Lysosomal storage disease is a group of disorders that affect specific enzymes. These enzymes normally break down items for reuse in the cells. If the enzymes are missing or don't work properly the items can build up and become toxic. This occurs in an area of the cell called lysosomes. The build up eventually leads to damage of cells and organs in the body.
There are over 40 different types of lysosomal diseases. The diseases are characterized by the specific enzymes involved:
Lysosomal storage disease is caused by a genetic problem. The genes that plan the production of the enzymes is faulty. Both parent must pass the gene on to the child in order for the disease to develop.
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Lysosomal storage disease is more common in families with Ashkenazi Jewish, Finnish, or Dutch heritage. A family history increases the chance of the disease as well.
Symptoms can be severe and appear shortly after birth or mild and detected later in life. Symptoms will depend on the specific type of disease. Some common symptoms include:
These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. If your child has any of these symptoms, talk to the doctor right away.
The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Skin and blood testing may be done to look for the specific enzyme that is causing the problem.
Other tests may include:
Prenatal testing and newborn screening may help with early detection.
Treatment is focused on managing the symptoms caused by the missing enzymes. Specific treatment depends on the enzyme defect that your child has but options may include:
Other treatments may include:
Lysosomal Disease Network
National MPS Society
Canadian Society for Mucopolysaccharide & Related Diseases
Lysosomal Storage Disease. American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy website. Available at: http://www.asgct.o... . Accessed June 24, 2013.
Lysosomal Storage Disease. Children's Hospitals amd Clinics of Minnesota website. Available at: http://www.childre... . Accessed June 24, 2013.
Lipid Storage Disease. National Institute of Neurological Disorders an Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.n... . Accessed June 24, 2013.
Lysosomal Storage Disease. National Organization of Rare Diseases website. Available at: https://www.raredi... . Accessed June 24, 2013.
Marsden D, Levy H. Newborn screening of lysosomal storage disorders. Clin Chem. 2010;56(7):1079.
Wynn RF, Wraith JE, Mercer J, et al. Improved metabolic correction in patients with lysosomal storage disease treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplant compared with enzyme replacement therapy. J Pediatr. 2009;154(4):609.
Last reviewed June 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 6/3/2013