Identification of retinoyl complexes as the autofluorescent component of the neuronal storage material in Batten disease

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Science  25 Mar 1977:
Vol. 195, Issue 4284, pp. 1360-1362
DOI: 10.1126/science.841336


Cytosomes filled with intensely fluorescent material in the form of curvilinear bodies were isolated by density gradient centrifugation followed by pronase digestion from the cerebral cortex of a child who had died at age 7 from the late infantile form of Batten disease. Forty-three percent of the dry weight of the storage material was extracted by a mixture of chloroform and methanol, leaving a waterinsoluble amorphous fluorescent residue. Infrared spectroscopy, proton magnetic resonance spectrscopy, and mass spectrometry of this residue strongly suggested the presence of retinoyl polyenes linked to a small peptide. Base hydrolysis and methanolysis yielded retinoic acid and methyl retinoate, respectively. Ozonolysis yielded a product derived from the substituted cyclohexenyl ring of vitamin A. The results indicate that the fluorescent component of the neuronal storage material is a retinoyl complex and is not derived from peroxidized polyunsatured fatty acids as previously thought.

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