CLN2 disease is a subtype of the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs), a group of lysosomal storage disorders causing progressive, untreatable, neurodegeneration, intractable epilepsy and premature death in children. We have developed a permanent genetic zebrafish model of CLN2 disease due to a mutation in tpp1 encoding the lysosomal protease Tripeptidyl-peptidase-1 that replicates the neurodegenerative and storage phenotype. We hypothesize that CLN2 zebrafish display electrical and behavioural evidence of seizure activity that responds to established anti-convulsants and can further be used to develop novel therapeutic approaches.
To validate the presence of seizures we performed single electrode electroencephalography showing CLN2 zebrafish had increased spiking activity vs wildtype with Fast-Fourier transform showing significantly increased amplitude about 2–4Hz. This was attenuated by Valproate (p=0.049), but not pentobarbitone. We also demonstrate that Valproate significantly reduces seizure-related movement bouts, thereby correlating movements and epileptiform activity. Lastly, we show exposure to Valproate significantly extends the lifespan of our zebrafish model with mortality between 3–6 days post-fertilization 8.33% in treated vs 33.3% in controls (p=0.01).
The CLN2 zebrafish model thus displays electrical and behavioural seizure activity that can be attenuated by Valproate, with associated prolongation in survival. Moreover this model can utilize high-throughput in vivo screening assays to develop novel anti-convulsants.