GD23 Facts

Epidemiology and natural history of Gaucher’s disease (2006) - Very informative description of Gaucher’s Disease

Testing for Gaucher’s (NGF):  An enzyme assay test measures glucocerebrosidase (GC) activity in leukocytes, fibroblasts, or urine. Individuals who are affected with Gaucher Disease will have very low levels of enzyme activity. There are four common mutations of the GC gene: N370S, L444P, 84gg and IVS2[+1]. DNA analysis for these four mutations detects 90% to 95% of the mutations associated with Gaucher Disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, and 50% to 75% of the associated mutations in the general population. Neither disease type nor severity of disease is defined by enzyme assay. DNA analysis is used in combination with the enzyme assay test to diagnose Gaucher Disease and is helpful in defining the subtype.

Prevalence (NGF):  Gaucher Disease is an inborn error of metabolism. Inborn metabolic disorders are those conditions resulting from a specific malfunction in one or more of the body’s many individual chemical processes. Although there are at least 34 mutations known to cause Gaucher Disease, there are 4 genetic mutations which account for 95% of the Gaucher Disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, and 50% of the Gaucher Disease in the general population. These can be identified through a blood test. (Hannah has one of those 5% that aren’t common mutations!)

Three types (NGF):  There are other forms of Gaucher Disease which, in addition to the liver, spleen, and bone complications characteristic of Type 1 Gaucher Disease, also result in acute neurological symptoms. Type 2 Gaucher Disease, called the acute neuropathic form, is characterized by brainstem abnormalities and is usually fatal during the first three years of life. Type 2 Gaucher Disease shows no ethnic predilection, and occurs rarely, with an incidence of 1 in 100,000 live births. Type 3 Gaucher Disease, the chronic neuropathic form, also shows no ethnic predilection, and is estimated to occur in 1 in 50,000 live births. The neurologic symptoms of Type 3 Gaucher Disease are slowly progressive and appear later in childhood than the symptoms of Type 2 Gaucher Disease. Neurologic symptoms of Type 3 Gaucher Disease include incoordination, mental deterioration, and myoclonic seizures. There is a subclassification of Type 3, called Norbottnian Gaucher Disease, named for the region in Sweden where it has been identified. The slowly progressive neurologic symptoms of Norbottnian Gaucher Disease may not occur until early adulthood.