Background: Likely pathogenic variants in SLC17A5 results in allelic disorders of free sialic acid metabolism including (1) infantile free sialic acid storage disease with severe global developmental delay, coarse facial features, hepatosplenomegaly, and cardiomegaly; (2) intermediate severe Salla disease with moderate to severe global developmental delay, hypotonia, and hypomyelination with or without coarse facial features, and (3) Salla disease with normal appearance, mild cognitive dysfunction, and spasticity.
Patient description: This five-year-old girl presented with infantile-onset severe global developmental delay, truncal hypotonia, and generalized dystonia following normal development during her first six months of life. Brain magnetic resonance imaging showed marked hypomyelination and a thin corpus callosum at age 19 months, both unchanged on follow-up at age 28 months. Urine free sialic acid was moderately elevated. Cerebrospinal fluid free sialic acid was marginally elevated. Sequencing of SLC17A5 revealed compound heterozygous likely pathogenic variants, namely, a known missense (c.291G>A) variant and a novel truncating (c.819+1G>A) variant, confirming the diagnosis of Salla disease at age 3.5 years.
Conclusion: We report a new patient with intermediate severe Salla disease. Normal or marginally elevated urine or cerebrospinal fluid free sialic acid levels cannot exclude Salla disease. In patients with progressive global developmental delay and hypomyelination on brain magnetic resonance imaging, Salla disease should be included into the differential diagnosis.
Keywords: SLC17A5; Salla disease; free sialic acid; global developmental delay; hypomyelination.
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