An emerging role for endothelial barrier support therapy for congenital disorders of glycosylation

J Inherit Metab Dis. 2020 Jul;43(4):880-890. doi: 10.1002/jimd.12225. Epub 2020 Feb 27.


Congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDGs) are clinically heterogeneous disorders defined by a decreased ability to modify biomolecules with oligosaccharides. Critical disruptions in protein recognition, interaction, binding, and anchoring lead to broad physiological effects. Patients present with endocrinopathy, immunodeficiency, hepatopathy, coagulopathy, and neurodevelopmental impairment. Patients may experience mortality/morbidity associated with shock physiology that is frequently culture negative and poorly responsive to standard care. Oedema, pleural and pericardial effusions, ascites, proteinuria, and protein-losing enteropathy are observed with an exaggerated inflammatory response. The negative serum protein steady state results from several mechanisms including reduced hepatic synthesis and secretion, increased consumption, and extravasation. Disruption of the glycocalyx, a layer of glycosylated proteins that lines the endothelium preventing thrombosis and extravasation, is a suspected cause of endothelial dysfunction in CDG patients. We performed a retrospective review of CDG patients admitted to our institution with acute illness over the past 2 years. Longitudinal clinical and laboratory data collected during the sick and well states were assessed for biomarkers of inflammation and efficacy of interventions. Six patients representing 4 CDG subtypes and 14 hospitalisations were identified. Acute D-dimer elevation, proteinuria, decreased serum total protein levels, coagulation proteins, and albumin were observed with acute illness. Infusion of fresh frozen plasma, and in some cases protein C concentrate, was associated with clinical and biomarker improvement. This was notable with intra-patient comparison of treated vs untreated courses. Use of endothelial barrier support therapy may reduce endothelial permeability by restoring both regulatory serum protein homeostasis and supporting the glycocalyx and is likely a critical component of care for this population.

Keywords: congenital disorders of glycosylation; endothelial barrier support therapy; extravasation; fresh frozen plasma; glycocalyx; septic shock.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Capillary Permeability / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation / metabolism*
  • Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation / therapy*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products / metabolism
  • Glycocalyx / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Plasma
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thrombosis / prevention & control*


  • Biomarkers
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products
  • fibrin fragment D