Oxidative stress as a therapeutic target in globoid cell leukodystrophy

Jacqueline A. Hawkins-Salsbury, Elizabeth Y. Qin, Adarsh S. Reddy, Carole A. Vogler, Mark S. Sands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Globoid cell leukodystrophy (GLD, Krabbe Disease) is a lysosomal storage disease, resulting from the genetic deficiency of galactosylceramidase (GALC). This disease is marked by accumulation of the cytotoxic lipid psychosine (Psy). Psychosine is known to induce oxidative stress in cultured cells, and this stress can be ameliorated through co-treatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). Oxidative stress has also been observed in vivo in the mouse model of GLD, the Twitcher mouse (Twi). We hypothesized that treating oxidative stress with NAC; either alone or in combination with bone marrow transplant (BMT) would improve the course of disease. All breeding cages were maintained on water containing NAC. Once born, the pups received IP boluses of NAC three times per week, and were maintained on NAC-containing water. A separate cohort of animals received the same regimen of NAC in addition to a BMT on post-natal days 2-3. Although NAC lowers the level of oxidized proteins in the brains of Twi mice, and dramatically improves immunohistochemical markers of disease, neither treatment results in any clinical improvements in the Twi mouse. Our data suggest that oxidative stress may be sufficiently down-stream in the pathogenic cascade initiated by Psy accumulation as to be difficult or impossible to treat with standard pharmacologic agents. It is possible that NAC may synergize with other therapies or combinations of therapies. A better understanding of the initiating effects of Psy toxicity and oxidative damage may uncover treatable therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-452
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Krabbe Disease
  • Lysosomal storage disease
  • N-acetyl cysteine
  • Oxidative stress
  • Twitcher


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