Glycogen storage disease type III (GSD III) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by excessive accumulation of abnormal glycogen in the liver and muscles and caused by deficiency in the glycogen debranching enzyme, the amylo-1,6-glucosidase (AGL). In this study, we report the clinical, biochemical and genotyping features of five unrelated GSD III patients coming from the same region in Tunisia. The concentration of erythrocyte glycogen and AGL activity were measured by colorimetric and fluorimetric methods, respectively. Four CA/TG microsatellite markers flanking the AGL gene in chromosome 1 were amplified with fluoresceinated primers. The full coding exons and their relevant exon-intron boundaries of the AGL gene were directly sequenced for the patients and their parents. All patients showed a striking increase of erythrocytes glycogen content. No AGL activity was detected in peripheral leukocytes. Sequencing of the AGL gene identified a c.3216_3217delGA (p.Glu1072AspfsX36) mutation in the five patients which leads to a premature termination, abolishing the AGL activity. Haplotype analysis showed that the mutation was associated with a common homozygote haplotype. Our results suggested the existence of a founder effect responsible for GSD III in this region of Tunisia.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.