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J Pediatr. 1994 Sep;125(3):385-91.

alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase deficiency with mild clinical manifestations and difficult biochemical diagnosis.

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Laboratory of Pediatrics and Neurology, University Hospital, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Two additional patients with alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase (alpha-NAGA) deficiency are described. An 11-month-old girl with nonconsanguineous parents had generalized seizures and no angiokeratoma. Biochemical investigation showed persistent slight oligosacchariduria; enzymatic analysis of plasma, leukocytes, and fibroblasts revealed profound alpha-NAGA deficiency. Heterozygote enzyme levels were found in both parents. The mother has epilepsy, and epilepsy is present in the father's family. A younger, clinically healthy brother also had the enzyme deficiency. Electron microscopy of lymphocytes from the index patient showed no vacuolization. Incubation of cultured fibroblasts with Helix pomatia lectin showed the presence of intracellular N-acetylgalactosamine-containing storage material, not present in a series of 12 normal fibroblast lines. Our cases cannot be classified definitely as infantile cases. Biochemically the diagnosis could easily have been missed. Urinary oligosaccharide pattern after resorcinol staining was identical to those previously described, but excretion was significantly lower than in the reported infantile cases and the bands disappeared after the urine was desalted. The enzyme defect in leukocytes would have been missed with one of the commercial substrates used. For this mild variant of alpha-NAGA deficiency, the clinical pattern is not yet clear; a longer follow-up period is needed.

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