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Test ID: SUMFK    
Multiple Sulfatase Deficiency, Known Mutation

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Carrier testing of individuals with a family history of multiple sulfatase deficiency (MSD)


Diagnostic confirmation of MSD when familial mutations have been previously identified

Genetics Test Information Provides information that may help with selection of the correct test or proper submission of the test request

Documentation of the specific familial mutation(s) must be provided with the specimen in order to perform this test.

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Multiple sulfatase deficiency (MSD) is a rare autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disorder (LSD) caused by mutations in the sulfatase-modifying factor 1 (SUMF1) gene. SUMF1 encodes for a formylglycine-generating enzyme (FGE) that performs a critical posttranslational modification of the catalytic residue necessary for activation of all human sulfatases.


MSD is often confused for a single sulfatase deficiency because it is characterized by deficiency of all known sulfatases, which results in tissue accumulation of sulfatides, sulfated glycoaminoglycans, sphingolipids, and steroid sulfates. Indeed, the clinical phenotype encompasses symptoms of every single sulfatase deficiency, including metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD), the mucopolysaccharidoses, X-linked ichthyosis, and chondrodysplasia punctata type I. Age of onset and clinical severity are variable and correspond with the level of residual FGE enzyme activity. A severe neonatal form of MSD closely overlaps the clinical presentation of the mucopolysaccaridoses but it is often fatal within 1 year. Late-infantile MSD (onset 0-2 years) accounts for most cases and is characterized by a clinical presentation similar to MLD. Patients show progressive cognitive and motor impairment as well as skeletal changes. More rarely, MSD presents in late childhood (juvenile-onset) with more mild symptoms and slower progression. Patients with late-infantile or juvenile-onset MSD may have less severe sulfatase deficiency.


Patients with a clinical suspicion of MLD, a mucopolysaccharidosis, X-linked ichthyosis, or chondrodysplasia should be investigated for possible FGE deficiency. Urine sulfatide analysis is the recommended first tier biochemical test (CTSA / Ceramide Trihexoside/Sulfatide Accumulation in Urine Sediment, Urine). If positive, iduronate sulfatase and arylsulfatase A and B enzyme levels should be assayed and are typically decreased in patients with MSD.


While enzyme replacement therapy has been used to treat a subset of single LSD, its effectiveness is not well established for patients with MSD. Therefore, confirmation or exclusion of a diagnosis of MSD has important implications for patient management as well as prognosis.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

An interpretive report will be provided.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

An interpretive report will be provided.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

The identification of a disease-causing mutation in an affected family member is necessary before predictive testing for other family members can be offered. If a familial mutation has not been previously identified, order SUMFS / Multiple Sulfatase Deficiency, Full Gene Analysis.


Analysis is performed only for the provided familial mutations. This assay does not rule out the presence of other mutations within this gene or within other genes that may be associated with metabolic disease.


Test results should be interpreted in the context of clinical findings, family history, and other laboratory data. Errors in our interpretation of results may occur if information given is inaccurate or incomplete.


A previous bone marrow transplant from an allogenic donor will interfere with testing. Call Mayo Medical Laboratories at 800-533-1710 for instructions for testing patients who have received a bone marrow transplant.

Clinical Reference Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Dierks T, Schlotawa L, Frese MA, et al: Molecular basis of multiple sulfatase deficiency, mucolipidosis II/III and Niemann-Pick C1 disease-Lysosomal storage disorders caused by defects of non-lysosomal proteins. Biochim Biophys Acta 2009 Apr;1793(4):710-725

2. Schlotawa L, Ennemann EC, Radhakrishnan K, et al: SUMF1 mutations affecting stability and activity of formylglycine generating enzyme predict clinical outcome in multiple sulfatase deficiency. Eur J Hum Genet 2011 Mar;19(3):253-261

Special Instructions and Forms Describes specimen collection and preparation information, test algorithms, and other information pertinent to test. Also includes pertinent information and consent forms to be used when requesting a particular test