The mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are a family of lysosomal storage diseases resulting in developmental defects and, in some types, mental retardation and other neurological symptoms. To gain insight into the neurological dysfunction in MPS, we examined the morphology of olfactory epithelia (OE) and physiology of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) in cat models of MPS I, a type in which neuronal lesions are prominent, and MPS VI, in which they are essentially absent. Histopathology showed that both groups of MPS-affected cats had significantly thinner OE than controls. Although immature and mature ORNs were present in both MPS I and VI affected OE, the OE of MPS I-affected cats was structurally disorganized. ORN function was assessed with calcium imaging and patch-clamp recording. Few viable ORNs were recovered from MPS VI cats, but these exhibited normal responses to odors and pharmacological stimuli. In contrast, viable ORNs were as prevalent in MPS I as in controls but were significantly less likely to respond to odor stimuli, although other responses were normal. Disrupted OE organization and impaired ORN function in MPS I, but not MPS VI, corresponds to the central nervous system lesions found in MPS I but not MPS VI. These data represent the first neurophysiological correlate of this correspondence and have implications both for understanding the role of glycosaminoglycans in maintenance of the OE and for targeting further research into the basis for and treatment of the neurological consequences of MPS disorders.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.