A 7-month-old Balinese cat with progressive neurological dysfunction had histopathological lesions of brain, liver, kidney, spleen, and lung consistent with a lysosomal storage disease. Ultrastructural examination revealed lysosomal hypertrophy with membranous inclusions. Hepatic sphingomyelin and cholesterol were elevated 10 times normal, and total phospholipids were increased 3.6 fold. Sphingomyelinase activity measured with 14C labeled sphingomyelin at pH 5.0 was virtually absent in brain and liver. Other lysosomal hydrolase activities were normal or elevated. Clinical, morphological, and biochemical findings suggest that this cat had sphingomyelin lipidosis similar to human Niemann-Pick disease type A, and that feline sphingomyelin lipidosis provides another model of human lysosomal storage disease.
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