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Clinical, morphological, and molecular aspects of sialic acid storage disease manifesting in utero
  1. R Froissart1,
  2. D Cheillan1,
  3. R Bouvier2,
  4. S Tourret1,
  5. V Bonnet1,
  6. M Piraud1,
  7. I Maire1
  1. 1Centre d’Etude des Maladies Héréditaires du Métabolisme, Hôpital Debrousse, Lyon, France
  2. 2Laboratoire d’Anatomie Pathologique, Hôpital Edouard Herriot, Lyon, France
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr R Froissart
 Centre d’Etude des Maladies Héréditaires du Métabolisme, Hôpital Debrousse, 29 rue Soeur Bouvier, 69322, Lyon, cedex 05, France;


Background: Sialic acid storage diseases (SASDs) are caused by the defective transport of free sialic acid outside the lysosome. Apart from the Salla presentation in Finland, SASD is a very rare form of lysosomal storage disease (LSD) with approximately 35 cases, all diagnosed after birth, having been reported worldwide. We report a series of 12 French patients with very early manifestations, including eight fetuses diagnosed in utero.

Results: Ultrasound examination, fetal autopsy, or clinical examination showed prominent ascites, rarely progressing to complete hydrops, and highlighted the early severity of bone disease. Dramatic increase of free sialic acid in various biological samples confirmed the diagnosis in all cases. Storage staining affinities and storage distribution in placenta and fetal organs allowed differential diagnosis from other LSDs but cannot differentiate between SASD, sialidosis, and galactosialidosis. Fourteen different mutations were identified, showing the molecular heterogeneity of SASD in the French population. We found that the previously described p.Y306X mutation generated two different transcripts, and we identified seven novel mutations: three deletions (del exon 7, del exons10+11 and c.1296delT), one splice site mutation (c.1350+1G→T) one nonsense mutation (p.W339X), and two missense mutations (p.R57C and p.G127E).

Conclusions: The severity of our patients’ genotypes is in agreement with their phenotypes but not with the importance and early appearance of the very frequent in utero manifestations. Minimal fetal disease in some patients and a reported case of heterogeneity of fetal involvement within a family suggest that factors other than the genotype influence fetal manifestations.

  • GA, gestational age
  • LSD, lysosomal storage disease
  • SASD, sialic acid storage disease
  • sialic acid storage disease
  • sialin
  • SLC17A5 gene
  • non-immune hydrops fetalis
  • fetal ascites

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  • Competing interest: none declared