In vitro modeling of experimental succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency (SSADHD) using brain-derived neural stem cells

We explored the utility of neural stem cells (NSCs) as an in vitro model for evaluating preclinical therapeutics in succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase-deficient (SSADHD) mice. NSCs were obtained from aldh5a1+/+ and aldh5a1-/- mice (aldh5a1 = aldehyde dehydrogenase 5a1 = SSADH). Multiple parameters were evaluated including: (1) production of GHB (γ-hydroxybutyrate), the biochemical hallmark of SSADHD; (2) rescue from cell death with the dual mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) inhibitor, XL-765, an agent previously shown to rescue aldh5a1-/- mice from premature lethality; (3) mitochondrial number, total reactive oxygen species, and mitochondrial superoxide production, all previously documented as abnormal in aldh5a1-/- mice; (4) total ATP levels and ATP consumption; and (5) selected gene expression profiles associated with epilepsy, a prominent feature in both experimental and human SSADHD. Patterns of dysfunction were observed in all of these parameters and mirrored earlier findings in aldh5a1-/- mice. Patterns of dysregulated gene expression between hypothalamus and NSCs centered on ion channels, GABAergic receptors, and inflammation, suggesting novel pathomechanisms as well as a developmental ontogeny for gene expression potentially associated with the murine epileptic phenotype. The NSC model of SSADHD will be valuable in providing a first-tier screen for centrally-acting therapeutics and prioritizing therapeutic concepts of preclinical animal studies applicable to SSADHD.