Project description:Krabbe disease (KD), also known as globoid cell leukodystrophy, is an inherited demyelinating disease caused by the deficiency of lysosomal galactosylceramidase (GALC) activity. Most of the patients are characterized by early-onset cerebral demyelination with apoptotic oligodendrocyte (OL) death and die before 2 years of age. However, the mechanisms of molecular pathogenesis in the developing OLs before death and the exact causes of white matter degeneration remain largely unknown. We have recently reported that OLs of twitcher mouse, an authentic mouse model of KD, exhibit developmental defects and endogenous accumulation of psychosine (galactosylsphingosine), a cytotoxic lyso-derivative of galactosylceramide. Here, we show that attenuated expression of microRNA (miR)-219, a critical regulator of OL differentiation and myelination, mediates cellular pathogenesis of KD OLs. Expression and functional activity of miR-219 were repressed in developing twitcher mouse OLs. By using OL precursor cells (OPCs) isolated from the twitcher mouse brain, we show that exogenously supplemented miR-219 effectively rescued their cell-autonomous developmental defects and apoptotic death. miR-219 also reduced endogenous accumulation of psychosine in twitcher OLs. Collectively, these results highlight the role of the reduced miR-219 expression in KD pathogenesis and suggest that miR-219 has therapeutic potential for treating KD OL pathologies.
Project description:?-Synuclein aggregation has been linked to Gaucher's disease (GD) and Krabbe's disease (KD), lysosomal conditions affecting glycosphingolipid metabolism. ?-Synuclein pathology has been directly attributed to the dysregulation of glycosphingolipids in both conditions, specifically to increased galactosylsphingosine (psychosine) content in the context of KD. Furthermore, the gene (GALC) coding for the psychosine degrading enzyme galactosylceramidase (GALC), has recently been identified as a risk loci for Parkinson's disease. However, it is unknown if changes in psychosine metabolism and GALC activity in the context of the aging human brain correlate with Parkinson's disease. We investigated psychosine accumulation and GALC activity in the aging brain using fresh frozen post-mortem tissue from Parkinson's (PD, n = 10), Alzheimer's (AD, n = 10), and healthy control patients (n = 9), along with tissue from neuropsychiatric patients (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, n = 15 each). An expanded mutational analysis of PD (n = 20), AD (n = 10), and healthy controls (n = 30) examined if PD was correlated with carriers for severe GALC mutations. Psychosine content within the cerebral cortex of PD patients was elevated above control patients. Within all patients, psychosine displayed a significant (p<0.05) and robust regional distribution in the brain with higher levels in the white matter and substantia nigra. A mutational analysis revealed an increase in the incidence of severe GALC mutations within the PD patient population compared to the cohorts of Alzheimer's patients and healthy controls tested. In addition to ?-synuclein pathology identified in the KD brain, control patients identified as GALC mutational carriers or possessing a GALC pathogenic variant had evidence of ?-synuclein pathology, indicating a possible correlation between ?-synuclein pathology and dysregulation of psychosine metabolism in the adult brain. Carrier status for GALC mutations and prolonged exposure to increased psychosine could contribute to ?-synuclein pathology, supporting psychosine metabolism by galactosylceramidase as a risk factor for Parkinson's disease.
Project description:Infantile globoid cell leukodystrophy (GLD, Krabbe disease) is a fatal demyelinating disorder caused by a deficiency in the lysosomal enzyme galactosylceramidase (GALC). GALC deficiency leads to the accumulation of the cytotoxic glycolipid, galactosylsphingosine (psychosine). Complementary evidence suggested that psychosine is synthesized via an anabolic pathway. Here, we show instead that psychosine is generated catabolically through the deacylation of galactosylceramide by acid ceramidase (ACDase). This reaction uncouples GALC deficiency from psychosine accumulation, allowing us to test the long-standing "psychosine hypothesis." We demonstrate that genetic loss of ACDase activity (Farber disease) in the GALC-deficient mouse model of human GLD (twitcher) elimin