Mechanisms of Substrate Reduction Therapy for Niemann-Pick C Disease

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease is a cholesterol-glycosphingolipid (GSL) lysosomal storage disorder caused most commonly by defects in NPC1, a transmembrane protein believed critical in retroendocytic trafficking of substrates from lysosomes. Most affected children appear normal at birth, develop progressive neurological disease in their early years and die in their second decade. We have pioneered the development of two compounds for this disorder. The first, N-butyldeoxynojirimycin (NB-DNJ) or miglustat is a documented inhibitor of GSL synthesis, whereas the second, hydroxypropyl ¿-cyclodextrin (HPBCD), is an FDA-approved excipient used for drug solublization. Both compounds are efficacious in delaying onset of neurological disease and prolonging life (by 25% and 100%, respectively) in the mouse model of NPC1 disease. Yet neither drug is understood in terms of the precise mechanism responsible for its effectiveness. For miglustat, evidence for sustained reductions in ganglioside storage following oral administration to Npc1 mice is lacking. Similarly, for HPBCD, while both cholesterol and GSL storage are substantially reduced following treatment in Npc1 mice, the mechanism underlying this benefit is completely unknown, and indeed controversy continues even over its ability to cross the blood brain barrier. This proposal will carry out a series of complementary in vivo and in vitro studies employing current and novel reagents and animal models, and quantitative high-resolution imaging, biochemical and genetic evaluations, each directed at treatment mechanisms for NPC disease. Our first two aims are to precisely define HPBCD's mechanism of action in reducing cholesterol/GSL storage in neurons and to critically re-examine and assess miglustat's ability to reduce GSL synthesis as a basis for its beneficial impact on neuron survival. Our third aim uses an unbiased gene analysis approach to explore the full range of metabolic pathways impacted by each drug. Capitalizing on lessons learned in these aims, new combinatorial treatment strategies will be tested in the fourth aim as a means to substantially improve therapy for children with NPC disease.
Effective start/end date7/1/061/31/18


  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: $338,383.00


  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Transplantation
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biotechnology


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