Effectiveness of plasma lyso-Gb3 as a biomarker for selecting high-risk patients with Fabry disease from multispecialty clinics for genetic analysis

Genet Med. 2019 Jan;21(1):44-52. doi: 10.1038/gim.2018.31. Epub 2018 Mar 15.


Purpose: Plasma globotriaosylsphingosine (lyso-Gb3) is a promising secondary screening biomarker for Fabry disease. Here, we examined its applicability as a primary screening biomarker for classic and late-onset Fabry disease in males and females.

Methods: Between 1 July 2014 and 31 December 2015, we screened 2,359 patients (1,324 males) referred from 168 Japanese specialty clinics (cardiology, nephrology, neurology, and pediatrics), based on clinical symptoms suggestive of Fabry disease. We used the plasma lyso-Gb3 concentration, α-galactosidase A (α-Gal A) activity, and analysis of the α-Gal A gene (GLA) for primary and secondary screens, respectively.

Results: Of 8 males with elevated lyso-Gb3 levels (≥2.0 ng ml-1) and low α-Gal A activity (≤4.0 nmol h-1 ml-1), 7 presented a GLA mutation (2 classic and 5 late-onset). Of 14 females with elevated lyso-Gb3, 7 displayed low α-Gal A activity (5 with GLA mutations; 4 classic and 1 late-onset) and 7 exhibited normal α-Gal A activity (1 with a classic GLA mutation and 3 with genetic variants of uncertain significance).

Conclusion: Plasma lyso-Gb3 is a potential primary screening biomarker for classic and late-onset Fabry disease probands.

Keywords: Fabry disease; gene analysis; genetic variants of uncertain significance; lyso-Gb3; screening.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Fabry Disease / blood*
  • Fabry Disease / genetics
  • Fabry Disease / pathology
  • Female
  • Galactosidases / blood
  • Galactosidases / genetics
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Glycolipids / blood*
  • Glycolipids / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Patient Selection
  • Risk Factors
  • Sphingolipids / blood*
  • Sphingolipids / genetics


  • Biomarkers
  • Glycolipids
  • Sphingolipids
  • globotriaosyl lysosphingolipid
  • Galactosidases