Pathology of GM2 gangliosidosis in Jacob sheep.
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The G(M2) gangliosidoses are a group of lysosomal storage diseases caused by defects in the genes coding for the enzyme hexosaminidase or the G(M2) activator protein. Four Jacob sheep from the same farm were examined over a 3-year period for a progressive neurologic disease. Two lambs were 6-month-old intact males and 2 were 8-month-old females. Clinical findings included ataxia in all 4 limbs, proprioceptive deficits, and cortical blindness. At necropsy, the nervous system appeared grossly normal. Histologically, most neurons within the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral ganglia were enlarged, and the cytoplasm was distended by foamy to granular material that stained positively with Luxol fast blue and Sudan black B stains. Other neuropathologic findings included widespread astrocytosis, microgliosis, and scattered spheroids. Electron microscopy revealed membranous cytoplasmic bodies within the cytoplasm of neurons. Biochemical and molecular genetic studies confirmed the diagnosis of G(M2) gangliosidosis. This form of G(M2) gangliosidosis in Jacob sheep is very similar to human Tay-Sachs disease and is potentially a useful animal model.