Glial Dysfunction and Its Contribution to the Pathogenesis of the Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses

Keigo Takahashi, Hemanth R. Nelvagal, Jenny Lange, Jonathan D. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


While significant efforts have been made in developing pre-clinical treatments for the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs), many challenges still remain to bring children with NCLs a cure. Devising effective therapeutic strategies for the NCLs will require a better understanding of pathophysiology, but little is known about the mechanisms by which loss of lysosomal proteins causes such devastating neurodegeneration. Research into glial cells including astrocytes, microglia, and oligodendrocytes have revealed many of their critical functions in brain homeostasis and potential contributions to neurodegenerative diseases. Genetically modified mouse models have served as a useful platform to define the disease progression in the central nervous system across NCL subtypes, revealing a wide range of glial responses to disease. The emerging evidence of glial dysfunction questions the traditional “neuron-centric” view of NCLs, and would suggest that directly targeting glia in addition to neurons could lead to better therapeutic outcomes. This review summarizes the most up-to-date understanding of glial pathologies and their contribution to the pathogenesis of NCLs, and highlights some of the associated challenges that require further research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number886567
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
StatePublished - Apr 4 2022


  • Batten disease
  • astrocyte
  • microglia
  • neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis
  • oligodendrocyte


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