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J Inherit Metab Dis. 2010 Jun;33(3):291-300. doi: 10.1007/s10545-010-9070-1. Epub 2010 Mar 31.

High incidence of cholesterol gallstone disease in type 1 Gaucher disease: characterizing the biliary phenotype of type 1 Gaucher disease.

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Department of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06562, USA.



In Gaucher disease (GD), lysosomal glucocerebrosidase deficiency results in glucosylceramide accumulation in macrophage lysosomes. Hepatocytes do not accumulate glucosylceramide due in part to biliary secretion. Although gallstones (GS) occur in type 1 Gaucher disease (GD1), the chemical nature of stones, their association with metabolic parameters, and whether bile composition is altered are not understood. We assessed the prevalence of GS, their chemical composition, biliary lipids, and associated metabolic factors.


The study cohort comprised 417 patients comprehensively evaluated for GD1 severity. Ascertainment of GS, fasting lipoprotein profile, and bile lipid analyses were performed.


The prevalence of GS in GD1 was 32%. Compared with men, the prevalence of GS was higher in women, increasing from 4.2% and 11.8% at age 20-29 years to 71% and 60% at age >70 years, respectively. Patients with GS were more likely to be asplenic (p < 0.0001), older (p < 0.0001), have higher low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (p = 0.002), and more severe GD1 disease compared with those without GS. On multiple logistic regression analysis, factors associated with GS were age (p < 0.001), female sex (p = 0.03), and splenectomy (p = 0.005). Compared with the general population, prevalence of GS was approximately 5-fold higher. Bile lipid analyses revealed cholesterol stones in five patients and pigment stones in one. Bile lipid composition was abnormal and contained glucosylceramide.


Our results point to a metabolic syndrome in GD1 consisting of a propensity to cholesterol GS, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and body mass index (BMI) associated with abnormal biliary lipid secretion.

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