Determination of monosaccharides and disaccharides in mucopolysaccharidoses patients by electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry

Steven L. Ramsay, Peter J. Meikle, John J. Hopwood

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46 Citations (Scopus)


The mucopolysaccharidoses are a group of lysosomal storage disorders characterised by the storage of glycosaminoglycans. With the exception of Hunters syndrome (MPS II), which is X-linked, they are autosomal recessively inherited resulting in a defect in any one of 10 lysosomal enzymes needed to catabolise glycosaminoglycans. The type and size of the glycosaminoglycans stored in lysosomes are determined by the particular enzyme deficiency. These glycosaminoglycan elevations are subsequently observed in tissue, circulation, and urine. A method has been developed for the derivatisation and quantification of sulfated N-acetylhexosamine-containing mono- and disaccharides from patient samples by electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry. Urine from most mucopolysaccharidoses types had significant increases in di- and monosulfated N-acetylhexosamines (GalNAc4,6S, GalNAc6S, GalNAc4S, or GlcNAc6S) and monosulfated N-acetylhexosamine-uronic acid disaccharides (GalNAc6S-UA, GalNAc4S-UA, or GlcNAc6S-UA). Analysis of plasma and dried blood spots on filter paper collected from mucopolysaccharidoses patients showed elevations of total monosulfated N-acetylhexosamines but less than that seen in urine. Urine samples from bone marrow transplant recipients, mucopolysaccharidosis IVA and mucopolysaccharidosis VI patients, showed decreases in HexNAcS, HexNAcS2/GalNAc4,6S, and HexNAcS-UA post-transplant. This decrease correlated with clinical improvement to levels comparable with those identified in patients with less severe phenotypes. These metabolic markers therefore have potential applications in diagnosis, phenotype prediction and monitoring of current and future therapies, particularly for the mucopolysaccharidosis IIID, IVA, VI, and multiple sulfatase deficiency. This paper reports a sensitive and simple method for the measurement of sulfated N-acetylhexosamines and sulfated disaccharides shown to be elevated in some mucopolysaccharidosis and multiple sulfatase deficient patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-204
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • 1-Phenyl-3-methyl pyrazolone (PMP)
  • Electrospray mass spectrometry (ESI-MS)
  • Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs)
  • Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS)

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