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Neurology. 2004 Apr 13;62(7):1066-72.

Enzyme replacement therapy improves function of C-, Adelta-, and Abeta-nerve fibers in Fabry neuropathy.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, New York University School of Medicine, NY 10016, USA.



Peripheral neuropathy in Fabry disease predominantly involves small nerve fibers. Recently, enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with recombinant human alpha-galactosidase A has become available.


To evaluate whether ERT improves Fabry neuropathy.


In 22 Fabry patients (age 27.9 +/- 8.0 years) undergoing ERT with recombinant human alpha-galactosidase A (agalsidase beta) for 18 (n = 11) or 23 (n = 11) months and in 25 control subjects (age 29.0 +/- 10.4 years), the authors performed quantitative sensory testing using the 4, 2, and 1 stepping algorithm (CASE IV). Detection thresholds of vibration (VDT) on the first toe were assessed; cold detection thresholds (CDT), heat-pain onset (HP 0.5), and intermediate heat-pain (HP 5.0) assessments were made on the dorsum of the feet. Patient values above mean + 2.5 SD of control values were considered abnormal.


Before ERT, VDT, CDT, HP 0.5, and HP 5.0 were higher in patients than control subjects (p < 0.05). Following ERT, patients developed lower thresholds than prior to ERT for VDT (15.5 +/- 3.5 vs 14.3 +/- 4.1; p < 0.05), HP 0.5 (22.3 +/- 6.7 vs 19.4 +/- 1.3; p < 0.01), and HP 5.0 (27.3 +/- 5.6 vs 22.5 +/- 2.3; p < 0.01). Moreover, fewer patients had abnormal results of VDT (2 vs 4), CDT (7 vs 12), HP 0.5 (0 vs 9), and HP 5.0 (4 vs 20) after than before ERT.


ERT therapy with agalsidase beta significantly improves function of C-, Adelta-, and Abeta-nerve fibers and intradermal vibration receptors in Fabry neuropathy. Lack of recovery in some patients with abnormal cold or heat-pain perception suggests the need for early ERT, prior to irreversible nerve fiber loss.

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