Combined Anti-inflammatory and Neuroprotective Treatments Have the Potential to Impact Disease Phenotypes in Cln3-/- Mice.
Tarczyluk-Wells MA., Salzlechner C., Najafi AR., Lim MJ., Smith D., Platt FM., Williams BP., Cooper JD.
Batten disease, or juvenile NCL, is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder that occurs due to mutations in the CLN3 gene. Because the function of CLN3 remains unclear, experimental therapies for JNCL have largely concentrated upon the targeting of downstream pathomechanisms. Neuron loss is preceded by localized glial activation, and in this proof-of-concept study we have investigated whether targeting this innate immune response with ibuprofen in combination with the neuroprotective agent lamotrigine improves the previously documented beneficial effects of immunosuppressants alone. Drugs were administered daily to symptomatic Cln3-/- mice over a 3 month period, starting at 6 months of age, and their impact was assessed using both behavioral and neuropathological outcome measures. During the treatment period, the combination of ibuprofen and lamotrigine significantly improved the performance of Cln3-/- mice on the vertical pole test, slowing the disease-associated decline, but had less of an impact upon their rotarod performance. There were also moderate and regionally dependent effects upon astrocyte activation that were most pronounced for ibuprofen alone, but there was no overt effect upon microglial activation. Administering such treatments for longer periods will enable testing for any impact upon the neuron loss that occurs later in disease progression. Given the partial efficacy of these treatments, it will be important to test further drugs of this type in order to find more effective combinations.