Cross-sectional Observations on the Natural History of Mucolipidosis Type IV

Albert L. Misko, Levi B. Wood, Madeline DeBono, Rebecca Oberman, Annick Raas-Rothschild, Yulia Grishchuk, Florian Eichler

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Background and Objectives Mucolipidosis type IV (MLIV) is an ultra-rare lysosomal disorder initially described as a static neurodevelopmental condition. However, patient caregivers frequently report progressive muscular hypertonicity and functional decline. We evaluated a cohort of patients with MLIV to determine whether neurologic disability correlates with age. Methods We performed a cross-sectional, observational study of 26 patients with MLIV in the United States and Israel ranging in age from 2 to 40 years. Medical history was obtained from caregivers, and patients underwent a full neurologic examination. The Brief Assessment of Motor Function (BAMF), Gross Motor Function Classification System, and modified Ashworth scales were applied. Caregivers identified developmental skills on the Oregon Project for Visually Impaired and Blind Children checklist that their child had lost the ability to perform. Results Three patients were clinically classified as mildly affected and the remaining 23 patients as typical, severely affected cases. Timing of first symptom onset ranged from 1.5 months to 8 years of age (median 7.25 months). Across typical patients, modified Ashworth scores demonstrated a positive age dependence illustrating worsening spasticity across the lifespan. Signs of extrapyramidal motor dysfunction were also qualitatively observed. In parallel, gross and fine motor function assessed with the BAMF and Gross Motor Function Classification System scales declined across age. All typical patients had restricted tongue mobility and lacked rotary jaw movement when chewing, but BAMF scores for deglutition declined only in the oldest patients. In contrast, scores for articulation were low in all patients and did not correlate with age. Finally, loss of developmental skills frequently occurred in early adolescence. Discussion This cross-sectional natural history study of MLIV demonstrates worse motor function in older patients. These data support a neurodegenerative component of MLIV that manifests as developmental regression in the second decade of life. Whether the emergence of functional decline results from the cumulative, nonlinear interactions of steadily progressive neurodegenerative processes or reflects an inflection from impaired CNS development to degeneration is uncertain. However, understanding the relationship between CNS pathology and clinical course of disease will be imperative to guiding future interventional trials and optimizing patient care.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere662
JournalNeurology: Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 10 Apr 2022


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