A 9-bp deletion (2320del9) was detected in the arylsulfatase A genes of a patient with late infantile metachromatic leukodystrophy and of a patient with nonprogressive neurological symptoms and very low arylsulfatase A activity. Both patients are heterozygous for the deletion, which involves codons 406-408 and causes loss of a Ser-Asp-Thr tract in the predicted protein. In both patients the 9-bp deletion lies in a pseudodeficiency allele. The patient with metachromatic leukodystrophy carries the common 459 + 1G > A mutation in the other allele. The other patient is homozygous for the pseudodeficiency allele, and consequently is a compound heterozygote for a metachromatic leukodystrophy allele and a pseudodeficiency allele. We hypothesize that the compound heterozygosity predisposes to the development of nonprogressive neurological symptoms in the presence of additional, still unknown, genetic or nongenetic factors.
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