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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Feb 17;106(7):2377-82. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0810895106. Epub 2009 Jan 26.

Reversal of defective lysosomal transport in NPC disease ameliorates liver dysfunction and neurodegeneration in the npc1-/- mouse.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


Niemann-Pick type C disease is largely attributable to an inactivating mutation of NPC1 protein, which normally aids movement of unesterified cholesterol (C) from the endosomal/lysosomal (E/L) compartment to the cytosolic compartment of cells throughout the body. This defect results in activation of macrophages in many tissues, progressive liver disease, and neurodegeneration. In the npc1(-/-) mouse, a model of this disease, the whole-animal C pool expands from 2,082 to 4,925 mg/kg body weight (bw) and the hepatic C pool increases from 132 to 1,485 mg/kg bw between birth and 49 days of age. A single dose of 2-hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin (CYCLO) administered at 7 days of age immediately caused this sequestered C to flow from the lysosomes to the cytosolic pool in many organs, resulting in a marked increase in cholesteryl esters, suppression of C but not fatty acid synthesis, down-regulation of genes controlled by sterol regulatory element 2, and up-regulation of many liver X receptor target genes. There was also decreased expression of proinflammatory proteins in the liver and brain. In the liver, where the rate of C sequestration equaled 79 mg x d(-1) x kg(-1), treatment with CYCLO within 24 h increased C movement out of the E/L compartment from near 0 to 233 mg x d(-1) x kg(-1). By 49 days of age, this single injection of CYCLO resulted in a reduction in whole-body C burden of >900 mg/kg, marked improvement in liver function tests, much less neurodegeneration, and, ultimately, significant prolongation of life. These findings suggest that CYCLO acutely reverses the lysosomal transport defect seen in NPC disease.

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