Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Brain. 2014 May;137(Pt 5):1481-95. doi: 10.1093/brain/awu020. Epub 2014 Feb 25.

Ambroxol improves lysosomal biochemistry in glucocerebrosidase mutation-linked Parkinson disease cells.

Author information

1
1 Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Institute of Neurology, University College London, UK.

Abstract

Gaucher disease is caused by mutations in the glucocerebrosidase gene, which encodes the lysosomal hydrolase glucosylceramidase. Patients with Gaucher disease and heterozygous glucocerebrosidase mutation carriers are at increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Indeed, glucocerebrosidase mutations are the most frequent risk factor for Parkinson's disease in the general population. Therefore there is an urgent need to understand the mechanisms by which glucocerebrosidase mutations predispose to neurodegeneration to facilitate development of novel treatments. To study this we generated fibroblast lines from skin biopsies of five patients with Gaucher disease and six heterozygous glucocerebrosidase mutation carriers with and without Parkinson's disease. Glucosylceramidase protein and enzyme activity levels were assayed. Oxidative stress was assayed by single cell imaging of dihydroethidium. Glucosylceramidase enzyme activity was significantly reduced in fibroblasts from patients with Gaucher disease (median 5% of controls, P = 0.0001) and heterozygous mutation carriers with (median 59% of controls, P = 0.001) and without (56% of controls, P = 0.001) Parkinson's disease compared with controls. Glucosylceramidase protein levels, assessed by western blot, were significantly reduced in fibroblasts from Gaucher disease (median glucosylceramidase levels 42% of control, P < 0.001) and heterozygous mutation carriers with (median 59% of control, P < 0.001) and without (median 68% of control, P < 0.001) Parkinson's disease. Single cell imaging of dihydroethidium demonstrated increased production of cytosolic reactive oxygen species in fibroblasts from patients with Gaucher disease (dihydroethidium oxidation rate increased by a median of 62% compared to controls, P < 0.001) and heterozygous mutation carriers with (dihydroethidium oxidation rate increased by a median of 68% compared with controls, P < 0.001) and without (dihydroethidium oxidation rate increased by a median of 70% compared with controls, P < 0.001) Parkinson's disease. We hypothesized that treatment with the molecular chaperone ambroxol hydrochloride would improve these biochemical abnormalities. Treatment with ambroxol hydrochloride increased glucosylceramidase activity in fibroblasts from healthy controls, Gaucher disease and heterozygous glucocerebrosidase mutation carriers with and without Parkinson's disease. This was associated with a significant reduction in dihydroethidium oxidation rate of ∼50% (P < 0.05) in fibroblasts from controls, Gaucher disease and heterozygous mutation carriers with and without Parkinson's disease. In conclusion, glucocerebrosidase mutations are associated with reductions in glucosylceramidase activity and evidence of oxidative stress. Ambroxol treatment significantly increases glucosylceramidase activity and reduces markers of oxidative stress in cells bearing glucocerebrosidase mutations. We propose that ambroxol hydrochloride should be further investigated as a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease.

KEYWORDS:

Gaucher disease; Parkinson’s disease; ambroxol; glucocerebrosidase; lysosome

PMID:
24574503
PMCID:
PMC3999713
DOI:
10.1093/brain/awu020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center