Early infantile Krabbe disease: results of the World-Wide Krabbe Registry

Pediatr Neurol. 2011 Sep;45(3):141-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2011.05.007.


New York State began screening for Krabbe disease in 2006 to identify infants with Krabbe disease before symptom onset. Because neither galactocerebrosidase activity nor most genotypes reliably predict phenotype, the World Wide Registry was developed to determine whether other clinical/neurodiagnostic data could predict early infantile Krabbe disease in the newborn screening population. Data on disease course, galactocerebrosidase activity, DNA mutations, and initial neurodiagnostic studies in 67 symptomatic children with early infantile Krabbe disease were obtained from parent questionnaires and medical records. Initial signs included crying/irritability, cortical fisting, and poor head control. Galactocerebrosidase activity was uniformly low. Eight of 17 manifested novel mutations. Ninety-two percent (n = 25) exhibited elevated cerebrospinal fluid protein; 76% (n = 42) demonstrated abnormal magnetic resonance images; 67% (n = 15) exhibited abnormal computed tomography findings; 43% (n = 28) produced abnormal electroencephalogram findings; 100% (n = 5) demonstrated abnormal nerve conduction velocities; 83% (n = 6) produced abnormal brainstem evoked responses; and 50% (n = 6) exhibited abnormal visual evoked responses. One, 2, and 3 year survivals were 60%, 26%, and 14%, respectively. Although most symptomatic patients with the early infantile phenotype manifested abnormal cerebrospinal fluid protein, magnetic resonance imaging, brainstem evoked responses, and nerve conduction velocities, studies of affected children may be normal. Other biomarkers are needed to predict phenotype in the newborn screening population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Alleles
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins / metabolism
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Female
  • Galactosylceramidase / metabolism
  • Growth / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Leukodystrophy, Globoid Cell / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Leukodystrophy, Globoid Cell / diagnosis
  • Leukodystrophy, Globoid Cell / epidemiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Parents
  • Registries*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survival Analysis


  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins
  • DNA
  • Galactosylceramidase