Quantification of galactosylsphingosine in the twitcher mouse using electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry

P D Whitfield, P C Sharp, R Taylor, P Meikle

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Globoid cell leukodystrophy (Krabbe disease) is an autosomal recessive inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by the deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme beta-galactosylceramidase. The pathogenesis of the disorder has been proposed to arise from the accumulation of the cytotoxic metabolite galactosylsphingosine (psychosine). The twitcher mouse is a naturally occurring murine model of globoid cell leukodystrophy. We have developed a rapid, sensitive, and specific mass spectrometric method for determining the galactosylsphingosine concentration in the tissues of twitcher mice. Galactosylsphingosine is extracted from the tissues in methanol, isolated using strong cation-exchange and C18 solid-phase extraction chromatography, and then directly analyzed using electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry. A lactosylsphingosine internal standard has been employed for quantification. The assay demonstrated significant accumulation of galactosylsphingosine in the brain, spinal cord, and kidney of twitcher mice. It is anticipated that this method may be of use in the monitoring of experimental therapies for globoid cell leukodystrophy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2092-5
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001


  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Phenotype
  • Psychosine
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Spinal Cord
  • Spleen


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