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Mucopolysaccharides

  • Definition
    • Mucopolysaccharides are long chains of sugar molecules that are found throughout the body, often in mucus and in fluid around the joints. They are more commonly called glycosaminoglycans.

  • Alternative Names
    • Glycosaminoglycans; GAG

  • Information
    • When the body cannot break down mucopolysaccharides, a condition called mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) occurs. MPS refers to a group of inherited disorders of metabolism. People with MPS do not have any, or enough, of a substance (enzyme) needed to break down the sugar molecule chains.

      Forms of MPS include:

      These conditions cause mucopolysaccharides to build up in body tissues. This can damage organs, including the heart. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and may include:

      • Abnormal features of the face
      • Bone, cartilage, and connective tissue deformities
      • Mental disability
  • References
    • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Mucolipidoses Fact Sheet. Bethesda, MD: Office of Communications and Public Liaison; February 13, 2007. Publication No. 03-5115.

      Pyeritz RE. Inherited diseases of connective tissue. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 260.

      Spranger J. Mucopolysaccharidoses. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 82.

      Wraith JE. Mucopolysaccharidoses and oligosaccharidoses. In: Saudubray J-M, van den Berghe G, Walter JH, eds. Inborn Metabolic Diseases: Diagnosis and Treatment. 5th ed. New York, NY: Springer; 2012:chap 40.