Background: Rapid and accurate diagnosis of mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) is still a challenge due to poor access to screening and diagnostic methods and to their extensive clinical heterogeneity. The aim of this work is to perform laboratory biochemical testing for confirming the diagnosis of mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) for the first time in Morocco.
Methods: Over a period of twelve months, 88 patients suspected of having Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) were referred to our laboratory. Quantitative and qualitative urine glycosaminoglycan (GAG) analyses were performed, and enzyme activity was assayed on dried blood spots (DBS) using fluorogenic substrates. Enzyme activity was measured as normal, low, or undetectable.
Results: Of the 88 patients studied, 26 were confirmed to have MPS; 19 MPS I (Hurler syndrome; OMIM #607014/Hurler-Scheie syndrome; OMIM #607015), 2 MPS II (Hunter syndrome; OMIM #309900), 2 MPS IIIA (Sanfilippo syndrome; OMIM #252900), 1 MPS IIIB (Sanfilippo syndrome; OMIM #252920) and 2 MPS VI (Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome; OMIM #253200). Parental consanguinity was present in 80.76% of cases. Qualitative urinary glycosaminoglycan (uGAGs) assays showed abnormal profiles in 31 cases, and further quantitative urinary GAG evaluation and Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) provided important additional information about the likely MPS diagnosis. The final diagnosis was confirmed by specific enzyme activity analysis in the DBS samples.
Conclusions: The present study shows that the adoption of combined urinary substrate analysis and enzyme assays using dried blood spots can facilitate such diagnosis, offer an important tool for an appropriate supporting care, and a specific therapy, when available.