Mucopolysaccharidosis IVA and glycosaminoglycans

Mol Genet Metab. 2017 Jan-Feb;120(1-2):78-95. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2016.11.007. Epub 2016 Nov 29.


Mucopolysaccharidosis IVA (MPS IVA; Morquio A: OMIM 253000) is a lysosomal storage disease with an autosomal recessive trait caused by the deficiency of N-acetylgalactosamine-6-sulfate sulfatase. Deficiency of this enzyme leads to accumulation of specific glycosaminoglycans (GAGs): chondroitin-6-sulfate (C6S) and keratan sulfate (KS). C6S and KS are mainly produced in the cartilage. Therefore, the undegraded substrates are stored primarily in cartilage and in its extracellular matrix (ECM), leading to a direct impact on cartilage and bone development, and successive systemic skeletal dysplasia. Chondrogenesis, the earliest phase of skeletal formation, is maintained by cellular interactions with the ECM, growth and differentiation factors, signaling pathways, and transcription factors in a temporal-spatial manner. In patients with MPS IVA, the cartilage is disrupted at birth as a consequence of abnormal chondrogenesis and/or endochondral ossification. The unique skeletal features are distinguished by a disproportional short stature, odontoid hypoplasia, spinal cord compression, tracheal obstruction, pectus carinatum, kyphoscoliosis, platyspondyly, coxa valga, genu valgum, waddling gait, and laxity of joints. In spite of many descriptions of these unique clinical features, delay of diagnosis still happens. The pathogenesis and treatment of systemic skeletal dysplasia in MPS IVA remains an unmet challenge. In this review article, we comprehensively describe historical aspect, property of GAGs, diagnosis, screening, pathogenesis, and current and future therapies of MPS IVA.

Keywords: Chondroitin-6-sulfate; Keratan sulfate; Mucopolysaccharidosis IVA; N-acetylgalactosamine-6-sulfate sulfatase; Skeletal dysplasia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cartilage / metabolism*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Enzyme Replacement Therapy
  • Female
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis IV / diagnosis*
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis IV / metabolism
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis IV / therapy*
  • Orthopedic Procedures


  • Glycosaminoglycans