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J Neurol. 1976 Aug 6;213(2):105-18.

Acid maltase deficiency in non-identical adult twins. A morphological and biochemical study.


Acid maltase deficiency is described in non-identical adult twins. The onset of the disease can be traced into late infancy; the clinical picture is one of severe muscular dystrophy; respiratory insuficiency was the cause of death in one case. The autopsy showed the central nervous system, heart and liver to be spared. Glycogen filled vacuoles are found in skin, mesenchymal cells, small nerves and skeletal muscles. The light microscopic study of 9 different muscles showed extremely variable involvement ranging from normal appearance to overt vacuolization. A 6--20% residual acid alpha-glucosidase activity was found in visceral organs, cultured fibroblasts and in some skeletal muscles. No satisfactory explanation can be given why this generalized acid alpha-glucosidase deficiency produces a selective involvement of skeletal muscles. If compared with infantile AMD (Pompe's disease) our cases have a much higher residual acid alpha-glucosidase activity and show the presence of an antigenically detectable protein. From our study and from a similar report in the literature (de Barsy et al., 1975), it appears that a combined approach of light microscopy, electron microscopy and biochemical analysis (determination of acid alpha-glucosidase) is necessary to make a diagnosis of AMD in adults.

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