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J Inherit Metab Dis. 2007 Jun;30(3):375-87. Epub 2007 May 11.

Effects of cholesterol and simvastatin treatment in patients with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS).

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Department of General Pediatrics, Division of Inborn Metabolic Diseases, University Hospital for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Im Neuenheimer Feld 153, D-69120, Heidelberg, Germany.


Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS) is a malformation syndrome caused by deficiency of 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase catalysing the last step of cholesterol biosynthesis. This results in an accumulation of 7- and 8-dehydrocholesterol (7 + 8-DHC) and, in most patients, a deficiency of cholesterol. Current therapy consists of dietary cholesterol supplementation, which raises plasma cholesterol levels, but clinical effects have been reported in only a few patients. Hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors were shown to reduce 7 + 8-DHC levels and increase cholesterol concentrations in two small trials with divergent clinical outcome. This retrolective study evaluates the effects of cholesterol only and of cholesterol plus the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor simvastatin on plasma sterols in 39 SLOS patients and on anthropometric measures in 20 SLOS patients. Cholesterol as well as additional simvastatin decreased the plasma (7 + 8-DHC)/cholesterol ratio. However, the mechanism leading to the decreasing ratio was different. Whereas it was due to an increasing cholesterol concentration in the cholesterol-only cohort, a decreasing 7 + 8-DHC concentration was demonstrated in the cohort receiving additional simvastatin. We could not confirm a positive effect of simvastatin treatment on anthropometric measures or behaviour, as previously reported.

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