Background: Mucopolysaccharidosis type IIIB (MPS IIIB) is a rare genetic disorder in which the deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme N-acetyl-α-glucosaminidase (NAGLU) results in the accumulation of heparan sulfate (HS), leading to progressive neurocognitive deterioration. In MPS IIIB a wide spectrum of disease severity is seen. Due to a large allelic heterogeneity, establishing genotype-phenotype correlations is difficult. However, reliable prediction of the natural course of the disease is needed, in particular for the assessment of the efficacy of potential therapies. Methods: To identify markers that correlate with disease severity, all Dutch patients diagnosed with MPS IIIB were characterised as either rapid (RP; classical, severe phenotype) or slow progressors (SP; non-classical, less severe phenotype), based on clinical data. NAGLU activity and HS levels were measured in patients’ fibroblasts after culturing at different temperatures. Results: A small, though significant difference in NAGLU activity was measured between RP and SP patients after culturing at 37 °C (p < 0.01). Culturing at 30 °C resulted in more pronounced and significantly higher NAGLU activity levels in SP patients (p < 0.001) with a NAGLU activity of 0.58 calculated to be the optimal cut-off value to distinguish between the groups (sensitivity and specificity 100 %). A lower capacity of patients’ fibroblasts to increase NAGLU activity at 30 °C could significantly predict for the loss of several disease specific functions. Conclusion: NAGLU activity in fibroblasts cultured at 30 °C can be used to discriminate between RP and SP MPS IIIB patients and the capacity of cells to increase NAGLU activity at lower temperatures correlates with disease symptoms.,
Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease
Department of Clinical Genetics

Meijer, O.L.M, Welling, L, Valstar, M.J, Hoefsloot, E.H, Brüggenwirth, H.T, van der Ploeg, A.T, … van Vlies, N. (2016). Residual N-acetyl-α-glucosaminidase activity in fibroblasts correlates with disease severity in patients with mucopolysaccharidosis type IIIB. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease, 39(3), 437–445. doi:10.1007/s10545-016-9916-2