Oligosaccharide analysis in urine by maldi-tof mass spectrometry for the diagnosis of lysosomal storage diseases

Clin Chem. 2013 Sep;59(9):1357-68. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2012.201053. Epub 2013 May 15.


Background: There are 45 known genetic diseases that impair the lysosomal degradation of macromolecules. The loss of a single lysosomal hydrolase leads to the accumulation of its undegraded substrates in tissues and increases of related glycoconjugates in urine, some of which can be detected by screening of free oligosaccharides (FOS) in urine. Traditional 1-dimensional TLC for urine oligosaccharide analysis has limited analytical specificity and sensitivity. We developed fast and robust urinary FOS and glycoaminoacid analyses by MALDI-time-of-flight/time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF/TOF) mass spectrometry for the diagnosis of oligosaccharidoses and other lysosomal storage diseases.

Methods: The FOS in urine equivalent to 0.09 mg creatinine were purified through sequential passage over a Sep-Pak C18 column and a carbograph column and were then permethylated. MALDI-TOF/TOF was used to analyze the permethylated FOS. We studied urine samples from individuals in 7 different age groups ranging from 0-1 months to ≥ 17 years as well as urine from known patients with different lysosomal storage diseases.

Results: We identified diagnostic urinary FOS patterns for α-mannosidosis, galactosialidosis, mucolipidosis type II/III, sialidosis, α-fucosidosis, aspartylglucosaminuria (AGU), Pompe disease, Gaucher disease, and GM1 and GM2 gangliosidosis. Interestingly, the increase in urinary FOS characteristic of lysosomal storage diseases relative to normal FOS appeared to correlate with the disease severity.

Conclusions: The analysis of urinary FOS by MALDI-TOF/TOF is a powerful tool for first-tier screening of oligosaccharidoses and lysosomal storage diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aspartylglucosaminuria / diagnosis
  • Aspartylglucosaminuria / urine
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fucosidosis / diagnosis
  • Fucosidosis / urine
  • Gangliosidoses, GM2 / diagnosis
  • Gangliosidoses, GM2 / urine
  • Gangliosidosis, GM1 / diagnosis
  • Gangliosidosis, GM1 / urine
  • Gaucher Disease / diagnosis
  • Gaucher Disease / urine
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type II / diagnosis
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type II / urine
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases / urine*
  • Male
  • Mannosidase Deficiency Diseases / diagnosis
  • Mannosidase Deficiency Diseases / urine
  • Mucolipidoses / diagnosis
  • Mucolipidoses / urine
  • Oligosaccharides / urine*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*


  • Oligosaccharides

Supplementary concepts

  • Neuraminidase deficiency with beta-galactosidase deficiency