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Am J Hum Genet. 2001 Feb;68(2):347-54. Epub 2001 Jan 11.

High residual activity of PMM2 in patients' fibroblasts: possible pitfall in the diagnosis of CDG-Ia (phosphomannomutase deficiency).

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  • 1Centre for Human Genetics, University of Leuven, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.


Congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDGs) are a rapidly enlarging group of inherited diseases with abnormal N-glycosylation of glycoconjugates. Most patients have CDG-Ia, which is due to a phosphomannomutase (PMM) deficiency. In this article, we report that a significant portion (9 of 54) of patients with CDG-Ia had a rather high residual PMM activity in fibroblasts included in the normal range (means of the controls +/- 2 SD) and amounting to 35%-70% of the mean control value. The clinical diagnosis of CDG-Ia was made difficult by the fact that most (6 of 9) of these patients belong to a subgroup characterized by a phenotype that is milder than classical CDG-Ia. These patients lack some of the symptoms that are suggestive for the diagnosis, such as inverted nipples and abnormal fat deposition, and, as a mean, had higher residual PMM activities in fibroblasts (2.05+/-0.61 mU/mg protein, n=9; vs. controls 5.34+/-1.74 mU/mg protein, n=22), compared with patients with moderate (1.32+/-0.86 mU/mg protein, n=18) or severe (0.63+/-0.56 mU/mg protein, n=27, P<.001) cases. Yet they all showed mild mental retardation, hypotonia, cerebellar hypoplasia, and strabismus. All of them had an abnormal serum transferrin pattern and a significantly reduced PMM activity in leukocytes. Six of the nine patients with mild presentations were compound heterozygotes for the C241S mutation, which is known to reduce PMM activity by only approximately 2-fold. Our results indicate that intermediate PMM values in fibroblasts may mask the diagnosis of CDG-Ia, which is better accomplished by measurement of PMM activity in leukocytes and mutation search in the PMM2 gene. They also indicate that there is some degree of correlation between the residual activity in fibroblasts and the clinical phenotype.

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