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BethAnn McLaughlin
Faculty Member
Last active: 4/25/2016

Evidence of excitotoxicity in the brain of the ornithine carbamoyltransferase deficient sparse fur mouse.

Robinson MB, Hopkins K, Batshaw ML, McLaughlin BA, Heyes MP, Oster-Granite ML
Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1995 90 (1-2): 35-44

PMID: 8777776 · DOI:10.1016/0165-3806(96)83484-5

Ornithine carbamoyltransferase deficiency (OCTD) is the most common inborn error of urea synthesis. An X-linked disorder, OCTD males commonly present with hyperammonemic coma in the newborn period. There is a high rate of mortality and morbidity, with most survivors sustaining severe brain damage and resultant developmental disabilities. Although ammonia is presumed to be the principal neurotoxin, there is evidence that other neurochemical alterations may also be involved. The OCTD sparse fur (spf/Y) mouse has proven to be a useful model of this disease with similar metabolic and neurochemical alterations to those found in the human disease. In this study, the levels of the tryptophan derived excitotoxin quinolinic acid were examined in the brains of spf/Y mice. In addition, the neuropathology was examined using both light and electron microscopic approaches. Consistent with reports in children with urea cycle disorders, the levels of tryptophan and quinolinic acid were increased two-fold in various brain regions of the spf/Y mouse. Quinolinic acid, an agonist at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, is known to produce selective cell loss in the striatum. We found a significant loss of medium spiny neurons and increased numbers of reactive oligodendroglia and microglia in the striatum of spf/Y mice. These neurochemical and neuropathological observations are consistent with an excitotoxic influence on brain injury in OCTD. It leads us to suggest that administration of NMDA receptor antagonists may ameliorate brain damage in children with inborn errors of urea synthesis.

MeSH Terms (13)

Ammonia Animals Brain Damage, Chronic Disease Models, Animal Glutamine Hair Metabolism, Inborn Errors Mice Mice, Inbred Strains Ornithine Carbamoyltransferase Ornithine Carbamoyltransferase Deficiency Disease Quinolinic Acid Tryptophan

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