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Glycogen storage disorders (GSDs) are caused by excessive accumulation of glycogen. Some GSDs [adult polyglucosan (PG) body disease (APBD), and Tarui and Lafora diseases] are caused by intracellular accumulation of insoluble inclusions, called PG bodies (PBs), which are chiefly composed of malconstructed glycogen. We developed an APBD patient skin fibroblast cell-based assay for PB identification, where the bodies are identified as amylase-resistant periodic acid-Schiff's-stained structures, and quantified. We screened the DIVERSet CL 10 084 compound library using this assay in high-throughput format and discovered 11 dose-dependent and 8 non-dose-dependent PB-reducing hits. Approximately 70% of the hits appear to act through reducing glycogen synthase (GS) activity, which can elongate glycogen chains and presumably promote PB generation. Some of these GS inhibiting hits were also computationally predicted to be similar to drugs interacting with the GS activator protein phosphatase 1. Our work paves the way to discovering medications for the treatment of PB-involving GSD, which are extremely severe or fatal disorders.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem J

Publication Date





3403 - 3420


APBD, glycogen storage disorders, glycogen synthase, image-based high-throughput screening, polyglucosans, Adult, Drug Evaluation, Preclinical, Female, Fibroblasts, Glycogen Storage Disease, Glycogen Synthase, Humans, Male, Nervous System Diseases