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:

  • Hunter syndrome
  • Hurler syndrome
  • Sanfilippo syndrome
  • Scheie syndrome
  • Morquio syndrome

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
  • Intellectual disability
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