Authors: Antonella Capuozzo, Sandro Montefusco, Vincenzo Cacace, Martina Sofia, Alessandra Esposito, Gennaro Napolitano, Eduardo Nusco, Elena Polishchuk, Maria Teresa Pizzo, Maria De Risi, Elvira De Leonibus, Nicolina Cristina Sorrentino, Diego Luis Medina
Sources: Molecular Therapy
Mucopolysaccharidosis type IIIA (MPS-IIIA) is an autosomal recessive disordercaused by mutations in SGSH involved in the degradation of heparan sulfate. MPS-IIIA presents severe neurological symptoms such as progressive developmental delay and cognitive decline, for which there is currently no treatment. Brain targeting represents the main challenge for therapeutics to treat MPS-IIIA, and the development of small-molecule-based treatments able to reach the CNS could be a relevant advance for therapy. Using cell-based high content imaging to survey clinically approved drugs in MPS-IIIA cells, we identified fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Fluoxetine increases lysosomal and autophagic functions via TFEB activation through a RagC-dependent mechanism. Mechanistically, fluoxetine increases lysosomal exocytosis in mouse embryonic fibroblasts from MPS-IIIA mice, suggesting that this process may be responsible for heparan sulfate clearance. In vivo, fluoxetine ameliorates somatic and brain pathology in a mouse model of MPS-IIIA by decreasing the accumulation of glycosaminoglycans and aggregated autophagic substrates, reducing inflammation, and slowing down cognitive deterioration. We repurposed fluoxetine for potential therapeutics to treat human MPS-IIIA disease.