Asparagine synthetase deficiency, ASNSD
Type of disease: Rare Condition or Disease
Asparagine synthetase deficiency is a rare condition caused by mutations in a gene called ASNS. Most people with this condition have an unusually small head size (microcephaly) that worsens over time due to loss (atrophy) of brain tissue, neurological problems in affected individuals start soon after birth. They also have severe developmental delay that affects both mental and motor skills (psychomotor delay). Affected individuals cannot sit, crawl, or walk and are unable to communicate verbally or nonverbally. The few affected children who achieve developmental milestones often lose these skills over time (developmental regression). The muscle problems worsen through childhood and lead to muscle stiffness, uncontrolled movements, and ultimately, paralysis of the arms and legs (spastic quadriplegia). Many affected individuals also have recurrent seizures (epilepsy). The most common types involve a loss of consciousness, muscle rigidity, and convulsions (tonic-clonic); involuntary muscle twitches (myoclonic); or abnormal muscle contraction (tonic). People with asparagine synthetase deficiency may have an exaggerated startle reaction (hyperekplexia) to unexpected stimuli. Some affected individuals have blindness due to impairment of the area of the brain responsible for processing vision, called the occipital cortex (cortical blindness).
People with asparagine synthetase deficiency typically do not survive past childhood.