The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses are fatal neurodegenerative disorders in which the visual system is affected early in disease progression. A typical accompanying feature is neuroinflammation, the pathogenic impact of which is presently obscure. Here we investigated the role of inflammatory cells in palmitoyl protein thioesterase 1-deficient (Ppt1-/-) mice, a model of infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (CLN1 disease, infantile), predominantly focusing on the visual system. We detected an early infiltration of CD8+ T-lymphocytes and observed activation of microglia/macrophage-like cells. To analyse the pathogenic impact of lymphocytes, we crossbred Ppt1 -/- mice with mutants lacking lymphocytes (Rag1-/-), and scored axonal transport, axonal perturbation and neuronal survival. This lack of lymphocytes led to a significant amelioration of disease phenotypes, not only in the retino-tectal system, but also in other regions of the central nervous system. Finally, reconstitution experiments revealed a crucial role of CD8+ T-lymphocytes in pathogenesis. Our study provides novel pathomechanistic insights that may be crucial for developing treatment strategies.
- axonal damage
- neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis