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Neurobiol Dis. 2003 Dec;14(3):595-601.

Toxicity of glucosylsphingosine (glucopsychosine) to cultured neuronal cells: a model system for assessing neuronal damage in Gaucher disease type 2 and 3.

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Developmental and Metabolic Neurology Branch, NINDS, NIH, DHHS, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Patients with Gaucher disease have been classified as type 1 nonneuronopathic, type 2 acute neuronopathic, and type 3 chronic neuronopathic phenotypes. Increased quantities of glucocerebroside and glucosylsphingosine (glucopsychosine) are present in the brain of type 2 and type 3 Gaucher patients. Galactosylsphingosine has previously been shown to be neurotoxic in globoid cell leukodystrophy (Krabbe disease). To determine whether glucosylsphingosine is also neurotoxic, we examined its effect on cultured cholinergic neuron-like LA-N-2 cells. When these cells were exposed to 1, 5, or 10 microM glucosylsphingosine for a period of 18 h, they became shriveled, neurite outgrowth was suppressed, and the activities of the lysosomal enzymes glucocerebrosidase, sphingomyelinase, and beta-galactosidase were reduced in a dose-dependent manner. Acetylcholine in cells exposed to glucosylsphingosine also declined. Cells switched to glucosylsphingosine-free medium partially recovered. The data suggest that accumulation of glucosylsphingosine contributes to neuronal dysfunction and destruction in patients with neuronopathic Gaucher disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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