Christel Tran a , * , Licia Turolla b , Diana Ballhausen c , Sandrine Cornaz Buros d , Tony Teav e , Hector Gallart-Ayala e , Julijana Ivanisevic e , Mohamed Faouzi f , Dirk J. Lefeber g , Ivan Ivanovski h , i , Sara Giangiobbe h , Stefano Giuseppe Caraffi h , Livia Garavelli h , Andrea Superti-Furga a
26 June 2021
In NANS deficiency, biallelic mutations in the N-acetylneuraminic acid synthase ( NANS) gene impair the endogenous synthesis of sialic acid ( N-acetylneuraminic acid) leading to accumulation of the precursor, N-acetyl mannosamine (ManNAc), and to a multisystemic disorder with intellectual disability. The aim of this study was to determine whether sialic acid supplementation might be a therapeutic avenue for NANS-deficient patients.
Four adults and two children with NANS deficiency and four adult controls received oral NeuNAc acid (150 mg/kg/d) over three days. Total NeuNAc, free NeuNAc and ManNAc were analyzed in plasma and urine at different time points.
Upon NeuNAc administration, plasma free NeuNAc increased within hours ( P < 0.001) in control and in NANS-deficient individuals. Total and free NeuNAc concentrations also increased in the urine as soon as 6 h after beginning of oral administration in both groups. NeuNAc did not affect plasma and urinary ManNAc, that remained higher in NANS deficient subjects than in controls (day 1–3; all P < 0.01). Oral NeuNAc was well tolerated with no significant side effects.
Orally administered free NeuNAc was rapidly absorbed but also rapidly excreted in the urine. It did not change ManNAc levels in either patients or controls, indicating that it may not achieve enough feedback inhibition to reduce ManNAc accumulation in NANS-deficient subjects. Within the limitations of this study these results do not support a potential for oral free NeuNAc in the treatment of NANS deficiency but they provide a basis for further therapeutic approaches in this condition.
NANS deficiency is a recessively inherited disorder.
Patients present with cognitive delay, bone dysplasia and dysmorphic features.
Endogenous synthesis of sialic acid is blocked with accumulation of the precursor, N-acetyl mannosamine (ManNAc)
Sialic acid supplementation in NANS deficiency was ineffective in reducing ManNAc.
Nutritional therapy for NANS deficiency requires further exploration.