The mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) is characterized by accumulation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), and mucolipidosis (ML) by accumulation of GAGs and sphingolipids. Each type of MPS accumulates specific GAGs. The lysosomal enzymes N-acetylgalactosamine-6-sulphate sulphatase and β-galactosidase involve the stepwise degradation of keratan sulphate (KS). Deficiency of these enzymes results in elevation of KS levels in the body fluids and in tissues, leading to MPS IV disease. In this study, we evaluated blood and urine KS levels in types of MPS and ML other than MPS IV. Eighty-five plasma samples came from MPS I (n=18), MPS II (n=28), MPS III (n=20), MPS VI (n=3), MPS VII (n=5) and ML (n=11) patients while 127 urine samples came from MPS I (n=34), MPS II (n=34), MPS III (n=32), MPS VI (n=7), MPS VII (n=9) and ML (n=11) patients. KS levels were determined using the ELISA method. Plasma KS levels varied with age in both control and patient populations. In all age groups, the mean values of plasma KS in MPS and ML patients were significantly higher than those in the age-matched controls. Plasma KS values in four newborn patients were above the mean + 2SD of the age-matched controls (mean, 41ng/ml). Overall, 85.9% of individual values in non-type IV MPS and ML patients were above the mean + 2SD of the age-matched controls. For urine KS levels, 24.4% of individual values in patients were above the mean + 2SD of the age-matched controls. In conclusion, KS in blood is elevated in each type of non-type IV MPS examined, in contrast to the conventional understanding. This finding suggests that measurement of KS level provides a new diagnostic biomarker in a wide variety of mucopolysaccharidoses and mucolipidoses in addition to MPS IV.
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