Mice with an aspartylglucosaminuria mutation similar to humans replicate the pathophysiology in patients
Human Molecular Genetics
Aspartyglucosaminuria (AGU) is a lysosomal storage disease with autosomal recessive inheritance that is caused by deficient activity of aspartylglucosaminidase (AGA), a lysosomal enzyme belonging to the newly described enzyme family of N-terminal hydrolases. An AGU mouse model was generated by targeted disruption of the AGA gene designed to mimic closely one human disease mutation. These homozygous mutant mice have no detectable AGA activity and excrete aspartylglucosamine in their urine.
... their urine. Analogously to the human disease, the affected homozygous animals showed storage in lysosomes in all analyzed tissues, including the brain, liver, kidney and skin, and lysosomal storage was already detected in fetuses at 19 days gestation. Electron microscopic studies of brain tissue samples demonstrated lysosomal storage vacuoles in the neurons and glia of the neocortical and cortical regions. Magnetic resonance images (MRI) facilitating monitoring of the brains of living animals indicated cerebral atrophy and hypointensity of the deep gray matter structures of brain-findings similar to those observed in human patients. AGU mice are fertile, and up to 11 months of age their movement and behavior do not differ from their age-matched littermates. However, in the Morris water maze test, a slow worsening of performance could be seen with age. The phenotype mimics well AGU in humans, the patients characteristically showing only slowly progressive mental retardation and relatively mild skeletal abnormalities.