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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 retardation

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.


Review Date: 5/16/2011
Reviewed By: Chad Haldeman-Englert, MD, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Section on Medical Genetics, Winston-Salem, NC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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