Gaucher disease is caused by defective acid β-glucosidase (GCase) function. Saposin C is a lysosomal protein needed for optimal GCase activity. To test the in vivo effects of saposin C on GCase, saposin C deficient mice (C-/-) were backcrossed to point mutated GCase (V394L/V394L) mice. The resultant mice (4L;C*) began to exhibit CNS abnormalities ~30 days: first as hindlimb paresis, then progressive tremor and ataxia. Death occurred ~48 days due to neurological deficits. Axonal degeneration was evident in brain stem, spinal cord and white matter of cerebellum accompanied by increasing infiltration of the brain stem, cortex and thalamus by CD68 positive microglial cells and activation of astrocytes. Electron microscopy showed inclusion bodies in neuronal processes and degenerating cells. Accumulation of p62 and Lamp2 were prominent in the brain suggesting the impairment of autophagosome/lysosome function. This phenotype was different from either V394L/V394L or C-/- alone. Relative to V394L/V394L mice, 4L;C* mice had diminished GCase protein and activity. Marked increases (20-to 30-fold) of glucosylsphingosine (GS) and moderate elevation (1.5-to 3-fold) of glucosylceramide (GC) were in 4L;C* brains. Visceral tissues had increases of GS and GC, but no storage cells were found. Neuronal cells in thick hippocampal slices from 4L;C* mice had significantly attenuated long-term potentiation, presumably resulting from substrate accumulation. The 4L;C* mouse mimics the CNS phenotype and biochemistry of some type 3 (neuronopathic) variants of Gaucher disease and is a unique model suitable for testing pharmacological chaperone and substrate reduction therapies, and investigating the mechanisms of neuronopathic Gaucher disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology