Pompe disease is a lysosomal and neuromuscular disorder caused by deficiency of acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA), and causes classic infantile, childhood onset, or adulthood onset phenotypes. The biochemical diagnosis is based on GAA activity assays in dried blood spots, leukocytes, or fibroblasts. Diagnosis can be complicated by the existence of pseudodeficiencies, i.e., GAA variants that lower GAA activity but do not cause Pompe disease. A large-scale comparison between these assays for patient samples, including exceptions and borderline cases, along with clinical diagnoses has not been reported so far. Here we analyzed GAA activity in a total of 1709 diagnostic cases over the past 28 years using a total of 2591 analyses and we confirmed the clinical diagnosis in 174 patients. We compared the following assays: leukocytes using glycogen or 4MUG as substrate, fibroblasts using 4MUG as substrate, and dried blood spots using 4MUG as substrate. In 794 individuals, two or more assays were performed. We found that phenotypes could only be distinguished using fibroblasts with 4MUG as substrate. Pseudodeficiencies caused by the GAA2 allele could be ruled out using 4MUG rather than glycogen as substrate in leukocytes or fibroblasts. The Asian pseudodeficiency could only be ruled out in fibroblasts using 4MUG as substrate. We conclude that fibroblasts using 4MUG as substrate provides the most reliable assay for biochemical diagnosis and can serve to validate results from leukocytes or dried blood spots.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding This work was supported by Departamento Administrativo de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (Colciencias), Colombia (Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation, Colciencias, Colombia), and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq, Brasil), Zeldzame Ziekten Fonds/WE Foundation, the Sophia Foundation for Medical Research (SSWO; project number s17-32), Metakids (project number 2016–063 and 2018–082), and Stofwisselkracht.
© 2020, The Author(s).