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A case of galactosialidosis

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Galactosialidosis is a lysosomal storage disease associated with a combined deficiency of β-galactosidase and neuraminidase, caused by a defect of another lysosomal protein, the protective protein. Three subtypes are recognized: the early infantile form, the late infantile form and the juvenile/adult form. We saw a patient with galactosialidosis of the juvenile/adult form, a 51-year-old Japanese man with angiokeratomas on both elbows and knees, myoclonus, ataxia, mental retardation and macular cherry-red spots. An electron-microscopic study of a skin biopsy showed membrane-limited vacuoles in the cytoplasm of the endothelial cells, pericytes and fibroblasts. Assays of enzymatic activity in cultured fibroblasts showed a marked decrease in both β-galactosidase and neuraminidase (sialidase). The substance contained in the cytoplasmic vacuoles appears to be glycoproteins with sialic acid, which is a terminal glycosyl residue, because the cytoplasm of the endothelial cells of the vessels and pericytes are stained by the Limax flavus agglutinin, a lectin that binds specifically with sialic acid. This technology may be useful for easy investigation of the distribution of the accumulation of such substances in the central nervous system.

Keywords: galactosialidosis; neuraminidase; protective protein; β-galactosidase

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Dermatology, The Jikei University School of Medicine, 3-25-8 Nishi-shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8461, Japan

Publication date: 2003-08-01

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