Send to

Choose Destination
J Inherit Metab Dis. 2000 Mar;23(2):175-84.

The increased sensitivity of neurons with elevated glucocerebroside to neurotoxic agents can be reversed by imiglucerase.

Author information

Department of Biological Chemistry, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


We have recently demonstrated that incubation of cultured rat hippocampal neurons with conduritol beta-epoxide (CBE), an inhibitor of glucocerebrosidase, the enzyme defective in Gaucher disease, results in changes in intracellular morphology and in functional calcium stores. Changes in levels of functional calcium stores are directly related to neuronal cell death. We now show that neurons incubated with either CBE or a non-hydrolysable analogue of GlcCer (glucosylthioceramide), are more sensitive to the toxic effects of high concentrations of glutamate and of a variety of metabolic inhibitors. A linear relationship exists between level of accumulation of GlcCer and the extent of neuronal cell death. The deleterious effects of elevated GlcCer levels can be completely reversed by addition of human glucocerebrosidase (imiglucerase) to the culture medium. Imiglucerase is internalized to lysosomes, where it presumably degrades excess GlcCer. This suggests that the limited success of enzyme replacement therapy in neuronopathic forms of Gaucher disease is not due to lack of efficacy of glucocerebroside in degrading GlcCer in neurons of the central nervous system, and adds impetus to attempts to develop ways to efficiently deliver glucocerebrosidase to the brains of neurologically compromised Gaucher disease patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center