Background: Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease is a lysosomal storage disease characterized by the accumulation of cholesterol and glycosphingolipids. The majority of NPC patients die in their teen years due to progressive neurodegeneration; however, half of NPC patients also suffer from cholestasis, prolonged jaundice, and hepatosplenomegaly. We previously showed that a key mediator of NPC liver disease is tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α, which is involved in both proinflammatory and apoptotic signaling cascades. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that blocking TNF action with an anti-TNF monoclonal antibody (CNTO5048) will slow the progression of NPC liver disease. Methodology/Principal Findings: Treatment of wild-type C57BL/6 mice with NPC1-specific antisense oligonucleotides led to knockdown of NPC1 protein expression in the liver. This caused classical symptoms of NPC liver disease, including hepatic cholesterol accumulation, hepatomegaly, elevated serum liver enzymes, and lipid laden macrophage accumulation. In addition, there was a significant increase in the number of apoptotic cells and a proliferation of stellate cells. Concurrent treatment of NPC1 knockdown mice with anti-TNF had no effect on the primary lipid storage or accumulation of lipid-laden macrophages. However, anti-TNF treatment slightly blunted the increase in hepatic apoptosis and stellate cell activation that was seen with NPC1 knockdown. Conclusions/Significance: Current therapeutic options for NPC disease are limited. Our results provide proof of principle that pharmacologically blocking the TNF-α inflammatory cascade can slightly reduce certain markers of NPC disease. Small molecule inhibitors of TNF that penetrate tissues and cross the blood-brain barrier may prove even more beneficial.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)