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What are mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS)?

Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are a group of inherited metabolic diseases caused by the absence or malfunctioning of certain enzymes needed to break down molecules called glycosaminoglycans - long chains of sugar carbohydrates in each of our cells that help build bone, cartilage, tendons, corneas, skin, and connective tissue. Glycosaminoglycans (formerly called mucopolysaccharides) are also found in the fluid that lubricates our joints.

People with a MPS either do not produce enough of one of the 11 enzymes required to break down these sugar chains into proteins and simpler molecules, or they produce enzymes that do not work properly. Over time, these glycosaminoglycans collect in the cells, blood, and connective tissues. The result is permanent, progressive cellular damage that affects the individual's appearance, physical abilities, organ and system functioning, and, in most cases, mental development.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.