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PLoS genetics

Viable neuronopathic Gaucher disease model in Medaka (Oryzias latipes) displays axonal accumulation of alpha-synuclein.


PMID 25835295

Abstract

Homozygous mutations in the glucocerebrosidase (GBA) gene result in Gaucher disease (GD), the most common lysosomal storage disease. Recent genetic studies have revealed that GBA mutations confer a strong risk for sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD). To investigate how GBA mutations cause PD, we generated GBA nonsense mutant (GBA-/-) medaka that are completely deficient in glucocerebrosidase (GCase) activity. In contrast to the perinatal death in humans and mice lacking GCase activity, GBA-/- medaka survived for months, enabling analysis of the pathological progression. GBA-/- medaka displayed the pathological phenotypes resembling human neuronopathic GD including infiltration of Gaucher cell-like cells into the brains, progressive neuronal loss, and microgliosis. Detailed pathological findings represented lysosomal abnormalities in neurons and alpha-synuclein (α-syn) accumulation in axonal swellings containing autophagosomes. Unexpectedly, disruption of α-syn did not improve the life span, formation of axonal swellings, neuronal loss, or neuroinflammation in GBA-/- medaka. Taken together, the present study revealed GBA-/- medaka as a novel neuronopathic GD model, the pahological mechanisms of α-syn accumulation caused by GCase deficiency, and the minimal contribution of α-syn to the pathogenesis of neuronopathic GD.