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Decrease in Myelin-Associated Lipids Precedes Neuronal Loss and Glial Activation in the CNS of the Sandhoff Mouse as Determined by Metabolomics

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Lecommandeur, Emmanuelle 
Cachón-González, Maria Begoña 
Boddie, Susannah 
McNally, Ben D. 
Nicholls, Andrew W. 


Sandhoff disease (SD) is a lysosomal disease caused by mutations in the gene coding for the β subunit of β-hexosaminidase, leading to deficiency in the enzymes β-hexosaminidase (HEX) A and B. SD is characterised by an accumulation of gangliosides and related glycolipids, mainly in the central nervous system, and progressive neurodegeneration. The underlying cellular mechanisms leading to neurodegeneration and the contribution of inflammation in SD remain undefined. The aim of the present study was to measure global changes in metabolism over time that might reveal novel molecular pathways of disease. We used liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and 1H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy to profile intact lipids and aqueous metabolites, respectively. We examined spinal cord and cerebrum from healthy and Hexb−/− mice, a mouse model of SD, at ages one, two, three and four months. We report decreased concentrations in lipids typical of the myelin sheath, galactosylceramides and plasmalogen-phosphatidylethanolamines, suggesting that reduced synthesis of myelin lipids is an early event in the development of disease pathology. Reduction in neuronal density is progressive, as demonstrated by decreased concentrations of N-acetylaspartate and amino acid neurotransmitters. Finally, microglial activation, indicated by increased amounts of myo-inositol correlates closely with the late symptomatic phases of the disease.



lipidomics, metabolomics, lysosomal disorders, β-hexosaminidase, galactosylceramides, bis(monoacylglycero)phosphates, plasmalogens

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Medical Research Council (UD99999906)
UK Dementia Research Institute (NA)