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Concept: Lysosomal storage disease


BACKGROUND: Families of children living with a rare disease report significant health and social burden, however, few studies have systematically examined family needs by using validated tools to assess the scope and extent of this burden. Our aim was to develop a comprehensive survey to assess health, psychosocial and financial impacts on Australian families caring for a child with a rare disease. METHODS: We developed a self-administered survey for parents/carers incorporating pre-validated tools. The survey included questions about experiences of diagnosis, health services use and needs, needs for peer and financial supports. Forty-seven families attending the state-wide Genetic Metabolic Disorders Service at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney were invited to participate. RESULTS: Of 46 families who received the survey, 30 (65%) completed it. Most (93%) found the survey acceptable and relevant (91%). Patients were 1–17 years old, 14 (47%) male, and 12 (40%) non-Caucasian. Eighteen (60%) had a lysosomal storage disease and 12(40%) had a mitochondrial disorder. Eleven (38%) saw 3–5 doctors and four (14%) saw 6–10 doctors before receiving the correct diagnosis; 43% felt diagnosis was delayed. Seven (33%) were dissatisfied with the way diagnosis was given, due to insensitive style of communication, inadequate information and psychological support. Psychosocial impact was moderate to high for 90% of families and the level of impact was not dependent on the level of health functioning of the child. Twenty-six (87%) wanted, but only 13(43%) received, information about peer-support groups. The 30 children accounted for 168 visits to general practitioners and 260 visits to specialist doctors; 21 (70%) children had at least one admission to hospital, including one who had 16 admissions in the previous 12 months. Most families (77%) received financial assistance but 52% believed this was insufficient. Families benefited from a specialised multi-disciplinary clinic but called for patient-held electronic medical records. CONCLUSIONS: Australian families caring for children with genetic metabolic disorders are adversely impacted by delays in diagnosis, lack of easy access to peer support groups and lack of psychological support. Further research is needed to estimate economic impact and to analyse health service delivery models for children with rare diseases in Australia.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Health, Epidemiology, Metabolism, Lysosomal storage disease, Physician, Inborn errors of metabolism


Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) III has 4 enzymatically distinct forms (A, B, C, and D), and MPS IIIC, also known as Sanfilippo C syndrome, is an autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disease caused by a deficiency of heparan acetyl-CoA:alpha-glucosaminide N-acetyltransferase (HGSNAT). Here, we report a case of MPS IIIC that was confirmed by molecular genetic analysis. The patient was a 2-yr-old girl presenting with skeletal deformity, hepatomegaly, and delayed motor development. Urinary excretion of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) was markedly elevated (984.4 mg GAG/g creatinine) compared with the age-specific reference range (<175 mg GAG/g creatinine), and a strong band of heparan sulfate was recognized on performing thin layer chromatography. HGSNAT enzyme activity in leukocytes was 0.7 nmol/17 hr/mg protein, which was significantly lower than the reference range (8.6-32 nmol/17 hr/mg protein). PCR and direct sequencing of the HGSNAT gene showed 2 mutations: c.234+1G>A (IVS2+1G>A) and c.1150C>T (p.Arg384(*)). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of MPS IIIC to be confirmed by clinical, biochemical, and molecular genetic findings in Korea.

Concepts: DNA, Molecular biology, Metabolism, Enzyme, Lysosomal storage disease, Chromatography, Mucopolysaccharidosis, Sanfilippo syndrome


BACKGROUND: Fabry disease is an X-linked lysosomal storage disorder caused by alpha-galactosidase A deficiency leading to renal, cardiac, cerebrovascular disease and premature death. Treatment with alpha-galactosidase A (enzyme replacement therapy, ERT) stabilises disease in some patients, but long term effectiveness is unclear. METHODS: Renal, cardiac, and cerebral outcomes were prospectively studied in males and females with Fabry disease treated with ERT. Additionally, the occurrence of major cardiac events, stroke, end-stage renal disease and death was compared to a natural history (NH) cohort meeting treatment criteria. RESULTS: Of 75 patients on ERT (median treatment duration 5.2 years, range 0.05-11.0), prospective follow-up was available for 57 adult patients (30 males) and 6 adolescents. Renal function declined in males (-3.4 ml/min/1.73 m2 per year, SE 0.2; p < 0.001) despite ERT, but followed the normal course in females (-0.8 ml/min/1.73 m2 per year, SE 0.3; p = 0.001). Cardiac mass increased during ERT in males (+ 1.2 gram/m2.7, SE 0.3; p < 0.001), but remained stable in females (-0.3 gram/m2.7 per year, SE 0.4; p = 0.52). ERT did not prevent the occurrence of cerebral white matter lesions. Comparison of ERT treated to untreated patients revealed that the odds to develop a first complication increased with age (OR 1.05 (95% CI: 1.0-1.1) per year, p = 0.012). For development of a first or second complication the odds declined with longer treatment duration (OR 0.81 (95% CI: 0.68-0.96) per year of ERT, p = 0.015;OR 0.52 (0.31-0.88), p = 0.014 respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Long term ERT does not prevent disease progression, but the risk of developing a first or second complication declines with increasing treatment duration. ERT in advanced Fabry disease seems of doubtful benefit.

Concepts: Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Death, Lysosomal storage disease, Enzyme replacement therapy, Fabry disease


Morquio A syndrome is a lysosomal storage disease associated with mucopolysaccharidosis. It is caused by a deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme, N-acetylgalactosamine-6-sulfate sulfatase, which leads to accumulation of keratan sulfate and condroitin-6 sulfate in multiple organs. Patients present with multisystemic complications involving the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, and digestive systems. Presently, there is no definitive cure, and current management options are palliative. Enzyme replacement therapy and hematopoietic stem cell therapy have been proven effective in certain lysosomal storage diseases, and current investigations are underway to evaluate the effectiveness of these therapies and others for the treatment of Morquio A syndrome. This review discusses the current and emerging treatment options for Morquio A syndrome, citing examples of the treatment of other mucopolysaccharidoses.

Concepts: Cell, Lysosomal storage disease, Therapy, Mucopolysaccharidosis, Lysosomal storage diseases, Morquio syndrome


The exact underlying pathomechanism of central sleep apnea with Cheyne-Stokes respiration (CSA-CSR) is still unclear. Recent studies have demonstrated an association between cerebral white matter changes and CSA. A dysfunction of central respiratory control centers in the brainstem was suggested by some authors. Novel MR-imaging analysis tools now allow far more subtle assessment of microstructural cerebral changes. The aim of this study was to investigate whether and what severity of subtle structural cerebral changes could lead to CSA-CSR, and whether there is a specific pattern of neurodegenerative changes that cause CSR. Therefore, we examined patients with Fabry disease (FD), an inherited, lysosomal storage disease. White matter lesions are early and frequent findings in FD. Thus, FD can serve as a “model disease” of cerebral microangiopathy to study in more detail the impact of cerebral lesions on central sleep apnea.

Concepts: Respiratory physiology, Lysosomal storage disease, Sleep, White matter, Sleep apnea, Abnormal respiration, Apnea, Respiration


To date, a plethora of studies have provided evidence favoring an association between Gaucher disease (GD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). GD, the most common lysosomal storage disorder, results from the diminished activity of the lysosomal enzyme β-glucocerebrosidase (GCase), caused by mutations in the β-glucocerebrosidase gene (GBA). Alpha-synuclein (ASYN), a presynaptic protein, has been strongly implicated in PD pathogenesis. ASYN may in part be degraded by the lysosomes and may itself aberrantly impact lysosomal function. Therefore, a putative link between deficient GCase and ASYN, involving lysosomal dysfunction, has been proposed to be responsible for the risk for PD conferred by GBA mutations. In this current work, we aimed to investigate the effects of pharmacological inhibition of GCase on ASYN accumulation/aggregation, as well as on lysosomal function, in differentiated SH-SY5Y cells and in primary neuronal cultures. Following profound inhibition of the enzyme activity, we did not find significant alterations in ASYN levels, or any changes in the clearance or formation of its oligomeric species. We further observed no significant impairment of the lysosomal degradation machinery. These findings suggest that additional interaction pathways together with aberrant GCase and ASYN must govern this complex relation between GD and PD.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Enzyme, Lysosomal storage disease, Parkinson's disease, Lysosome, Gaucher's disease, Glucocerebrosidase


A zebrafish genetic screen for determinants of susceptibility to Mycobacterium marinum identified a hypersusceptible mutant deficient in lysosomal cysteine cathepsins that manifests hallmarks of human lysosomal storage diseases. Under homeostatic conditions, mutant macrophages accumulate undigested lysosomal material, which disrupts endocytic recycling and impairs their migration to, and thus engulfment of, dying cells. This causes a buildup of unengulfed cell debris. During mycobacterial infection, macrophages with lysosomal storage cannot migrate toward infected macrophages undergoing apoptosis in the tuberculous granuloma. The unengulfed apoptotic macrophages undergo secondary necrosis, causing granuloma breakdown and increased mycobacterial growth. Macrophage lysosomal storage similarly impairs migration to newly infecting mycobacteria. This phenotype is recapitulated in human smokers, who are at increased risk for tuberculosis. A majority of their alveolar macrophages exhibit lysosomal accumulations of tobacco smoke particulates and do not migrate to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The incapacitation of highly microbicidal first-responding macrophages may contribute to smokers' susceptibility to tuberculosis.

Concepts: Immune system, Macrophage, Apoptosis, Lysosomal storage disease, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium marinum


Disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a serious complication frequently encountered in neurodegenerative disorders. Infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (INCL) is a devastating childhood neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disorder caused by palmitoyl-protein thioesterase-1 (PPT1) deficiency. It remains unclear whether BBB is disrupted in INCL and if so, what might be the molecular mechanism(s) of this complication. We previously reported that the Ppt1-knockout (Ppt1-KO) mice that mimic INCL manifest high levels of oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. Recently, it has been reported that CD4(+) T-helper 17 (T(H)17) lymphocytes may mediate BBB disruption and neuroinflammation, although the precise molecular mechanism(s) remain unclear. We sought to determine: (i) whether the BBB is disrupted in Ppt1-KO mice, (ii) if so, do T(H)17-lymphocytes underlie this complication, and (iii) how might T(H)17 lymphocytes breach the BBB. Here, we report that the BBB is disrupted in Ppt1-KO mice and that T(H)17 lymphocytes producing IL-17A mediate disruption of the BBB by stimulating production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which degrade the tight junction proteins essential for maintaining BBB integrity. Importantly, dietary supplementation of resveratrol (RSV), a naturally occurring antioxidant/anti-inflammatory polyphenol, markedly reduced the levels of T(H)17 cells, IL-17A and MMPs, and elevated the levels of tight junction proteins, which improved the BBB integrity in Ppt1-KO mice. Intriguingly, we found that RSV suppressed the differentiation of CD4(+) T lymphocytes to IL-17A-positive T(H)17 cells. Our findings uncover a mechanism by which T(H)17 lymphocytes mediate BBB disruption and suggest that small molecules such as RSV that suppress T(H)17 differentiation are therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative disorders such as INCL.

Concepts: Protein, Antioxidant, Lysosomal storage disease, B cell, Matrix metalloproteinase, Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, Batten disease, Lipofuscin


Mucopolysaccharidosis I (MPS I) is a metabolic disorder caused by α-L-Iduronidase (IDUA) deficiency, resulting in lysosomal accumulation of heparan (HS) and dermatan sulphate (DS). This has been reported in microglia, yet currently the effect of IDUA deficiency on T cells and dendritic cells (DC) and their functionality in disease pathogenesis remains unclear.

Concepts: Mitochondrion, Lysosomal storage disease, Dendritic cell, Lysosome, Dermatan sulfate, Mucopolysaccharidosis, Hunter syndrome, Hurler syndrome


To realize the potential of large molecular weight substances to treat neurological disorders, novel approaches are required to surmount the blood-brain barrier (BBB). We investigated whether fusion of a receptor-binding peptide from apolipoprotein E (apoE) with a potentially therapeutic protein can bind to LDL receptors on the BBB and be transcytosed into the CNS. A lysosomal enzyme, α-L-iduronidase (IDUA), was used for biological and therapeutic evaluation in a mouse model of mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) type I, one of the most common lysosomal storage disorders with CNS deficits. We identified two fusion candidates, IDUAe1 and IDUAe2, by in vitro screening, that exhibited desirable receptor-mediated binding, endocytosis, and transendothelial transport as well as appropriate lysosomal enzyme trafficking and biological function. Robust peripheral IDUAe1 or IDUAe2 generated by transient hepatic expression led to elevated enzyme levels in capillary-depleted, enzyme-deficient brain tissues and protein delivery into nonendothelium perivascular cells, neurons, and astrocytes within 2 d of treatment. Moreover, 5 mo after long-term delivery of moderate levels of IDUAe1 derived from maturing red blood cells, 2% to 3% of normal brain IDUA activities were obtained in MPS I mice, and IDUAe1 protein was detected in neurons and astrocytes throughout the brain. The therapeutic potential was demonstrated by normalization of brain glycosaminoglycan and β-hexosaminidase in MPS I mice 5 mo after moderate yet sustained delivery of IDUAe1. These findings provide a noninvasive and BBB-targeted procedure for the delivery of large-molecule therapeutic agents to treat neurological lysosomal storage disorders and potentially other diseases that involve the brain.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Medicine, Brain, Red blood cell, Lysosomal storage disease, Human brain, Neurology, Mucopolysaccharidosis