, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 569-578

Therapeutic approaches in glycogen storage disease type II/pompe disease


Glycogen storage disease type II (GSDII)/Pompe disease is an autosomal recessive multi-system disorder due to a deficiency of the glycogen-degrading lysosomal enzyme, acid alpha-glucosidase. Without adequate levels of alpha-glucosidase, there is a progressive accumulation of glycogen inside the lysosome, resulting in lysosomal expansion in many tissues, although the major clinical manifestations are seen in cardiac and skeletal muscle. Pompe disease presents as a continuum of clinical phenotypes. In the most severe cases, disease onset occurs in infancy and death results from cardiac and respiratory failure within the first 1 or 2 years of life. In the milder late-onset forms, cardiac muscle is spared and muscle weakness is the primary symptom. Weakness of respiratory muscles is the major cause of mortality in these cases. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with alglucosidase alfa (Myozyme; Genzyme Corp., Framingham, MA) is now available for all forms of glycogen storage disease type II. ERT has shown remarkable success in reversing pathology in cardiac muscle and extending life expectancy in infantile patients. However, skeletal muscle has proven to be a more challenging target for ERT. Although ERT is less effective in skeletal muscle than was hoped for, the lessons learned from both clinical and pre-clinical ERT studies have greatly expanded our understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease. A combination of fundamental studies and clinical follow-up, as well as exploration of other therapies, is necessary to take treatment for glycogen storage disease type II to the next level.