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Excerpted from the GeneReview: Arylsulfatase A Deficiency
Arylsulfatase A deficiency (also known as metachromatic leukodystrophy or MLD) is characterized by three clinical subtypes: late-infantile MLD, juvenile MLD, and adult MLD. Age of onset within a family is usually similar. The disease course may be from several years in the late-infantile-onset form to decades in the juvenile- and adult-onset forms. Late-infantile MLD. Onset is before age 30 months. Typical presenting findings include weakness, hypotonia, clumsiness, frequent falls, toe walking, and dysarthria. As the disease progresses, language, cognitive, and gross and fine motor skills regress. Later signs include spasticity, pain, seizures, and compromised vision and hearing. In the final stages, children have tonic spasms, decerebrate posturing, and general unawareness of their surroundings. Juvenile MLD. Onset is between age 30 months and 16 years. Initial manifestations include decline in school performance and emergence of behavioral problems, followed by gait disturbances. Progression is similar to but slower than in the late-infantile form. Adult MLD. Onset occurs after age 16 years, sometimes not until the fourth or fifth decade. Initial signs can include problems in school or job performance, personality changes, emotional lability, or psychosis; in others, neurologic symptoms (weakness and loss of coordination progressing to spasticity and incontinence) or seizures initially predominate. Peripheral neuropathy is common. Disease course is variable – with periods of stability interspersed with periods of decline – and may extend over two to three decades. The final stage is similar to earlier-onset forms.

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  • Also known as: MLD, ARSA
    Summary: arylsulfatase A

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