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Autophagy. 2009 Aug;5(6):860-1. Epub 2009 Aug 23.

Gangliosides' protection against lysosomal pathology of synucleinopathies.

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Laboratory for Chemistry and Metabolism, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience, Fuchu, Tokyo, Japan.


Gangliosides are abundantly expressed in the nervous system, and deregulated expression or activity of gangliosides is associated with the progression of various disorders, including lysosomal storage diseases, Guillain-Barre syndrome and Alzheimer disease. By contrast, previous studies show that GM1 ganglioside may act in a protective manner in the drug (e.g., MPTP and 6-OHDA)-induced Parkinsonian models, although the precise mechanisms have not been well addressed. In our recent publication, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)-linked neuroblastoma cells were treated with D-Threo-1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (PDMP), an inhibitor of glycosyl ceramide synthetase. These PDMP-treated cells develop lysosomal diseases characterized by reduced lysosomal activity, enhanced lysosomal permeability and cytotoxicity. Furthermore, PDMP-mediated inhibition of autophagy-lysosomal pathway result in both accumulation of alpha-synuclein and mutant beta-synuclein. Finally, these phenotypes are reversed by ganglioside treatment. Taken together, our results suggest that endogenous gangliosides may play a protective role against the lysosomal pathology of synucleinopathies.

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