Vascular aspects of Fabry disease in relation to clinical manifestations and elevations in plasma globotriaosylsphingosine

Hypertension. 2012 Oct;60(4):998-1005. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.112.195685. Epub 2012 Aug 6.


Fabry disease is an X-linked hereditary lysosomal storage disorder attributed to a deficiency of α-galactosidase A leading to increased plasma levels of globotriaosylsphingosine (lysoGb3). The disease presents as a vascular disease, with cerebral, cardiac, and renal complications. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD), pulse wave velocity, and advanced glycation end products were measured in 57 classically affected patients (22 men and 35 women), 55 healthy matched controls (20 men and 35 women), and 10 atypical Fabry disease patients (5 men and 5 women). Most patients received enzyme replacement therapy. In classically affected male patients, brachial FMD was decreased (2.9% [95% CI, 0.8% to 7.9%] versus 5.9% [2.1% to 8.5%] in controls; P=0.01), and carotid IMT was increased (0.67 mm [95% CI, 0.50-0.96 mm] versus 0.59 mm [95% CI, 0.40-0.76 mm] in controls; P=0.01). In women and atypical patients these vascular parameters were comparable with controls. Pulse wave velocity was not different; advanced glycation end products were only slightly increased in atypical patients. In classically affected women, a small increase in lysoGb3 was associated with an increase in IMT independent of age. In the classically affected men, all with increased IMT and high levels of plasma lysoGb3, lysoGb3 levels did not add to a higher IMT, suggestive of a ceiling effect. For FMD, elevated lysoGb3 levels (>7 nmol/L) contributed to a 2.9% lower FMD independent of age and sex (P=0.02). Increased carotid IMT and decreased brachial FMD occur in classic Fabry disease, which is associated with plasma lysoGb3 level independent of age and sex. These observations still exist despite enzyme replacement therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Brachial Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness
  • Enzyme Replacement Therapy
  • Fabry Disease / blood
  • Fabry Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Fabry Disease / physiopathology*
  • Fabry Disease / therapy
  • Female
  • Glycolipids / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sphingolipids / blood*


  • Glycolipids
  • Sphingolipids
  • globotriaosyl lysosphingolipid