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Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are the group of lysosomal storage disorders caused by deficiencies of enzymes involved in the stepwise degradation of glycosaminoglycans. To identify brain pathology common for neurological MPS, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of brain cortex tissues from post-mortem autopsy materials of eight patients affected with MPS I, II, IIIA, IIIC, and IIID, and age-matched controls. Frozen brain tissues were analyzed for the abundance of glycosaminoglycans (heparan, dermatan, and keratan sulfates) by LC-MS/MS, glycosphingolipids by normal phase HPLC, and presence of inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor superfamily member 10 (TNFSF10) by Western blotting. Fixed tissues were stained for the markers for microgliosis, astrogliosis, misfolded proteins, impaired autophagy, and GM2ganglioside. Our results demonstrate that increase of heparan sulfate, decrease of keratan sulfate, and storage of simple  monosialogangliosides 2 and 3 (GM2 and GM3) as well as the neutralglycosphingolipid, LacCer, together with neuroinflammation and neuronal accumulation of misfolded proteins are the hallmarks of brain pathology in MPS patients. These biomarkers aresimilar to those reported in the corresponding mouse models, suggesting that the pathological mechanism is common for all neurological MPS in humans and mice.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Med

Publication Date





brain pathology, glycosaminoglycans, glycosphingolipids, mucopolysaccharidosis, neuroinflammation, protein misfolding