Gaucher disease with prenatal onset and perinatal death due to compound heterozygosity for the missense R131C and null Rec Nci I GBA mutations

Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2011 May-Jun;14(3):240-3. doi: 10.2350/09-11-0744-CR.1. Epub 2010 Oct 14.


Gaucher disease is an autosomal recessive disorder resulting from deficient activity of the lysosomal enzyme glucocerebrosidase (GBA, E.C. Three clinical forms of Gaucher disease have been described: type 1, nonneuronopathic; type 2, acute neuronopathic; and type 3, subacute neuronopathic (OMIM 230800, 230900, 231000). Over the past decade, recognition of a distinct, perinatal lethal form of Gaucher disease (PLGD) has led researchers and clinicians to evaluate Gaucher disease in the differential diagnosis of congenital ichthyosis and nonimmune hydrops fetalis. To date, more than 30 cases of PLGD have been genotyped and reported. It has been observed that homozygosity for recombinant GBA alleles, which are fundamentally null alleles, leads to early lethality, usually in utero or during the 1st few days of life, whereas genotypes involving a recombinant allele and a missense mutation may be less detrimental. Here, we report a case of Gaucher disease with prenatal onset and death within hours of birth, likely due to compound heterozygosity for the GBA Rec Nci I null allele and a R131C missense mutation. In view of the patient's severe clinical course, and based on reviews of other PLGD cases, we postulate that a missense mutation that abruptly disrupts the structure/function of GBA, in combination with a null allele, may result in early lethality in patients with PLGD. We also speculate that R131C is an extremely severe mutation that has occurred more than once in different populations and, in either the homozygous form or heterozygous with another severe mutation, will result in a poor prognosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Gaucher Disease / genetics*
  • Gaucher Disease / pathology
  • Glucosylceramidase / genetics*
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation, Missense*
  • Pedigree
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Glucosylceramidase