MPS I (mucopolysaccharidosis type 1) definition and facts
- MPS I (Hurler syndrome or
mucopolysaccharidosis type 1) is a metabolic disorder caused by mutated genes on
chromosome 4 that result in deficient lysosomal enzymes. The syndrome usually is
diagnosed in young infants (3-6 months of age).
- There are many signs and symptoms of
MPS I. The early signs usually are coarsening of facial features with enlarged
mouth, thick lips, and
eye problems that progressively
- Additional signs and symptoms that may develop include:
- The cause of MPS I is inherited genetic
mutations on chromosome 4 that leads to deficiency in the lysosomal enzyme
- MPS I is inherited by an autosomal
recessive gene that they receive from each parent.
- MPS I is diagnosed by early clinical
features of the individual (for example, coarsening of facial features), combined
with blood tests and other tests such as spinal X-rays, echocardiography,
and other tests as symptoms develop.
- There is no cure for MPS I, and it is difficult to manage (treat). A team approach
often is used that includes medical therapy with laronidase
(Aldurazyme) and possibly surgery to help reduce some of the symptoms of this
- Life expectancy for a person with MSP I varies according to the
severity of the mutations. People with the mildest form (MPS IS) may have
a reasonably normal lifespan, those with moderate form (MPS IH/S) may live to
teenage or early adulthood, but the most severe form, MPS IH or Hurler syndrome,
may allow a lifespan that is rarely longer than 10 years,
- The national MPS Society offers
additional support and information about this relatively rare disease.
What is MPS I (mucopolysaccharidosis type 1)?
MSP I (mucopolysaccharidosis type 1) is the most common type of metabolic
disorder caused by deficiencies in lysosomal enzymes. Lysosomal enzymes are
contained within the lysosomes of cells, organelles that serve to break down
many different kinds of substances.
MSP I is caused by mutations in the gene
that encodes alpha-L-iduronidase on chromosome 4 that results in deficient
lysosomal enzymes that are needed to degrade glycosaminoglycan, a major
constituent of connective tissue.
There are many different mutations in this
gene. The various mutations cause MPS IH (Hurler syndrome), MPS IS (Scheie
syndrome) and MPS IH/S (Hurler/Scheie syndrome), and others.
This article will
describe in general MPS I as a single syndrome since MPS IS, MPS IH/S and MPS IH
are considered clinical manifestations that range from least severe (MPS IS) to
most severe (MPS IH).
What are the signs and symptoms of MPS I?
As stated previously, the signs and symptoms of MPS may show a spectrum of
severity. Some of the signs and symptoms of MPS I are:
- Coarsening of facial features (usually the first abnormality detected at
3-6 months of age)
- Enlarged mouth with thick lips
- Enlarged head
- Chronic nasal discharge
- Progressive corneal clouding
- Retinal degeneration
- Inguinal and umbilical hernias
- Enlarged organs in the abdomen
- Skeletal dysplasia can result in short
- Joint stiffness
- Cardiac valve disease, especially of
the aortic valve
Frequent respiratory infections
- Developmental delays with maximum
functional age level reaching about 2-4 years
The severest symptoms occur in MPS IH (Hurler syndrome).
What causes MPS I?
The cause of MPS I are genetic mutations on chromosome 4 that lead to a
deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme a-L-iduronidase and in turn, leads to
mucopolysaccharides accumulating in tissues and organs that interfere with their
activity and development.
How is MPS I inherited?
MPS I is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Consequently, nearly all
individuals with MPS I receive a recessive gene from each parent. If both of the
parents possess the recessive gene, the chances are about 1in 4 that a child
will receive an autosomal recessive gene from each parent and develop MPS I.
Which specialties of health-care professionals treat MPS I?
Pediatricians are usually the first to notice MPS I. Specialists that may be
consulted include geneticists,
emergency medicine specialists, pulmonologists,
neurologists, cardiologists, orthopedists, ophthalmologists, rheumatologists,
audiologists, surgeons, child psychologists and genetic counselors.
How is MPS I diagnosed?
Clinically, pediatricians may suspect a diagnosis of MPS I if coarsening of
facial features are seen at ages of 3-6 months.
Laboratory tests can include the following:
- Examination of lymphocytes in blood
smears to look for abnormal cytoplasmic inclusions
- Urinary glycosaminoglycan (gag)
- Measurement of a-l-iduronidase in
peripheral blood white cells
- DNA analysis to determine the exact
mutation that is present
Other tests may include
X-rays of the spine, echocardiography and tests for
hearing, vision and developmental milestones. Prenatal diagnosis also
may be ordered.
Your Face: A Window Into Your Health
What Is a Genetic Disease?
A genetic disease is any disease that is caused by an abnormality in an individual's genome, the person's entire genetic makeup. The
genetic or inherited abnormality can range from a minor, discrete mutation in a single base in the DNA of a single gene to a gross chromosome abnormality involving the addition or subtraction of an entire chromosome or set of chromosomes.
There are a number of types of genetic inheritance. Four examples of inherited
diseases or syndromes include:
- Single gene inheritance
- Multifactorial inheritance
- Chromosome abnormalities
- Mitochondrial inheritance
How is MPS I treated and managed?
MPS I is treated by a team of doctors (see specialists listed previously) to
reduce symptoms, and may include:
- Enzyme replacement therapy with Laronidase can
walking and pulmonary function in people with MSP I.
surgical care can reduce
hydrocephalus, and corneal transplantation may help
- Valve replacement for
cardiovascular disease has
been accomplished and
tracheostomy has been performed to improve breathing in
Spinal fusion can help prevent further progression of curvature in
the cervical spine, and carpal tunnel release has helped some patients.
What is the life expectancy for a person with MPS I?
The life expectancy is highly variable with MPS I. The life expectancy is
related to the severity of the disease. For example, individuals with the
mildest form of MPS I (MPS IS) may have a reasonably normal lifespan, while
those with intermediate (MPS IH/S) usually live to teen age or early adulthood.
Those with severe MPS I (MPS IH or Hurler syndrome) rarely live longer than 10
Where can I find help for MPS I?
The national MPS society offers additional information can help find support
groups for patients and their families (toll-free number is 877 MPS 1001).
Banikazemi, M., MD. "Genetics of mucopolysaccharidosis Type I." Medscape. Updated: Oct 13, 2014.