Oral monosaccharide therapies to reverse renal and muscle hyposialylation in a mouse model of GNE myopathy

Mol Genet Metab. 2012 Dec;107(4):748-55. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2012.10.011. Epub 2012 Oct 18.


GNE myopathy, previously termed hereditary inclusion body myopathy (HIBM), is an adult-onset neuromuscular disorder characterized by progressive muscle weakness. The disorder results from biallelic mutations in GNE, encoding UDP-N-acetylglucosamine 2-epimerase/N-acetylmannosamine kinase, the key enzyme of sialic acid synthesis. GNE myopathy, associated with impaired glycan sialylation, has no approved therapy. Here we test potential sialylation-increasing monosaccharides for their effectiveness in prophylaxis (at the embryonic and neonatal stages) and therapy (after the onset of symptoms) by evaluating renal and muscle hyposialylation in a knock-in mouse model (Gne p.M712T) of GNE myopathy. We demonstrate that oral mannosamine (ManN), but not sialic acid (Neu5Ac), mannose (Man), galactose (Gal), or glucosamine (GlcN), administered to pregnant female mice has a similar prophylactic effect on renal hyposialylation, pathology and neonatal survival of mutant offspring, as previously shown for N-acetylmannosamine (ManNAc) therapy. ManN may be converted to ManNAc by a direct, yet unknown, pathway, or may act through another mode of action. The other sugars (Man, Gal, GlcN) may either not cross the placental barrier (Neu5Ac) and/or may not be able to directly increase sialylation. Because GNE myopathy patients will likely require treatment in adulthood after onset of symptoms, we also administered ManNAc (1 or 2g/kg/day for 12 weeks), Neu5Ac (2 g/kg/day for 12 weeks), or ManN (2 g/kg/day for 6 weeks) in drinking water to 6 month old mutant Gne p.M712T mice. All three therapies markedly improved the muscle and renal hyposialylation, as evidenced by lectin histochemistry for overall sialylation status and immunoblotting of specific sialoproteins. These preclinical data strongly support further evaluation of oral ManNAc, Neu5Ac and ManN as therapy for GNE myopathy and conceivably for certain glomerular diseases with hyposialylation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney / ultrastructure
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Monosaccharides / administration & dosage*
  • Multienzyme Complexes / genetics
  • Muscles / metabolism*
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Myositis, Inclusion Body / congenital*
  • Myositis, Inclusion Body / drug therapy
  • Myositis, Inclusion Body / genetics
  • Myositis, Inclusion Body / metabolism
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / biosynthesis


  • Monosaccharides
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • UDP-N-acetylglucosamine 2-epimerase - N-acetylmannosamine kinase
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid

Supplementary concepts

  • Inclusion body myopathy autosomal recessive