Aspartoacylase Deficiency (Canavan Disease, N-Acetylaspartic Aciduria)

  • Jörn Oliver SassEmail author
  • Ina Knerr


CD is a rare, autosomal recessive neurometabolic disorder with often devastating clinical consequences. It typically presents in early infancy. Clinical symptoms and MRI-based findings are chronic neurological deterioration with irritability and severe global developmental delay, loss of early milestones, macrocephaly, and seizures together with white matter abnormalities in the brain (“leukodystrophy”). CD is biochemically characterized by a deficiency of aspartoacylase along with the accumulation of NAA in the brain and in body fluids, particularly in urine. In the majority of CD patients, the disease leads to early death. As there is no cure for this condition, management of affected children and their families is symptom orientated and supportive and includes a multidisciplinary medical team.


Aminoacylase Neurometabolic disease Organic aciduria Enzyme activity assays Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural Sciences, Inborn Errors of MetabolismBonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied SciencesRheinbachGermany
  2. 2.National Centre for Inherited Metabolic DisordersTemple Street Children’s University HospitalDublinIreland

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