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No matter where you are in your journey, being well-informed can help you create a plan as you move forward. So, of course, learn as much as you can from your healthcare team, talk with other people who understand your condition from firsthand experience — and then keep learning!

This site is intended for a U.S. audience.

The contents of this site are not intended for the purpose of disease diagnosis or as a substitute for information that is provided to you by your physician. You should always discuss your medical condition and any questions you have with your doctor.

Hunter syndrome

Hunter syndrome, or mucopolysaccharidosis II (MPS II), is a rare genetic disorder that primarily affects males. It is one of several related lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs). A child may not show any signs of Hunter syndrome until after the first years of life. However, signs become increasingly visible as the child ages.

What causes Hunter syndrome?

In people with Hunter syndrome, an important enzyme called iduronate-2-sulfatase (I2S) is either partially missing or completely inactive. Without I2S, the body is unable to break down and recycle sugar-like molecules in the body called glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs. As a result, GAGs build up in cells throughout the body.

Hunter syndrome is genetic, meaning it is passed down through families. Though females aren’t typically affected by the disease, they can be carriers and pass a defective chromosome to a child. A spontaneous mutation can also occur during egg and sperm formation, so the condition isn’t always passed on from the mother.

Incidence

1
in every
162,000
live births

About Hunter syndrome

Although Hunter syndrome is a progressive disease, it’s important to know that symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Often, the first symptoms of Hunter syndrome may include inguinal or umbilical hernias, ear infections, runny noses and frequent upper respiratory infections. Since these are common symptoms for infants, doctors aren’t likely to always diagnose Hunter syndrome right away.

How is Hunter syndrome diagnosed?

The visible signs and symptoms of Hunter syndrome in younger people are usually the first clues leading to a diagnosis. In general, diagnosis usually occurs when patients are between 2 and 4 years of age.

Several tests may provide additional evidence that the disorder is present, but the only way to make a definitive diagnosis is to measure iduronate-2-sulfatase (I2S) enzyme activity. This test can even help determine clinical severity in some people. Prenatal diagnosis is possible by measuring I2S enzymatic activity in amniotic fluid or tissues.

Where can I find support?

If you, your child or another loved one has been diagnosed with Hunter syndrome, please know that you’re not alone. Talking with other people who understand what you’re going through from firsthand experience can be a wonderful way to learn and begin building your support network.

Shire provides funding to some of the below organizations in support of efforts that include, but are not limited to: research, education, meetings/events and support.

The National MPS Society

This organization provides hope and support for individuals and families affected by MPS and ML through research, advocacy and awareness. Browse MPS resources, apply for family support programs or get involved in fundraising.

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

A rare disease umbrella organization that provides advocacy, research, education and patient services in the US. See how they help and find out how you can get involved.

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Nina,
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