Infantile sialic acid storage disease: Two unrelated inuit cases homozygous for a common novel SLC17A5 mutation
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Infantile sialic acid storage disease (ISSD) is a lysosomal storage disease characterized by accumulation of covalently unlinked (free) sialic acid in multiple tissues. ISSD and Salla disease (a predominantly neurological disorder) are allelic disorders caused by recessive mutations of a lysosomal anionic monosaccharide transporter, SLC17A5. While Salla disease is common in Finland due to a founder-effect mutation (p.Arg39Cys), ISSD is comparatively rare in all populations studied. Here, we describe the clinical and molecular features of two unrelated Canadian Inuit neonates with a virtually identical presentation of ISSD. Both individuals presented antenatally with fetal hydrops, dying shortly following delivery. Urinary free sialic acid excretion was markedly increased in the one case in which urine could be obtained for testing; postmortem examination showed a picture of widespread lysosomal storage in both. Both children were homozygous for a novel splice site mutation (NM_012434:c.526-2A>G) resulting in skipping of exon 4 and an ensuing frameshift. Analysis of a further 129 pan-Arctic Inuit controls demonstrated a heterozygous carrier rate of 1/129 (~0.4 %) in our sample. Interestingly, lysosomal enzyme studies showed an unexplained ninefold increase in neuraminidase activity, with lesser elevations in the activities of several other lysosomal enzymes. Our results raise the possibility of a common founder mutation presenting as hydrops in this population. Furthermore, if confirmed in subsequent cases, the marked induction of neuraminidase activity seen here may prove useful in the clinical diagnosis of ISSD.