Two mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS-I) patients, subjected to bone marrow transplantation (BMT) more than 10 years ago, have recently had their α-L-iduronidase genotypes defined. Both patients, homozygous for the relatively common W402X mutation, received BMT when they were 14 and 11 months of age, and are now 12 and 14 years old, respectively. Untreated MPS-I patients, homozygous for W402X, have an extremely severe clinical phenotype with rapid clinical deterioration and death before 6 years of age. The 12-year-old patient, with limited mobility, is coping well at school, while the other patient is wheelchair-bound with severe disability in his lower limbs, and attends a school for the physically handicapped. Both patients have less than normal intelligence with slowly continuing losses. A third MPS-I patients, diagnosed at the age of 6 months, was felt, prior to BMT at 14 months, to have a severe phenotype. Twelve years post-BMT, he is ambulatory, albeit with restricted movement, and has normal intelligence. This patient did not have a defined MPS-I genotype and had α-L-iduronidase protein and activity consistent with a less severe outcome than the first two patients. We conclude that BMT has significantly slowed down the clinical regression of the W402X phenotype. We propose that if further gains are to be made, BMT should be performed within the first few months of life. Early diagnosis is therefore essential.
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