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J Biol Chem. 2012 Nov 16;287(47):39349-60. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.357707. Epub 2012 Oct 3.

δ-Tocopherol reduces lipid accumulation in Niemann-Pick type C1 and Wolman cholesterol storage disorders.

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National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Biol Chem. 2013 Jan 4;288(1):296. Finkes, Sally [corrected to Firnkes, Sally].


Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC) and Wolman disease are two members of a family of storage disorders caused by mutations of genes encoding lysosomal proteins. Deficiency in function of either the NPC1 or NPC2 protein in NPC disease or lysosomal acid lipase in Wolman disease results in defective cellular cholesterol trafficking. Lysosomal accumulation of cholesterol and enlarged lysosomes are shared phenotypic characteristics of both NPC and Wolman cells. Utilizing a phenotypic screen of an approved drug collection, we found that δ-tocopherol effectively reduced lysosomal cholesterol accumulation, decreased lysosomal volume, increased cholesterol efflux, and alleviated pathological phenotypes in both NPC1 and Wolman fibroblasts. Reduction of these abnormalities may be mediated by a δ-tocopherol-induced intracellular Ca(2+) response and subsequent enhancement of lysosomal exocytosis. Consistent with a general mechanism for reduction of lysosomal lipid accumulation, we also found that δ-tocopherol reduces pathological phenotypes in patient fibroblasts from other lysosomal storage diseases, including NPC2, Batten (ceroid lipofuscinosis, neuronal 2, CLN2), Fabry, Farber, Niemann-Pick disease type A, Sanfilippo type B (mucopolysaccharidosis type IIIB, MPSIIIB), and Tay-Sachs. Our data suggest that regulated exocytosis may represent a potential therapeutic target for reduction of lysosomal storage in this class of diseases.

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