The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses constitute the most common group of childhood neurodegenerative disorders. These devastating disorders still remain without effective treatment. The use of animal models has provided significant information about NCL pathogenesis, highlighting early glial activation and neuron loss in specific brain regions of affected animals. Here, we have characterized the timing and regional-specificity of the pathological events of CLN8 disease utilizing the Cln8 deficient mouse model, Cln8mnd. We have studied the progression of neuron loss, astrocytosis and microglial activation from early to moderately symptomatic (1, 3 and 5months) and late symptomatic (8months) mice. In Cln8 deficiency, the somatosensory pathway comprising the thalamic ventral posterior nucleus (VPM/VPL) and the primary somatosensory cortex (S1BF) was found to be the most affected relay system. Scattered microglia that appeared partially activated were already present at 3months of age, followed by astrocytosis and the loss of thalamic relay neurons at 5months of age, with all these phenotypes and glial activation becoming more pronounced with disease progression. Reactive changes followed a similar pattern in the corresponding cortical target regions, but only moderate neuron loss was detected. Compared to the somatosensory system, in the visual thalamocortical pathway, neuron loss appeared relatively late in the disease, at 8months. Neuron loss was preceded by glial activation in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (LGNd) and in the primary visual cortex (V1). Taken together these data highlight the pathological targeting of the somatosensory thalamocortical pathway in Cln8 deficiency, in common with other forms of NCL. However, in contrast to other previously characterized NCL models, the Cln8mnd mouse shows relatively mild and late appearing pathology within the thalamocortical visual pathway.
- Batten disease
- Cluster of differentiation 68
- Glial fibrillary acidic protein
- Lysosomal storage