One of a family of devastating lysosomal storage disorders, Krabbe disease is characterized by demyelination, psychosine accumulation, and inflammation. Affected infants rarely survive longer than 2 years. Using the twitcher mouse model of the disease, this study evaluated the potential of intrastriatal injection of adipose or bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) as a treatment option. Neonatal pups were injected with MSCs at 3-4 days of age and subjected to a battery of behavioral tests beginning at 15 days. While MSC injection failed to increase lifespan of twitchers, improvements in rotarod performance and twitching severity were observed at 27-38 days of age using MSCs derived from bone marrow. This study tested several different tasks developed in adult mice for evaluation of disease progression in immature twitchers. Rotarod was both reliable and extremely sensitive. Automated gait analysis using the Treadscan program was also useful for early evaluation of differences prior to overt gait dysfunction. Finally, this study represents the first use of the Stone T-maze in immature mice. Validation of rotarod and automated gait analysis for detection of subtle differences in disease progression is important for early stage efforts to develop treatments for juvenile disorders.
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