The neurological complications of Anderson-Fabry disease (alpha-galactosidase A deficiency)--investigation of symptomatic and presymptomatic patients

Q J Med. 1990 May;75(277):491-507.


Anderson-Fabry disease is an X-linked inborn error of metabolism characterized by subnormal activity of the lysosomal hydrolase, alpha-galactosidase A. We have assessed the incidence and nature of neuropathy in 12 patients (seven affected men and five carrier females). Abnormalities of cutaneous thermal sensation were common, even in asymptomatic carriers, with a unique predilection for cold sensitivity which suggests involvement of small myelinated nerve fibres. Intracranial abnormalities were frequently detected by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in males, both with and without overt cerebrovascular disease, and were more extensive in older patients. Such abnormalities were not detected in carriers. Auditory and vestibular abnormalities were present in six patients, only one of whom was symptomatic. Cranial MRI and assessment of cutaneous thermal thresholds are sensitive techniques which can identify neurological involvement in asymptomatic patients. They may be of benefit in monitoring the effectiveness of enzyme replacement therapy and excluding the carrier state for the defective gene.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain Diseases / etiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Eye Movements
  • Fabry Disease* / complications*
  • Fabry Disease* / genetics
  • Fabry Disease* / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Galactosidases / deficiency*
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / enzymology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Conduction
  • Pedigree


  • Galactosidases