Canine neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses: Promising models for preclinical testing of therapeutic interventions

Neurobiol Dis. 2017 Dec:108:277-287. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2017.08.017. Epub 2017 Aug 30.


The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) are devastating inherited progressive neurodegenerative diseases, with most forms having a childhood onset of clinical signs. The NCLs are characterized by progressive cognitive and motor decline, vision loss, seizures, respiratory and swallowing impairment, and ultimately premature death. Different forms of NCL result from mutations in at least 13 genes. The clinical signs of some forms overlap significantly, so genetic testing is the only way to definitively determine which form an individual patient suffers from. At present, an effective treatment is available for only one form of NCL. Evidence of NCL has been documented in over 20 canine breeds and in mixed-breed dogs. To date, 12 mutations in 8 different genes orthologous to the human NCL genes have been found to underlie NCL in a variety of dog breeds. A Dachshund model with a null mutation in one of these genes is being utilized to investigate potential therapeutic interventions, including enzyme replacement and gene therapies. Demonstration of the efficacy of enzyme replacement therapy in this model led to successful completion of human clinical trials of this treatment. Further research into the other canine NCLs, with in-depth characterization and understanding of the disease processes, will likely lead to the development of successful therapeutic interventions for additional forms of NCL, for both human patients and animals with these disorders.

Keywords: Canine; Dog; Genetics; Heredity; Lysosomal storage disease; Neurodegeneration; Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis; Retinal degeneration; Therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dog Diseases / diagnosis
  • Dog Diseases / genetics
  • Dog Diseases / pathology
  • Dog Diseases / therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / genetics
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / pathology
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / therapy
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / veterinary*