Low arylsulfatase A levels are reported in two siblings, one with a neurologic disability not typical for metachromatic leukodystrophy, the other a healthy 18-year-old female with a normal developmental history. In both individuals, arylsulfatase A levels in white blood cells were 7-8% of control values. Cultured fibroblasts gave low values (8-10% of normal) for both cerebroside sulfatase and arylsulfatase A activities. Other family members had enzyme levels consistent with heterozygote or normal status. Cerebroside sulfate loading tests of cultured fibroblasts in 199-Co2 media were normal for all family members who were tested. In MEM-HEPES media, however, cells from the two arylsulfatase A deficient siblings showed attenuated sulfolipid catabolism.Additional clinical and laboratory studies on these individuals failed to demonstrate any features suggestive of metachromatic leukodystrophy, Le., normal nerve conduction velocities, normal sural nerve biopsy results, and normal urinary sulfatide excretion. It is concluded that the neurologic abnormalities in the one sibling are not the result of the low enzyme activity and that both individuals represent examples of pseudo arylsulfatase A deficiency (arylsulfatase A deficiency without metachromatic leukodystrophy). These results thus call into question the ability of the high-sensitivity cerebroside sulfate loading test as carried out in MEM-HEPES media to differentiate pathologically significant defects Le., metachromatic leukodystrophy from benign “pseudo- deficiencies.”.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health