Broad screening test for sphingolipid-storage diseases

Chii Shiarng Chen, Marc C. Patterson, Christine L. Wheatley, John F. O'Brien, Richard E. Pagano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Background. Lipid-storage diseases are collectively important because they cause substantial morbidity and mortality, and because they may present as dementia, major psychiatric illness, developmental delay, or cerebral palsy. At present, no single assay can be used as an initial general screen for lipid-storage diseases. Methods. We used a fluorescent analogue of lactosylceramide, called N-(5-(5,7-dimethylborondipyrromethenedifluoride)-1-pentanoyl)-D -lactosylsphingosine (BODiPY-LacCer), the emission of which changes from green to red wavelengths with increasing concentrations in membranes, to examine the intracellular distribution of the lipid within living cells. Findings. During a brief pulse-chase experiment, the fluorescent lipid accumulated in the lysosomes of fibroblasts from patients with Fabry's disease, GM2 gangliosidosis, GM2 gangliosidosis (Tay-Sachs Sandhoff forms), metachromatic leucodystrophy, mucolipidosis type IV, Niemann-Pick disease (types A, B, and C), and sphingolipid-activator-protein-precursor (prosaposin) deficiency. In control cells, the lipid was mainly confined to the Golgi complex. In a masked study, replicate samples of 25 of 26 unique cell lines representing ten different lipid-storage diseases, and 18 of 20 unique cell lines representing controls were correctly identified; the sensitivity was 96.2% (95% CI 80.4-99.9) and the specificity 90.0% (68.3-98.8). Interpretation. This method may be useful as an general screen for lipid-storage diseases, modification, could used for large-scale be screening of drugs to abrogate lysosomal various lipidoses. The unexpected accumulation of BODIPY-LacCer in several biochemically distinct diseases raises important questions about common mechanisms of cellular dysfunction in these disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)901-905
Number of pages5
Issue number9182
StatePublished - Sep 11 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Broad screening test for sphingolipid-storage diseases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this