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Am J Med Genet. 1987 Mar;26(3):689-98.

Cholesteryl ester storage disease: pathologic changes in an affected fetus.


The prenatal diagnosis of cholesteryl ester storage disease, a rare autosomal recessive disorder, was made by demonstration of deficient lysosomal acid lipase activity in cultured amniocytes from an at-risk fetus. The histochemical and ultrastructural changes in the affected fetus (at 17 gestational weeks) are described and compared to findings in liver and duodenal biopsy specimens from a 9-year-old homozygous female. Massive lysosomal cholesterol and lipid accumulation was demonstrated in fetal hepatocytes, adrenal cells and syncytiotrophoblasts. Of particular note was the observation of extensive necrosis in the fetal adrenal glands. Necrosis of the adrenals may precede the calcification observed in some patients with cholesteryl ester storage disease and in most patients with Wolman disease, an allelic variant due to lysosomal acid lipase deficiency. Fibrosis of the liver and lipid accumulation in macrophages in liver and duodenum, which were present in the 9-year-old homozygote, were not observed in the affected fetus, and therefore, may represent later manifestations of the disease.

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