PloS one

Corneal alterations during combined therapy with cyclodextrin/allopregnanolone and miglustat in a knock-out mouse model of NPC1 disease.

PMID 22163015


Niemann Pick disease type C1 is a neurodegenerative disease caused by mutations in the NPC1 gene, which result in accumulation of unesterified cholesterol and glycosphingolipids in the endosomal-lysosomal system as well as limiting membranes. We have previously shown the corneal involvement in NPC1 pathology in form of intracellular inclusions in epithelial cells and keratocytes. The purpose of the present study was to clarify if these inclusions regress during combined substrate reduction- and by-product therapy (SRT and BPT). Starting at postnatal day 7 (P7) and thereafter, NPC1 knock-out mice (NPC1(-/-)) and wild type controls (NPC1(+/+)) were injected with cyclodextrin/allopregnanolone weekly. Additionally, a daily miglustat injection started at P10 until P23. Starting at P23 the mice were fed powdered chow with daily addition of miglustat. The sham group was injected with 0.9% NaCl at P7, thereafter daily starting at P10 until P23, and fed powdered chow starting at P23. For corneal examination, in vivo confocal laser-scanning microscopy (CLSM) was performed one day before experiment was terminated. Excised corneas were harvested for lipid analysis (HPLC/MS) and electron microscopy. In vivo CLSM demonstrated a regression of hyperreflective inclusions in all treated NPC1(-/-)mice. The findings varied between individual mice, demonstrating a regression, ranging from complete absence to pronounced depositions. The reflectivity of inclusions, however, was significantly lower when compared to untreated and sham-injected NPC1(-/-) mice. These confocal findings were confirmed by lipid analysis and electron microscopy. Another important CLSM finding revealed a distinct increase of mature dendritic cell number in corneas of all treated mice (NPC1(-/-) and NPC1(+/+)), including sham-treated ones. The combined substrate reduction- and by-product therapy revealed beneficial effects on the cornea. In vivo CLSM is a non-invasive tool to monitor disease progression and treatment effects in NPC1 disorder.

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