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Concept: Acid alpha-glucosidase


Pompe Disease is an inherited neuromuscular disease due to deficiency of lysosomal acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA) leading to glycogen accumulation in muscle and motoneurons. Cardiopulmonary failure in infancy leads to early mortality and GAA enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) results in improved survival, reduction of cardiac hypertrophy and developmental gains. However, many children have progressive ventilatory insufficiency and need additional support. Preclinical work shows that gene transfer restores phrenic neural activity and corrects ventilatory deficits. Here we present 180-day safety and ventilatory outcomes for five ventilator-dependent children in a phase I/II clinical trial of AAV-mediated GAA gene therapy (rAAV1-hGAA) following intradiaphragmatic delivery. We assessed if rAAV1-hGAA results in acceptable safety outcome and detectable functional changes, using general safety measures, immunological studies and pulmonary functional testing. All subjects required chronic, full-time mechanical ventilation due to respiratory failure that was unresponsive to both ERT and pre-operative muscle conditioning exercises. After receiving a dose of either 1 x 1012 vg (n=3) or 5 x 1012 vg (n=2) of rAAV1-hGAA, the subjects' unassisted tidal volume was significantly larger (median, IQR: 28.8% increase, 15.2-35.2, p<0.05). Further most patients tolerated appreciably longer periods of unassisted breathing (425% increase, 103-851%, p=0.08). Gene transfer did not improve maximal inspiratory pressure. Expected levels of circulating antibodies and no T cell-mediated immune responses to the vector (capsids) were observed. One subject demonstrated a slight increase in anti-GAA antibody that was not considered clinically significant. These results indicate that rAAV1-hGAA was safe and may lead to modest improvements in volitional ventilatory performance measures. Evaluation of the next five patients will determine if earlier intervention can further enhance the functional benefit.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Virus, Immunology, Muscle, Glycogen storage disease type II, Cell-mediated immunity, Acid alpha-glucosidase


Pompe disease is an uncommon autosomal recessive glycogen storage disorder caused by deficiency of acid α-glucosidase. Classic infantile form triggers severe cardiomyopathy, hypotonia, and respiratory failure, leading to death within the first two years of life. The majority of patients with Pompe disease have been reported to have point mutations in the GAA gene. We report the first complex deletion-insertion encompassing the complete structure of GAA gene and a large fragment of the gene CCDC40 in a patient with very severe form of Pompe disease. Sequencing analysis of breakpoints allowed us to determine the potential implication of an Alu repeat in the pathogenic mechanism. We suggest that molecular strategy of Pompe disease should include systematic analysis of large rearrangements.

Concepts: Allele, Evolution, Molecular biology, Death, Life, Point mutation, Glycogen storage disease, Acid alpha-glucosidase


Pompe disease, a rare lysosomal storage disease caused by deficiency of the lysosomal acid α-glucosidase (GAA), is characterized by glycogen accumulation, triggering severe secondary cellular damage and resulting in progressive motor handicap and premature death. Numerous disease-causing mutations in the gaa gene have been reported, but the structural effects of the pathological variants were unknown. Here we present the high-resolution crystal structures of recombinant human GAA (rhGAA), the standard care of Pompe disease. These structures portray the unbound form of rhGAA and complexes thereof with active site-directed inhibitors, providing insight into substrate recognition and the molecular framework for the rationalization of the deleterious effects of disease-causing mutations. Furthermore, we report the structure of rhGAA in complex with the allosteric pharmacological chaperone N-acetylcysteine, which reveals the stabilizing function of this chaperone at the structural level.

Concepts: Death, Structure, Lysosomal storage disease, Hierarchy, System, Glycogen storage disease, Inborn errors of metabolism, Acid alpha-glucosidase


Pompe disease is an autosomal recessive metabolic neuromuscular disorder caused by a deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA). It has long been believed that the underlying pathology leading to tissue damage is caused by the enlargement and rupture of glycogen-filled lysosomes. Recent studies have also implicated autophagy, an intracellular lysosome-dependent degradation system, in the disease pathogenesis. In this study, we characterize the long-term impact of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with recombinant human GAA (rhGAA) on lysosomal glycogen accumulation and autophagy in some of the oldest survivors with classic infantile Pompe disease (IPD).

Concepts: Metabolism, Therapy, Glycogen, Skeletal muscle, Glycogen storage disease, Neuromuscular disease, Glycogen storage disease type II, Acid alpha-glucosidase


Our study aimed to evaluate the utility of muscle ultrasound in newborn screening of infantile-onset Pompe disease (IOPD) and to establish a system of severity grading. We retrospectively selected 35 patients with initial low acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA) activity and collected data including muscle ultrasound features, GAA gene mutation, activity/performance, and pathological and laboratory findings. The echogenicity of 6 muscles (the bilateral vastus intermedius, rectus femoris, and sartorius muscles) was compared to that of epimysium on ultrasound and rated either 1 (normal), 2 (mildly increased), or 3 (obviously increased). These grades were used to divide patients into 3 groups. IOPD was present in none of the grade-1 patients, 5 of 9 grade-2 patients, and 5 of 5 grade-3 patients (P < .001). Comparing grade-2 plus grade-3 patients to grade-1 patients, muscle ultrasound detected IOPD with a sensitivity and specificity of 100.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 69.2%-100%) and 84.0% (95% CI: 63.9%-95.5%), respectively. The mean number of affected muscles was larger in grade-3 patients than in grade-2 patients (4.2 vs. 2.0, P = .005). Mean alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), creatine kinase (CK), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels were differed significantly different between grade-3 and grade-1 patients (P < .001). Because it permits direct visualization of injured muscles, muscle ultrasound can be used to screen for IOPD. Our echogenicity grades of muscle injury also correlate well with serum levels of muscle-injury biochemical markers.

Concepts: Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Muscle, Aspartate transaminase, Alanine transaminase, Lactic acid, Glycogen storage disease type II, Acid alpha-glucosidase


Pompe disease is a rare lysosomal glycogen storage disorder linked to the acid alpha-glucosidase gene (GAA). A wide clinical and genetic variability exists between patients from different ethnic populations, and the genotype-phenotype correlations are still not well understood. The aim of this study was to report the clinicopathological and genetic characteristics of five Chinese patients with late-onset Pompe disease (LOPD) who carried novel GAA gene mutations.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Cell, Mutation, Biology, Glycogen storage disease, Glycogen storage disease type II, Acid alpha-glucosidase


Infantile-onset Pompe disease is a kind of glycogenosis resulting from a deficit of the enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase. Before specific enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) became available, the classic form was fatal during the first two years of life. ERT increases survival and improves cardiac, respiratory and motor functioning.

Concepts: Therapy, Glycogen storage disease, Glycogen storage disease type II, Acid alpha-glucosidase


Myozyme is a recombinant human acid alpha-glucosidase (rhGAA) that is currently the only drug approved for treating Pompe disease, and its low efficacy means that a high dose is required. Mannose-6-phosphate (M6P) glycosylation on rhGAA is a key factor influencing lysosomal enzyme targeting and the efficacy of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT); however, its complex structure and relatively small quantity still remain to be characterized. This study investigated M6P glycosylation on rhGAA using liquid chromatography (LC)-electrospray ionization (ESI)-high-energy collisional dissociation (HCD) tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). The glycans released from rhGAA were labeled with procainamide to improve mass ionization efficiency and the sensitivity of MS/MS. The relative quantities (%) of 78 glycans were obtained, and 1.0% of them were glycans containing M6P (M6P glycans). These were categorized according to their structure into 4 types: 3 newly found ones, comprising high-mannose-type M6P glycans capped with N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) (2 variants, 17.5%), hybrid-type M6P glycans (2 variants, 11.2%), and hybrid-type M6P glycans capped with GlcNAc (3 variants, 6.9%), as well as high-mannose-type M6P glycans (3 variants, 64.4%). HCD-MS/MS spectra identified six distinctive M6P-derived oxonium ions. The glycopeptides obtained from protease-digested rhGAA were analyzed using nano-LC-ESI-HCD-MS/MS, and the extracted-ion chromatograms of M6P-derived oxonium ions confirmed three M6P glycosylation sites comprising Asn 140, Asn 233 (newly found), and Asn 470 attached heterogeneously to nine M6P glycans (two types), eight M6P glycans (four types), and seven M6P glycans (two types), respectively. This is the first study of rhGAA to differentiate M6P glycans and identify their attachment sites, despite rhGAA already being an approved drug for Pompe disease.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Chromatography, Ion source, Tandem mass spectrometry, Glycogen storage disease type II, Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance, Collision-induced dissociation, Acid alpha-glucosidase


Pompe disease is a metabolic myopathy with a wide spectrum of clinical presentation. The gold-standard diagnostic test is acid alpha-glucosidase assay on skin fibroblasts, muscle or blood. Identification of two GAA pathogenic variants in-trans is confirmatory. Optimal effectiveness of enzyme replacement therapy hinges on early diagnosis, which is challenging in late-onset form of the disease due to non-specific presentation. Next-generation sequencing-based panels effectively facilitate diagnosis, but the sensitivity of whole-exome sequencing (WES) in detecting pathogenic GAA variants remains unknown. We analyzed WES data from 93 patients with confirmed Pompe disease and GAA genotypes based on PCR/Sanger sequencing. After ensuring that the common intronic variant c.-32-13T>G is not filtered out, whole-exome sequencing identified both GAA pathogenic variants in 77/93 (83%) patients. However, one variant was missed in 14/93 (15%), and both variants were missed in 2/93 (2%). One complex indel leading to a severe phenotype was incorrectly called a nonsynonymous substitution c.-32-13T>C due to misalignment. These results demonstrate that WES may fail to diagnose Pompe disease. Clinicians need to be aware of limitations of WES, and consider tests specific to Pompe disease when WES does not provide a diagnosis in patients with proximal myopathy, progressive respiratory failure or other subtle symptoms.

Concepts: Gene, Medical terms, Diagnosis, Therapy, Glycogen storage disease, Enzyme replacement therapy, Glycogen storage disease type II, Acid alpha-glucosidase


Enzyme replacement therapy with recombinant human acid α-glucosidase (rhGAA) is complicated by the formation of anti-rhGAA antibodies, a short circulating half-life, instability in the plasma, and limited uptake into target tissue. Previously, we have demonstrated that phosphatidylinositol (PI) containing liposomes can reduce the immunogenicity and extend plasma survival of Factor VIII (FVIII) in a mouse model of Hemophilia A. In this manuscript we investigate the ability of PI liposomes to be used as a delivery vehicle to overcome the issues that complicate therapy with rhGAA. In a murine model of Pompe disease, administration of PI-rhGAA mitigated the immunogenicity of rhGAA, resulting in a significantly lower formation of anti-rhGAA antibodies. PI-rhGAA also showed minimal improvements to the pharmacokinetic parameters and efficacy measures compared to free rhGAA. Overall, these data suggest that PI-rhGAA may have the potential to be a useful therapeutic option for improving treatment of Pompe disease.

Concepts: Better, Medicine, Improve, Therapy, Genetic disorders, Animal model, Glycogen storage disease type II, Acid alpha-glucosidase