Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX): a treatable lipid storage disease

Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 2009 Sep;7(1):6-11.


Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX) is a rare autosomal recessive lipid storage disease with multi-organ involvement. The clinical manifestations usually start at infancy and develop during the first and second decades of life; infantile-onset diarrhea may be the earliest clinical manifestation of CTX. Additional clinical manifestations are juvenile cataracts, tendon xanthomas, and multiple progressive neurological symptoms. Systemic manifestations that are often found include osteoporosis, heart involvement and premature arteriosclerosis. CTX is caused by mutations in the sterol 27 hydroxylase gene (CYP27) on chromosome 2q35-qter, which is responsible for conversion of cholesterol to cholic and chenodeoxycholic acid. Reduced synthesis of cholic and chenodeoxycholic acid results in failed feedback inhibition of cholesterol production, which in turn leads to increased serum cholestanol concentration and elevated urinary bile alcohols. Early treatment with chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) prevents the clinical symptoms and prevents deterioration. Although CTX is rare world wide, genetic islands of high frequency have been reported. In this review we would like to familiarize the reader with this fatal inborn error of metabolism that is possibly under-diagnosed and is preventable once recognized and treated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chenodeoxycholic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Cholestanetriol 26-Monooxygenase / deficiency
  • Cholestanetriol 26-Monooxygenase / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Xanthomatosis, Cerebrotendinous / diagnosis*
  • Xanthomatosis, Cerebrotendinous / drug therapy*
  • Xanthomatosis, Cerebrotendinous / enzymology
  • Xanthomatosis, Cerebrotendinous / genetics


  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Chenodeoxycholic Acid
  • Cholestanetriol 26-Monooxygenase