Plasma globotriaosylsphingosine: diagnostic value and relation to clinical manifestations of Fabry disease

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Sep;1802(9):741-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2010.05.003. Epub 2010 May 13.


Fabry disease is an X-linked lysosomal storage disorder due to deficiency of alpha-Galactosidase A, causing accumulation of globotriaosylceramide and elevated plasma globotriaosylsphingosine (lysoGb3). The diagnostic value and clinical relevance of plasma lysoGb3 concentration was investigated. All male and adult female patients with classical Fabry disease could be discerned by an elevated plasma lysoGb3. In young pre-symptomatic Fabry heterozygotes, lysoGb3 levels can be normal. Individuals carrying the R112H and P60L mutations, without classical Fabry symptoms, showed no elevated plasma lysoGb3. Multiple regression analysis showed that there is no correlation of plasma lysoGb3 concentration with total disease severity score in Fabry males. However, plasma lysoGb3 concentration did correlate with white matter lesions (odds ratio: 6.1 per 100 nM lysoGb3 increase (95% CI: 1.4-25.9, p=0.015). In females, plasma lysoGb3 concentration correlated with overall disease severity. Furthermore, plasma lysoGb3 level was related to left ventricular mass (19.5+/-5.5 g increase per 10 nM lysoGb3 increase; p=0.001). In addition, it was assessed whether lifetime exposure to lysoGb3 correlates with disease manifestations. Male Fabry patients with a high lysoGb3 exposure (>10,000 U), were moderately or severely affected, only one mildly. Female patients with a low exposure (<1000 U) were asymptomatic or mildly affected. A large proportion of the females with an exposure >1000 U showed disease complications. Plasma lysoGb3 is useful for the diagnosis of Fabry disease. LysoGb3 is an independent risk factor for development of cerebrovascular white matter lesions in male patients and left ventricular hypertrophy in females. Disease severity correlates with exposure to plasma lysoGb3.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Fabry Disease / blood*
  • Fabry Disease / classification
  • Fabry Disease / diagnosis*
  • Fabry Disease / genetics
  • Female
  • Glycolipids / analysis
  • Glycolipids / blood*
  • Glycolipids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / physiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sphingolipids / analysis
  • Sphingolipids / blood*
  • Sphingolipids / metabolism
  • Young Adult
  • alpha-Galactosidase / genetics
  • alpha-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Glycolipids
  • Sphingolipids
  • globotriaosyl lysosphingolipid
  • alpha-Galactosidase