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Genetic galactocerebrosidase deficiency (globoid cell leukodystrophy, Krabbe disease) in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)



Genetic galactocerebrosidase deficiency (globoid cell leukodystrophy, Krabbe disease) in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)



Laboratory Animal Science 48(5): 476-482



Globoid cell leukodystrophy, or Krabbe disease, is a severe disorder of the peripheral and central nervous system myelin caused by deficient galactocerebrosidase (GALC) activity. This autosomal recessive disease affects humans and animals including dogs, mice, and rhesus monkeys. Cloning of the human and animal GALC genes opened opportunities for therapeutic trials using animal models. We describe the clinical, pathologic, and biochemical features of the affected rhesus monkey. Affected monkeys had very low GALC activity and a two base pair deletion in both copies of the GALC gene. Clinical signs of tremors, hypertonia, and incoordination led to humane euthanasia by 5 months of age. At necropsy, peripheral nerves were enlarged. Microscopically, the cerebral, cerebellar, and spinal cord white matter was infiltrated with periodic acid-Schiff-positive multinucleated globoid cells, and there was a striking lack of myelin. Peripheral nerve fibers were decreased in number and separated by Alcian blue- and safranin O-positive material. Myelin sheaths were greatly diminished. Lipid analysis of brains of 12-day-old and 158-day-old affected monkeys revealed at great excess of psychosine in white matter. The row transplantation and various approaches to gene therapy.

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