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J Neurochem. 2011 Feb;116(4):659-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.07158.x. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

Lithium rescues the impaired autophagy process in CbCln3(Δex7/8/Δex7/8) cerebellar cells and reduces neuronal vulnerability to cell death via IMPase inhibition.

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Creative Research Initiative (CRI)-Acceleration Research Laboratory, School of Biological Science/Bio-MAX Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


Juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (Batten disease) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by mutation in CLN3. Defective autophagy and concomitant accumulation of autofluorescence enriched with mitochondrial ATP synthase subunit c were previously discovered in Cln3 mutant knock-in mice. In this study, we show that treatment with lithium reduces numbers of LC3-positive autophagosomes and accumulation of LC3-II in Cln3 mutant knock-in cerebellar cells (CbCln3(Δex7/8/Δex7/8) ). Lithium, an inhibitor of GSK3 and IMPase, reduces the accumulation of mitochondrial ATP synthase subunit c and autofluorescence in CbCln3(Δex7/8/Δex7/8) cells, and mitigates the abnormal subcellular distribution of acidic vesicles in the cells. L690,330, an IMPase inhibitor, is as effective as lithium in restoring autophagy in CbCln3(Δex7/8/Δex7/8) cells. Moreover, lithium or down-regulation of IMPase expression protects CbCln3(Δex7/8/Δex7/8) cells from cell death induced by amino acid deprivation. These results suggest that lithium overcomes the autophagic defect in CbCln3(Δex7/8/Δex7/8) cerebellar cells probably through IMPase, thereby reducing their vulnerability to cell death.

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