Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC) is a neurovisceral disorder associated with the accumulation of lipids such as cholesterol and sphingolipids. NPC is caused by either NPC1 or NPC2, which encode lysosomal proteins located at membraneous and soluble fractions, respectively. For the past decade, the oxidation products of cholesterol, such as cholestane-3β,5α,6β-triol and 7-ketocholesterol, have been considered selective biomarkers for NPC. However, recent evidence has indicated numerous novel biomarkers for NPC, which raises the possibility that the diagnosis of NPC might be associated with the elevation of multiple lipid biomarkers, rather than a single biomarker. Sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC) has been suggested to be one such biomarker for NPC, in which elevated sphingomyelin is a potential precursor. Thus, we first performed a validation study of plasma SPC using LC-MS/MS. The results showed the following plasma concentrations in the NPC-affected and control individuals, respectively: 8.2 ± 2.8 nM (mean ± SD; median, 7.0 nM; max, 11.7 nM; min, 5.1 nM; n = 5) and 3.1 ± 1.4 nM (median, 2.9 nM; max, 4.8 nM; min, 1.5 nM; n = 7). We further extended the study to plasma lysophingomyelin-509 for NPC, a newly reported biomarker with uncharacterized chemical nature. Based on these result with plasma SPC as a surrogate marker, the value of mean of median of plasma lysophingomyelin-509 in NPC-affected individuals elevated at 65.2 (max, 73.2; min, 26.7; n = 5). Furthermore, the efficacy of plasma SPC and lysosphingomyelin-509 as promising biomarkers for this disorder was supported by the finding that the urinary concentration of 3β-sulfooxy-7β-N-acetylglucosaminyl-5-cholen-24-oic acid, an established biomarker for NPC, was also elevated in the NPC-affected individuals. These results suggest that a novel combination of plasma biomarkers, such as SPC and/or lysophingomyelin-509, and urinary bile acid metabolite could offer a promising platform for the diagnosis of NPC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology