The urinary excretion of glycosaminoglycans in 28 cases of gargoylism, embracing the Hurler, Hunter, Sanfilippo, Morquio, and Scheie syndromes (McKusick, 1966), has been examined using the cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) turbidity test, the uronic acid/creatinine ratio, and the electrophoretic pattern of urine concentrates, as routine procedures. Ion-exchange column chromatographic techniques were also employed for the fractionation of glycosaminoglycans and aminosugars. Molecular weights were investigated by gel filtration and ultracentrifugation.
The CPC turbidity test was positive in every case. The uronic acid/creatinine ratio provided a sensitive index of increased glycosaminoglycan excretion. Cases of the Hurler syndrome showed the highest, and cases of the Morquio and Scheie syndromes the lowest, ratios. A correlation was observed between the uronic acid/creatinine ratio and the clinical severity of the disease. Cellulose acetate electrophoresis differentiated clearly between the two major forms of gargoylism, the Hurler and Sanfilippo syndromes, but differentiation between the Hurler, Hunter, and Scheie syndromes was more difficult on electrophoretic data alone. Results obtained with cases diagnosed as the Morquio syndrome were disappointing. The existence of formes frustes of the Sanfilippo syndrome among the mentally subnormal is predicted. Errors caused by bacterial contamination of urine samples are emphasized. The atypical behaviour of urinary glycosaminoglycans in analytical procedures is discussed. Molecular weight studies suggested heterogeneity. The nature of the basic defect in gargoylism is discussed.
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