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Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2012;2012:13-8. doi: 10.1182/asheducation-2012.1.13.

Gaucher disease and other storage disorders.

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Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039, USA.


In 1882, Philippe Gaucher described a 32-year-old woman with massive splenomegaly and unusually large cells in the spleen, which he called a "primary epithelioma of the spleen." The systemic nature and inheritance of the disease and its variants involving the viscera and CNS were described over the next century. The delineation of the causal enzymatic defects, genetics, molecular pathology, and genomics have provided pathogenic insights into the phenotypic spectrum and the bases for development of specific therapies for what is now known as Gaucher disease. As a prototype, the clinically and economically successful intracellular enzyme therapy provided the impetus for the expansion of similar research and therapeutic developments for other lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs) and orphan diseases, including Fabry, Pompe, and Niemann-Pick diseases, as well as several mucopolysaccharidoses. Continuing studies of such LSDs, which occur as a group in more than 7000 live births, have revealed the complex molecular interdigitation with the autophagy and apoptotic pathways and proteostasis and the impact of disruptions of the lysosomal/autophagy and proteostasis systems on more common diseases has been recognized. Examples include age-related neurodegenerative diseases (eg, Parkinson disease and Gaucher disease), idiopathic hypertrophic myocardiopathies, stroke and renal failure (eg, Fabry disease), and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease/Nonalcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NAFLD/NASH) and atherosclerosis (eg, lysosomal acid lipase deficiencies). Although perceived as rare, the availability of treatment and the impact of the LSDs on more common diseases require their integration into routine clinical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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