Niemann-Pick type C1 (NPC) disease is a lysosomal storage disease caused by mutations in the NPC1 gene, leading to an increase in unesterified cholesterol and several sphingolipids, and resulting in hepatic disease and progressive neurological disease. We show that subcutaneous administration of the pharmaceutical excipient 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPbCD) to cats with NPC disease ameliorated hepatic disease, but doses sufficient to reduce neurological disease resulted in pulmonary toxicity. However, direct administration of HPβCD into the cisterna magna of presymptomatic cats with NPC disease prevented the onset of cerebellar dysfunction for greater than a year and resulted in a reduction in Purkinje cell loss and near-normal concentrations of cholesterol and sphingolipids. Moreover, administration of intracisternal HPβCD to NPC cats with ongoing cerebellar dysfunction slowed disease progression, increased survival time, and decreased the accumulation of brain gangliosides. An increase in hearing threshold was identified as a potential adverse effect. These studies in a feline animal model have provided critical data on efficacy and safety of drug administration directly into the central nervous system that will be important for advancing HPβCD into clinical trials.
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