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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Jun 2024 - 7 Jun 2024


PLoS One




Cardiac manifestations of Fabry disease in G3Stg/GlaKO and GlaKO mouse models-Translation to Fabry disease patients.


Kugadas A, Artoni P, Ruangsiriluk W, Zhao M, Boukharov N, Islam R, Volfson D, Derakhchan K


Fabry disease (FD) is an X-linked disorder of glycosphingolipid metabolism caused by mutations in the GLA gene encoding alpha-galactosidase A (α-Gal). Loss of α-Gal activity leads to progressive lysosomal accumulation of α-Gal substrate, predominately globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) and its deacylated derivative globotriaosylsphingosine (lyso-Gb3). FD manifestations include early onset neuropathic pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, and later onset life-threatening renal, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disorders. Current treatments can preserve kidney function but are not very effective in preventing progression of cardiovascular pathology which remains the most common cause of premature death in FD patients. There is a significant need for a translational model that could be used for testing cardiac efficacy of new drugs. Two mouse models of FD have been developed. The α-Gal A-knockout (GlaKO) model is characterized by progressive tissue accumulation of Gb3 and lyso-Gb3 but does not develop any Fabry pathology besides mild peripheral neuropathy. Reports of minor cardiac function abnormalities in GlaKO model are inconsistent between different studies. Recently, G3Stg/GlaKO was generated by crossbreeding GlaKO with transgenic mice expressing human Gb3 synthase. G3Stg/GlaKO demonstrate higher tissue substrate accumulation and develop cellular and tissue pathologies. Functional renal pathology analogous to that found in early stages of FD has also been described in this model. The objective of this study is to characterize cardiac phenotype in GlaKO and G3Stg/GlaKO mice using echocardiography. Longitudinal assessments of cardiac wall thickness, mass and function were performed in GlaKO and wild-type (WT) littermate controls from 5-13 months of age. G3Stg/GlaKO and WT mice were assessed between 27-28 weeks of age due to their shortened lifespan. Several cardiomyopathy characteristics of early Fabry pathology were found in GlaKO mice, including mild cardiomegaly [up-to-25% increase in left ventricular (LV mass)] with no significant LV wall thickening. The LV internal diameter was significantly wider (up-to-24% increase at 9-months), when compared to the age-matched WT. In addition, there were significant increases in the end-systolic, end-diastolic volumes and stroke volume, suggesting volume overload. Significant reduction in Global longitudinal strain (GLS) measuring local myofiber contractility of the LV was also detected at 13-months. Similar GLS reduction was also reported in FD patients. Parameters such as ejection fraction, fractional shortening and cardiac output were either only slightly affected or were not different from controls. On the other hand, some of the cardiac findings in G3Stg/GlaKO mice were inconsistent with Fabry cardiomyopathy seen in FD patients. This could be potentially an artifact of the Gb3 synthase overexpression under a strong ubiquitous promoter. In conclusion, GlaKO mouse model presents mild cardiomegaly, mild cardiac dysfunction, but significant cardiac volume overload and functional changes in GLS that can be used as translational biomarkers to determine cardiac efficacy of novel treatment modalities. The level of tissue Gb3 accumulation in G3Stg/GlaKO mouse more closely recapitulates the level of substrate accumulation in FD patients and may provide better translatability of the efficacy of new therapeutics in clearing pathological substrates from cardiac tissues. But interpretation of the effect of treatment on cardiac structure and function in this model should be approached with caution.