A molecular analysis of the arylsulphatase A gene was performed on 26 unrelated, Italian, late infantile metachromatic leucodystrophy patients. The frequency of the common disease causing mutations 609A and 2381T was 28.8% and 1.9% respectively. Pseudodeficiency allele frequency in patients was found to be 13.5% and a frequency of 10.1% was found in 89 unaffected normal controls. The frequency of the 609A mutation in Italian late infantile patients is lower than in late infantile patients from northern Europe, suggesting a higher frequency of different sporadic mutations in the Italian population. A cooperative in cis effect in phenotype determination involving arylsulphatase A mutations and the eventual background of the pseudodeficiency allele is proposed.
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