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Eur J Pediatr. 2008 Feb;167(2):203-9. Epub 2007 Mar 15.

Abnormalities in the hair morphology of patients with some but not all types of mucopolysaccharidoses.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, University of Gdańsk, Kładki 24, 80-822, Gdańsk, Poland.


Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are a group of inherited, progressive, metabolic diseases, caused by the deficiency of one of the enzymes involved in the degradation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). The disease is usually fatal, with the life span of most untreated MPS patients being between one and two decades. In this report, on the basis of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) studies, we demonstrate that, besides the many other symptoms of MPS, there are characteristic abnormalities in the hair morphology of patients suffering from some types of this disease (MPS I, MPS II, MPS IIIA, MPS IIIB), but not from other types (MPS IVA, MPS IVB, MPS VI), where the changes are minor, if any. Different GAGs accumulate in the tissues of patients suffering from the various MPS types, and analysis of the disease types in which severe hair abnormalities occur or not could suggest that the accumulation of heparan sulfate, rather than dermatan sulfate or keratan sufate, may be responsible for the major changes in hair morphology. Considerable abnormalities in hair morphology occur in patients suffering from MPS I, MPS II, MPS IIIA, and MPS IIIB, but not in patients suffering from MPS IVA, MPS IVB, and MPS VI; this feature might potentially be used as an additional test for the assessment of the efficacy of treatments for MPS patients (types I, II, IIIA, and IIIB).

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