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J Neurochem. 2000 Jun;74(6):2512-9.

Accumulation of N-acetyl-L-aspartate in the brain of the tremor rat, a mutant exhibiting absence-like seizure and spongiform degeneration in the central nervous system.

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Institute of Laboratory Animals, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Japan.


The tremor rat is a mutant that exhibits absence-like seizure and spongiform degeneration in the CNS. By positional cloning, a genomic deletion was found within the critical region in which the aspartoacylase gene is located. Accordingly, no aspartoacylase expression was detected in any of the tissues examined, and abnormal accumulation of N-acetyl-L-aspartate (NAA) was shown in the mutant brain, in correlation with the severity of the vacuole formation. Therefore, the tremor rat may be regarded as a suitable animal model of human Canavan disease, characterized by spongy leukodystrophy that is caused by aspartoacylase deficiency. Interestingly, direct injection of NAA into normal rat cerebroventricle induced 4- to 10-Hz polyspikes or spikewave-like complexes in cortical and hippocampal EEG, concomitantly with behavior characterized by sudden immobility and staring. These results suggested that accumulated NAA in the CNS would induce neuroexcitation and neurodegeneration directly or indirectly.

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