Progressive retinal degeneration and glial activation in the CLN6nclf mouse model of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis: a beneficial effect of DHA and curcumin supplementation

Myriam Mirza, Cornelia Volz, Marcus Karlstetter, Monica Langiu, Aleksandra Somogyi, Mika O. Ruonala, Ernst R. Tamm, Herbert Jägle, Thomas Langmann

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47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL) is a group of neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disorders characterized by vision loss, mental and motor deficits, and spontaneous seizures. Neuropathological analyses of autopsy material from NCL patients and animal models revealed brain atrophy closely associated with glial activity. Earlier reports also noticed loss of retinal cells and reactive gliosis in some forms of NCL. To study this phenomenon in detail, we analyzed the ocular phenotype of CLN6nclf mice, an established mouse model for variant-late infantile NCL. Retinal morphometry, immunohistochemistry, optokinetic tracking, electroretinography, and mRNA expression were used to characterize retinal morphology and function as well as the responses of Müller cells and microglia. Our histological data showed a severe and progressive degeneration in the CLN6nclf retina co-inciding with reactive Müller glia. Furthermore, a prominent phenotypic transformation of ramified microglia to phagocytic, bloated, and mislocalized microglial cells was identified in CLN6nclf retinas. These events overlapped with a rapid loss of visual perception and retinal function. Based on the strong microglia reactivity we hypothesized that dietary supplementation with immuno-regulatory compounds, curcumin and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), could ameliorate microgliosis and reduce retinal degeneration. Our analyses showed that treatment of three-week-old CLN6nclf mice with either 5% DHA or 0.6% curcumin for 30 weeks resulted in a reduced number of amoeboid reactive microglia and partially improved retinal function. DHA-treatment also improved the morphology of CLN6nclf retinas with a preserved thickness of the photoreceptor layer in most regions of the retina. Our results suggest that microglial reactivity closely accompanies disease progression in the CLN6nclf retina and both processes can be attenuated with dietary supplemented immuno-modulating compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere75963
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

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