Batten disease, a degenerative neurological disorder with juvenile onset, is the most common form of the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses. Mutations in the CLN3 gene cause Batten disease. To facilitate studies of Batten disease pathogenesis and treatment, a murine model was created by targeted disruption of the Cln3 gene. Mice homozygous for the disrupted Cln3 allele had a neuronal storage disorder resembling that seen in Batten disease patients: there was widespread and progressive intracellular accumulation of autofluorescent material that by EM displayed a multilamellar rectilinear/fingerprint appearance. Inclusions contained subunit c of mitochondrial ATP synthase. Mutant animals also showed neuropathological abnormalities with loss of certain cortical interneurons and hypertrophy of many interneuron populations in the hippocampus. Finally, as is true in Batten disease patients, there was increased activity in the brain of the lysosomal protease Cln2/TPP-1. Our findings are evidence that the Cln3-deficient mouse provides a valuable model for studying Batten disease.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.