Neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disease in European Burmese cats with hexosaminidase beta-subunit deficiency.
Two kitteens with progressive neurologic disease had increased concentrations of GM2 ganglioside in their cerebral cortex. Examination under the light microscope revealed cytoplasmic vacuolation of neurons and hepatocytes. Transmission and scanning electron microscopy demosntrated cytoplasmic inclusions encompassed by membranes in various central nervous system cell types and in hepatocytes. Beta-D-N-acetyl-hexosaminidase activity was reduced to about 1.0 percent of normal in brain, liver, and cultured skin fibroblasts of the diseased kittens; both major electrophoretic forms, A and B, of the enzyme were deficient. In fibroblasts from the parents of the diseased kittens, this enzyme activity was intermediate between that of affected and normal cats, suggesting an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance of the enzyme defect. Histopahtological and ultrastructural lesions, glycolipid storage, enzyme defect, and pattern of inheritance are similar to those of human GM2 gangliosidosis type 2.