Cardiomyocyte Globotriaosylceramide Accumulation in Adult Male Patients with Fabry Disease and IVS4 + 919G>A GLA Mutation is Progressive with Age and Correlates with Left Ventricular Hypertrophy and Reduced Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction

medRxiv [Preprint]. 2023 Dec 11:2023.12.09.23298489. doi: 10.1101/2023.12.09.23298489.


Background: While cardiovascular complications are the most common cause of mortality in Fabry disease, the relationship between globotriaosylceramide (GL-3) accumulation, the hallmark of Fabry cardiomyopathy, and cardiac hypertrophy has not been fully elucidated.

Methods: We developed unbiased stereology protocols to quantify the ultrastrcture of Fabry cardiomyopathy. Endomyocardial biopsies from 10 adult male enzyme replacement therapy naïve Fabry patients with IVS4 + 919G>A GLA mutation were studied. The findings were correlated with cardiac MRI and clinical data.

Results: Ultrastructural parameters showed significant relationships with key imaging and clinical and functional variables. Average cardiomyocyte volume and GL-3 volume per cardiomyocyte were progressively increased with age. Eighty-four percent of left ventricular mass index (LVMI) variability was explained by cardiomyocyte nuclear volume, age and plasma globotriaosylsphingosine with cardiomyocyte nuclear volume being the only independent predictor of LVMI. Septal thickness was directly and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was inversely correlated with cardiomyocyte GL-3 accumulation. Sixty-five percent of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) variability was explained by cardiomyocyte GL3 volume, serum α-galactosidase-A activity and age with cardiomyocyte GL3 volume being the only independent predictor of LVEF. Residual α-galactosidase-A activity was directly correlated with myocardial microvasculature density.

Conclusions: The unbiased stereological methods introduced in this study unraveled novel relationships between cardiomyocyte structure and important imaging and clinical parameters. These novel tools can help better understand Fabry cardiomyopathy pathophysiology.

Keywords: Fabry; cardiomyopathy; globotriaosylceramide; stereology.

Publication types

  • Preprint