01.10.2011 | Original Article | Ausgabe 5/2011
Thymic involution and corticosterone level in Sandhoff disease model mice: new aspects the pathogenesis of GM2 gangliosidosis
Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease
- Kazuhiko Matsuoka, Daisuke Tsuji, Takao Taki, Kohji Itoh
Sandhoff disease (SD) is a lysosomal disease caused by a mutation of the HEXB gene associated with excessive accumulation of GM2 ganglioside (GM2) in lysosomes and neurological manifestations. Production of autoantibodies against the accumulated gangliosides has been reported to be involved in the progressive pathogenesis of GM2 gangliosidosis, although the underlying mechanism has not been fully elucidated. The thymus is the key organ in the acquired immune system including the development of autoantibodies. We showed here that thymic involution and an increase in cell death in the organ occur in SD model mice at a late stage of the pathogenesis. Dramatic increases in the populations of Annexin-V+ cells and terminal deoxynucletidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) + cells were observed throughout the thymuses of 15-week old SD mice. Enhanced caspase-3/7 activation, but not that of caspase-1/4, -6 ,-8, or −9, was also demonstrated. Furthermore, the serum level of corticosterone, a potent inducer of apoptosis of thymocytes, was elevated during the same period of apoptosis. Our studies suggested that an increase in endocrine corticosterone may be one of the causes that accelerate the apoptosis of thymocytes leading to thymic involution in GM2 gangliosidosis, and thus can be used as a disease marker for evaluation of the thymic condition and disease progression.