Abnormal cholesterol biosynthesis in the Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome

J Lipid Res. 1996 Jun;37(6):1169-80.


The Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome is caused by an inherited defect in 7-dehydrocholesterol-delta7-reductase, the enzyme that catalyzes the last reaction in cholesterol biosynthesis, the conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to cholesterol. As a result, deficient cholesterol is produced and the precursor 7-dehydrocholesterol and derivatives (8-dehydrocholesterol and 19-nor-5,7,9(10)-cholestatrien-3 beta-ol) accumulate. Tissues (especially brain) deprived of cholesterol, or because of the deposited sterol precursors and derivatives, develop abnormally and function poorly. Replacement with dietary cholesterol may help correct the biochemical defects and improve symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Dehydrocholesterols / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Oxidoreductases / deficiency
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics*
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors*
  • Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome / genetics
  • Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome / metabolism*


  • Dehydrocholesterols
  • Cholesterol
  • 7-dehydrocholesterol
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors
  • 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase