Psychiatric and neurological symptoms in patients with Niemann-Pick disease type C (NP-C): Findings from the International NPC Registry

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2019 Apr;20(4):310-319. doi: 10.1080/15622975.2017.1379610. Epub 2017 Oct 9.


Objectives: Niemann-Pick disease type C (NP-C) is a rare inherited neurovisceral disease that should be recognised by psychiatrists as a possible underlying cause of psychiatric abnormalities. This study describes NP-C patients who had psychiatric manifestations at enrolment in the international NPC Registry, a unique multicentre, prospective, observational disease registry. Methods: Treating physicians' data entries describing psychiatric manifestations in NPC patients were coded and grouped by expert psychiatrists. Results: Out of 386 NP-C patients included in the registry as of October 2015, psychiatric abnormalities were reported to be present in 34% (94/280) of those with available data. Forty-four patients were confirmed to have identifiable psychiatric manifestations, with text describing these psychiatric manifestations. In these 44 patients, the median (range) age at onset of psychiatric manifestations was 17.9 years (2.5-67.9; n = 15), while the median (range) age at NP-C diagnosis was 23.7 years (0.2-69.8; n = 34). Almost all patients (43/44; 98%) had an occurrence of ≥1 neurological manifestation at enrolment. Conclusions: These data show that substantial delays in diagnosis of NP-C are long among patients with psychiatric symptoms and, moreover, patients presenting with psychiatric features and at least one of cognitive impairment, neurological manifestations, and/or visceral symptoms should be screened for NP-C.

Keywords: Niemann-Pick disease type C; Psychosis; genetics; registry; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Niemann-Pick Disease, Type C / complications
  • Niemann-Pick Disease, Type C / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries*
  • Young Adult