Diastrophic dysplasia (DTD) is a recessive chondrodysplasia caused by pathogenic variants in the SLC26A2 gene encoding for a cell membrane sulfate/chloride antiporter crucial for sulfate uptake and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) sulfation. Research on a DTD animal model has suggested possible pharmacological treatment approaches. In view of future clinical trials, the identification of non-invasive biomarkers is crucial to assess the efficacy of treatments. Urinary GAG composition has been analyzed in several metabolic disorders including mucopolysaccharidoses. Moreover, the N-terminal fragment of collagen X, known as collagen X marker (CXM), is considered a real-time marker of endochondral ossification and growth velocity and was studied in individuals with achondroplasia and osteogenesis imperfecta. In this work, urinary GAG sulfation and blood CXM levels were investigated as potential biomarkers for individuals affected by DTD. Chondroitin sulfate disaccharide analysis was performed on GAGs isolated from urine by HPLC after GAG digestion with chondroitinase ABC and ACII, while CXM was assessed in dried blood spots. Results from DTD patients were compared with an age-matched control population. Undersulfation of urinary GAGs was observed in DTD patients with some relationship to the clinical severity and underlying SLC26A2 variants. Lower than normal CXM levels were observed in most patients, even if the marker did not show a clear pattern in our small patient cohort because CXM values are highly dependent on age, gender and growth velocity. In summary, both non-invasive biomarkers are promising assays targeting various aspects of the disorder including overall metabolism of sulfated GAGs and endochondral ossification.
Biomarker; Collagen X; Diastrophic dysplasia; Glycosaminoglycan; Sulfation; Urine