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J Neurochem. 2010 Jun;113(6):1525-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.06733.x. Epub 2010 Apr 3.

Restricted ketogenic diet enhances the therapeutic action of N-butyldeoxynojirimycin towards brain GM2 accumulation in adult Sandhoff disease mice.

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Department of Biology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02467, USA.


Sandhoff disease is an autosomal recessive, neurodegenerative disease involving the storage of brain ganglioside GM2 and asialo-GM2. Previous studies showed that caloric restriction, which augments longevity, and N-butyldeoxynojirimycin (NB-DNJ, Miglustat), an imino sugar that hinders the glucosyltransferase catalyzing the first step in glycosphingolipid biosynthesis, both increase longevity and improve motor behavior in the beta-hexosaminidase (Hexb) knockout (-/-) murine model of Sandhoff disease. In this study, we used a restricted ketogenic diet (KD-R) and NB-DNJ to combat ganglioside accumulation. Adult Hexb-/- mice were placed into one of the following groups: (i) a standard diet (SD), (ii) a SD with NB-DNJ (SD + NB-DNJ), (iii) a KD-R, and (iv) a KD-R with NB-DNJ (KD-R + NB-DNJ). Forebrain GM2 content (mug sialic acid/100 mg dry wt) in the four groups was 375 +/- 15, 312 +/- 8, 340 +/- 28, and 279 +/- 26, respectively, indicating an additive interaction between NB-DNJ and the KD-R. Most interestingly, brain NB-DNJ content was 3.5-fold greater in the KD-R + NB-DNJ mice than in the SD + NB-DNJ mice. These data suggest that the KD-R and NB-DNJ may be a potential combinatorial therapy for Sandhoff disease by enhancing NB-DNJ delivery to the brain and may allow lower dosing to achieve the same degree of efficacy as high dose monotherapy.

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