PURPOSE. Oral nitisinone has been shown to increase fur and ocular pigmentation in a mouse model of oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) due to hypomorphic mutations in tyrosinase (TYR), OCA1B. This study determines if nitisinone can improve ocular and/or fur pigmentation in a mouse model of OCA type 3 (OCA3), caused by mutation of the tyrosinase-related protein 1 (Tyrp1) gene. METHODS. Mice homozygous for a null allele in the Tyrp1 gene (C57BL/6J-Tyrp1b-J /J) were treated with 8 mg/kg nitisinone or vehicle every other day by oral gavage. Changes in fur and ocular melanin pigmentation were monitored. Mature ocular melanosome number and size were quantified in pigmented ocular structures by electron microscopy. RESULTS. C57BL/6J-Tyrp1b-J /J mice carry a novel c.403T>A; 404delG mutation in Tyrp1, predicted to result in premature truncation of the TYRP1 protein. Nitisinone treatment resulted in an approximately 7-fold increase in plasma tyrosine concentrations without overt toxicity. After 1 month of treatment, no change in the color of fur or pigmented ocular structures was observed. The distribution of melanosome cross-sectional area was unchanged in ocular tissues. There was no significant difference in the number of pigmented melanosomes in the RPE/choroid of nitisinone-treated and control groups. However, there was a significant difference in the number of pigmented melanosomes in the iris. CONCLUSIONS. Treatment of a mouse model of OCA3 with oral nitisinone did not have a favorable clinical effect on melanin production and minimally affected the number of pigmented melanosomes in the iris stroma. As such, treatment of OCA3 patients with nitisinone is unlikely to be therapeutic.
- Retinal pigment epithelium
- Visual acuity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience