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Cell Tissue Res. 2014 Oct;358(1):217-27. doi: 10.1007/s00441-014-1922-9. Epub 2014 Jul 4.

Depletion of globosides and isoglobosides fully reverts the morphologic phenotype of Fabry disease.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Pathology, German Cancer Research Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany,


Fabry disease is a monogenic X-linked lysosomal storage disease caused by α-galactosidase A (αGalA) deficiency. Enzyme replacement therapy through administration of the missing αGalA is currently the only accepted therapeutic option. However, this treatment is connected to high costs, has ill-defined indication criteria and its efficacy is controversially discussed. Our aim was to explore the possibility of a novel targeted substrate reduction therapy for Fabry disease. Owing to the fact that αGalA-deficient humans and mice accumulate the same glycosphingolipids (i.e. globosides, galabiosylceramide and isoglobosides), αGalA-deficient mice were crossed with mice deficient in enzymes synthesizing these classes of glycosphingolipids (i.e. globotrihexosylceramide and isoglobotrihexosylceramide synthase, respectively). Functional heart and kidney tests were performed together with an extensive biochemical analysis of urine and serum in aged mice. Lysosomal storage was assessed by thin layer chromatography and electron microscopy. We showed that depletion of globosides was sufficient to fully abolish the storage of glycosphingolipids in heart, kidney and liver and was paralleled by a complete restoration of lysosomal morphology in these organs. In contrast, in dorsal root ganglia, a depletion of both globosides and isoglobosides was necessary to fully counteract the lysosomal storage. The deficiency in globosides and/or isoglobosides did not cause any adverse effects. We conclude that substrate reduction therapy through inhibition of the synthesis of globosides and isoglobosides represents a valuable therapeutic option for Fabry disease, all the more as globosides and isoglobosides seem to be dispensable.

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