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Pediatr Res. 2000 Aug;48(2):233-7.

Glucosylsphingosine accumulation in mice and patients with type 2 Gaucher disease begins early in gestation.

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Clinical Neuroscience Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Marvland 20892-4405, USA.


Gaucher disease, the most common of the sphingolipidoses, results from the inherited deficiency of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase (EC Although type 2 (acute neuronopathic) Gaucher disease is associated with rapidly progressive and fatal neurologic deterioration, the pathophysiologic mechanisms leading to the neurologic symptoms and early demise remain uncharacterized. While the pathology encountered in Gaucher disease has been attributed to glucocerebroside storage, glucosylsphingosine (Glc-sph), a cytotoxic compound, also accumulates in the tissues. Elevations of brain Glc-sph have been reported in patients with types 2 and 3 Gaucher disease. In this study, Glc-sph levels were measured using HPLC in tissues from mice with type 2 Gaucher disease created with a null glucocerebrosidase allele. Compared with unaffected littermates, homozygous mice with type 2 Gaucher disease had approximately a 100-fold elevation of Glc-sph in brain, as well as elevated levels in other tissues. This accumulation was detected in utero by E 13 and increased progressively throughout gestation. Similarly, elevated Glc-sph levels were seen in human fetuses with type 2 Gaucher disease, indicating that therapy initiated after birth may be too late to prevent the sequelae of progressive neurologic damage that begins early in gestation. These findings suggest that the accumulation of Glc-sph may be responsible for the rapid demise of mice with type 2 Gaucher disease and the devastating clinical course seen in patients with type 2 Gaucher disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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