Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IVA

Morquio A Syndrome, Mucopolysacchardosis IVA, Morquio syndrome A, N-acetylgalactosamine-6-sulfate sulfatase deficiency, Mucopolysaccharidosis type 4A, MPSIVA, MPS4A, Morquio disease type A, GALNS deficiency, Galactosamine-6-sulfatase deficiency, Morquio A disease, Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) IV (A, B), Morquio's Syndrome, Morquio's Disease, Morquio Syndrome, Morquio Disease, Morquio-Brailsford disease


Mucopolysaccharidosis type IV, also known as Morquio syndrome, is a progressive condition that mainly affects the skeleton. The rate at which symptoms worsen varies among affected individuals.

The first signs and symptoms of MPS IV usually become apparent during early childhood. Affected individuals develop various skeletal abnormalities, including short stature, knock knees, and abnormalities of the ribs, chest, spine, hips, and wrists. People with MPS IV often have joints that are loose and very flexible (hypermobile), but they may also have restricted movement in certain joints. A characteristic feature of this condition is underdevelopment (hypoplasia) of a peg-like bone in the neck called the odontoid process. The odontoid process helps stabilize the spinal bones in the neck (cervical vertebrae). Odontoid hypoplasia can lead to misalignment of the cervical vertebrae, which may compress and damage the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis or death.

In people with MPS IV, the clear covering of the eye (cornea) typically becomes cloudy, which can cause vision loss. Some affected individuals have recurrent ear infections and hearing loss. The airway may become narrow in some people with MPS IV, leading to frequent upper respiratory infections and short pauses in breathing during sleep (sleep apnea). Other common features of this condition include mildly "coarse" facial features, thin tooth enamel, multiple cavities, heart valve abnormalities, a mildly enlarged liver (hepatomegaly), and a soft out-pouching around the belly-button (umbilical hernia) or lower abdomen (inguinal hernia). Unlike some other types of mucopolysaccharidosis, MPS IV does not affect intelligence.

The life expectancy of individuals with MPS IV depends on the severity of symptoms. Severely affected individuals may survive only until late childhood or adolescence. Those with milder forms of the disorder usually live into adulthood, although their life expectancy may be reduced. Spinal cord compression and airway obstruction are major causes of death in people with MPS IV.

Symptoms - Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IVA

Signs and symptoms include various skeletal abnormalities such as short stature, knock knees, pectus carinatum, and malformations of the spine, hips and wrists. Affected people may also experience involvement of other organ systems such as respiratory problems,valvular heart disease, hearing impairment, corneal clouding, dental abnormalities, hepatomegaly, and spinal cord compression.

Causes - Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IVA

Mutations in the GALNS and GLB1 genes cause MPS IV and is inherited in anautosomal recessive manner. These genes provide instructions for producing enzymes involved in the breakdown of large sugar molecules called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). GAGs were originally called mucopolysaccharides, which is where this condition gets its name. When MPS IV is caused by mutations in the GALNS gene it is called MPS IV type A (MPS IVA), and when it is caused by mutations in the GLB1 gene it is called MPS IV type B (MPS IVB). In general, the two types of MPS IV cannot be distinguished by their signs and symptoms.

Prevention - Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IVA

Not supplied.

Diagnosis - Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IVA

Diagnosis often can be made through clinical examination and urine tests (excess mucopolysaccharides are excreted in the urine). Enzyme assays (testing a variety of cells or body fluids in culture for enzyme deficiency) are also used to provide definitive diagnosis of one of the mucopolysaccharidoses. Prenatal diagnosis using amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling can verify if a fetus either carries a copy of the defective gene or is affected with the disorder. Genetic counseling can help parents who have a family history of the mucopolysaccharidoses determine if they are carrying the mutated gene that causes the disorders.

Prognosis - Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IVA

Not supplied.

Treatment - Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IVA

Treatment is based on the signs and symptoms present in each person.

Resources - Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IVA

  • NIH
  • Genetics Home Reference
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