Glycolipid Metabolism in the Canine form of Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy

  • Elvira Costantino-Ceccarini
  • Thomas F. Fletcher
  • Kunihiko Suzuki
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 68)


The underlying cause of globoid cell leukodystrophy (Krabbe’s disease) is a genetic deficiency of galactosylceramide α-galactosidase (galactosylceramidase, E.C. which normally degrades galactosylceramide (21,22). In principle, the disease belongs to the so-called sphingolipidoses in which acidic lysosomal hydrolases are genetically deficient resulting in abnormal accumulation of sphingolipids specific in respective disorders. Unlike in other sphingolipidoses, abnormal accumulation of galactosylceramide does not occur in globoid cell leukodystrophy despite the block in its degradative pathway (22, 26). The only logical explanation for this unusual phenomenon appears to be that, sometime along the course of the disease, biosynthesis of galactosylceramide is terminated. Galactosylceramide is highly concentrated in the myelin sheath which is a specialized extension of the Oligodendroglial plasma membrane. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that the Oligodendroglial cell is the major site of galactosylceramide biosynthesis in the brain. Since early and almost complete destruction of Oligodendroglia is one of the characteristic morphological features of the disease, cessation of galactosylceramide biosynthesis may merely be a secondary result of the abnormal histology. However, it is also possible that biosynthetic abnormality may precede death of Oligodendroglia, both due to the same as yet unidentified pathogenetic mechanism.


White Matter Total Lipid Myelin Sheath Total Lipid Fraction Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elvira Costantino-Ceccarini
    • 1
  • Thomas F. Fletcher
    • 2
  • Kunihiko Suzuki
    • 1
  1. 1.The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology, Department of Neuroscience, and the Rose F. Kennedy Center for Research in Mental Retardation and Human DevelopmentAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary BiologyUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA

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