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