Altered glycolipid and glycerophospholipid signaling drive inflammatory cascades in adrenomyeloneuropathy
Ortega, Francisco J.
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X-linked adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN) is an inherited neurometabolic disorder caused by malfunction of the ABCD1 gene, characterized by slowly progressing spastic paraplegia affecting corticospinal tracts, and adrenal insufficiency. AMN is the most common phenotypic manifestation of adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD). In some cases, an inflammatory cerebral demyelination occurs associated to poor prognosis in cerebral AMN (cAMN). Though ABCD1 codes for a peroxisomal transporter of very long-chain fatty acids, the molecular mechanisms that govern disease onset and progression, or its transformation to a cerebral, inflammatory demyelinating form, remain largely unknown. Here we used an integrated -omics approach to identify novel biomarkers and altered network dynamic characteristic of, and possibly driving, the disease. We combined an untargeted metabolome assay of plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of AMN patients, which used liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-Q-TOF), with a functional genomics analysis of spinal cords of Abcd1− mouse. The results uncovered altered nodes in lipid-driven proinflammatory cascades, such as glycosphingolipid and glycerophospholipid synthesis, governed by the β-1,4-galactosyltransferase (B4GALT6), the phospholipase 2γ (PLA2G4C) and the choline/ethanolamine phosphotransferase (CEPT1) enzymes. Confirmatory investigations revealed a non-classic, inflammatory profile, consisting on the one hand of raised plasma levels of several eicosanoids derived from arachidonic acid through PLA2G4C activity, together with also the proinflammatory cytokines IL6, IL8, MCP-1 and tumor necrosis factor-α. In contrast, we detected a more protective, Th2-shifted response in PBMC. Thus, our findings illustrate a previously unreported connection between ABCD1 dysfunction, glyco- and glycerolipid-driven inflammatory signaling and a fine-tuned inflammatory response underlying a disease considered non-inflammatory.