Cholestane-3β,5α,6β-triol: high levels in Niemann-Pick type C, cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis, and lysosomal acid lipase deficiency

J Lipid Res. 2015 Oct;56(10):1926-35. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M060343. Epub 2015 Aug 3.


Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by lysosomal/endosomal accumulation of unesterified cholesterol and glycolipids. Recent studies have shown that plasma cholestane-3β,5α,6β-triol (CT) and 7-ketocholesterol (7-KC) could be potential biomarkers for the diagnosis of NPC patients. We aimed to know the sensitivity and specificity of these biomarkers for the diagnosis of NPC compared with other diseases that can potentially lead to oxysterol alterations. We studied 107 controls and 122 patients including 16 with NPC, 3 with lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) deficiency, 8 with other lysosomal diseases, 5 with galactosemia, 11 with cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX), 3 with Smith-Lemli-Opitz, 14 with peroxisomal biogenesis disorders, 19 with unspecific hepatic diseases, 13 with familial hypercholesterolemia, and 30 with neurological involvement and no evidence of an inherited metabolic disease. CT and 7-KC were analyzed by HPLC-ESI-MS/MS as mono-dimethylglycine derivatives. Levels of 7-KC were high in most of the studied diseases, whereas those of CT were only high in NPC, LAL, and CTX patients. Consequently, although CT is a sensitive biomarker of NPC disease, including those cases with doubtful filipin staining, it is not specific. 7-KC is a very unspecific biomarker.

Keywords: 3α,7α,12α-trihydroxycoprostane; 7-ketocholesterol; high-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization/tandem mass spectrometry; oxysterols.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholestanols / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Ketocholesterols / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Niemann-Pick Disease, Type C / blood*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods
  • Wolman Disease / blood*
  • Wolman Disease / diagnosis
  • Xanthomatosis, Cerebrotendinous / blood*
  • Xanthomatosis, Cerebrotendinous / diagnosis


  • Biomarkers
  • Cholestanols
  • Ketocholesterols
  • cholestane-3,5,6-triol
  • 7-ketocholesterol