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Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 2005 Nov;73(11):687-93.

[Psychiatric and neuropsychological signs and symptoms in patients with fabry disease: literature review].

[Article in German]

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Psychiatrische Klinik und Poliklinik, Universität Mainz.


Fabry Disease (FD) is an X-linked lysosomal storage disorder (prevalence about 1 : 100 000) caused by a genetic defect associated with a lack of alpha-galactosidase A (alpha-GAL) enzyme activity. As a consequence, neutral glycosphingolipides can not be cleaved and metabolized, and accumulate in lysosomes of several tissues, particularly in vascular endothelium and smooth muscle cells. The most prominent symptoms comprise pain attacks and acroparesthesia, angiokeratoma, corneal opacity, renal and cardiac dysfunction, hypo- and anhidrosis, gastrointestinal symptoms, and cerebrovascular dysfunction with vertigo, headache, and cerebral ischemia. Characteristic symptoms of FD can occur in male and female patients with the same prevalence, while females with FD seem to be less severely affected. The course of untreated illness is progressive with considerable interindividual variability. Since 2001 two enzyme replacement therapies are approved which can possibly stop the disease progress and alleviate symptoms. The very few reports and clinical observations have shown that a very high proportion of FD patients develop neuropsychiatric symptoms. However, accurate data are lacking. Although the pathophysiologic mechanisms are quite unknown, it is surmised that sphingolipid deposits in the endothelium of small cerebral vessels lead to regional cerebral ischemia accompanied by neuropsychiatric symptoms and deficits. Furthermore, patients with FD are chronically distressed by pain attacks and additional somatic and psychological impairment. Frequently, pain attacks are triggered by psychosocial stress. The high interindividual variability can, thus, also be interpreted on the basis of existing stress and coping models. The present paper will review the presently available psychiatric and neuropsychological findings in FD and will discuss difficulties associated with classification and differential diagnosis of psychiatric disorders occurring in patients with FD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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