Infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis: No longer just a 'Finnish' disease

S. L. Hofmann, A. K. Das, J. Y. Lu, K. E. Wisniewski, P. Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) are a group of enigmatic neurodegenerative disorders of children that have in common the storage of autofluorescent lipofuscin, or aging pigment, in the brain. With the identification of the three major genes involved in the disorder, the NCLs are now appreciated to represent true lysosomal storage disorders. The most severe (infantile) form of NCL is caused by mutations in a lysosomal thioesterase that removes fatty acids from modified cysteine residues in proteins. Although the disorder was first described in Finland (and the identification of the underlying gene (CLN1) made in this population) defects in CLN1 and the underlying deficiency have been widely reported outside of Scandinavia. In this report, we summarize the relationship of genotype to phenotype in the disorder and evaluate known mutations in light of the recently solved crystal structure of defective enzyme, palmitoyl-protein thioesterase (PPT). We also discuss progress in identifying the fatty acyl cysteine thioesters that accumulate in PPT deficiency and in working toward animal models of NCL. Recent progress in these areas holds promise for the eventual treatment of the disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-51
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Issue numberSUPPL. A
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Batten disease
  • Genotype-phenotype correlations
  • Lysosomal storage disorders
  • Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis
  • Palmitoyl-protein thioesterase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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