The neurogenetics of mucolipidosis type IV

Neurology. 2002 Aug 13;59(3):306-13. doi: 10.1212/wnl.59.3.306.


Background: Mucolipidosis type IV (MLIV) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in the MCOLN1 gene that codes for mucolipin, a member of the transient receptor potential (TRP) gene family.

Objective: To comprehensively characterize the clinical and genetic abnormalities of MLIV.

Methods: Twenty-eight patients with MLIV, aged 2 to 25 years, were studied. Ten returned for follow-up every 1 to 2 years for up to 5 years. Standard clinical, neuroimaging, neurophysiologic, and genetic techniques were used.

Results: All patients had varying degrees of corneal clouding, with progressive optic atrophy and retinal dystrophy. Twenty-three patients had severe motor and mental impairment. Motor function deteriorated in three patients and remained stable in the rest. All had a constitutive achlorhydria with elevated plasma gastrin level, and 12 had iron deficiency or anemia. Head MRI showed consistent characteristic findings of a thin corpus callosum and remained unchanged during the follow-up period. Prominent abnormalities of speech, hand usage, and swallowing were also noted. Mutations in the MCOLN1 gene were present in all patients. Correlation of the genotype with the neurologic handicap and corpus callosum dysplasia was found.

Conclusions: MLIV is both a developmental and a degenerative disorder. The presentation as a cerebral palsy-like encephalopathy may delay diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Corpus Callosum / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Mucolipidoses / diagnosis
  • Mucolipidoses / genetics*
  • Mucolipidoses / pathology
  • Mucolipidoses / physiopathology*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Prospective Studies
  • TRPM Cation Channels
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels


  • MCOLN1 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • TRPM Cation Channels
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels