Purpose: Juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (JNCL or Batten Disease) is one of the most common progressive neurodegenerative disorders of childhood, resulting from autosomal recessive inheritance of mutations in the CLN3 gene. Pathologically, Batten disease is characterized by lysosomal storage of autofluorescent material in all tissue types. Although characterized by seizures, mental retardation, and loss of motor skills, the first presenting symptom of Batten disease is vision loss.
Methods: High-density oligonucleotide arrays were used to profile approximately 19,000 mRNAs in the eye of 10-week-old Cln3-knockout and normal mice, and the data were compared with that for the cerebellum in the same model as a means to identify gene expression changes that are specific to the eye.
Results: A detailed list was compiled of 285 functionally categorized genes that have altered expression in the eye of Cln3-knockout mice before the appearance of the characteristic lysosomal storage material. Furthermore, 18 genes were identified and 6 validated by semiquantitative RT-PCR that have altered expression in the eye, but not in the cerebellum of Cln3-knockout mice. The genes that have altered expression specific to the eye of the Cln3-knockout mouse may be of importance in understanding the function of CLN3 in different tissues.
Conclusions: Downregulation of genes associated with energy production in the mitochondria appears to be specific to the eye. The CLN3 defect may result in altered mitochondrial function in eye but not other tissue. More detailed experimentation is needed to understand the contribution of these changes in expression to disease state, and whether these changes are specific for certain cell types within the eye.
Copyright Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology