Aims: CLN8 deficiency underlies one of a group of devastating childhood neurodegenerative disorders, the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses. The function of the CLN8 protein is currently unknown, but a role in lipid metabolism has been proposed. In human CLN8 diseased brains, alterations in lipid composition have been detected. To further investigate the connection of CLN8 to lipid metabolism, we characterized the lipid composition of early symptomatic Cln8-deficient mouse (Cln8mnd) brains. Methods: For lipid profiling, Cln8mnd cerebral cortical tissue was analysed by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Galactolipid synthesis was measured through enzyme activity and real-time mRNA expression analyses. Based on the findings, myelination and white matter integrity were studied by immunohistochemistry, stereological methods, electron microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging. The development of myelin-forming oligodendrocytes was also studied in vitro. Results: Sphingolipid profiling showed a selective reduction in myelin-enriched galactolipids. The mRNA expression and activity of UDP-galactose:ceramide galactosyltransferase (CGT), the key enzyme in the galactolipid synthesis, was reduced in the Cln8mnd brain. Expression of oligodendrocyte markers suggests a maturation defect. The amount of myelin was reduced in 1-month-old Cln8mnd mice, but reached normal levels by 5 months of age. The level of Cln8 gene expression followed the developmental pattern of myelin formation and was high in primary oligodendrocytes. Conclusions: Taken together, these observations suggest that galactolipid deficiency and delayed myelin maturation characterize the early CLN8 disease pathogenesis through a maturation defect of oligodendrocytes.
- Batten disease