Screening methods for the diagnosis of lysosomal storage disease

T. Mutoh, M. Kuriyama

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Lysosomal storage disease is one of the inborn errors of metabolism caused by a deficiency of lysosomal acid hydrolase activity. We describe here the details of screening methods for the diagnosis of this disorder. It is definitely important to perform both enzyme assay of acid hydrolases and the detection of accumulated materials in patient's tissues. Leukocytes (lymphocytes), serum or plasma, and cultured skin fibroblasts are commonly used as the enzyme source for the assay. Although most lysosomal storage diseases can be diagnosed using leukocytes as the enzyme source, enzymatic activities of beta-glucosidase and sialidase in leukocytes are sometimes normal even in patients. At present, the most reliable enzyme source is considered to be cultured skin fibroblasts. Nevertheless, we should remind that we cannot detect a deficiency of galactocerebroside beta-galactosidase activity even using fibroblasts, if we use synthetic substrate. Natural substrates should be employed for the correct diagnosis and for the study of the nature of patient's enzyme. Deficiency of the enzymatic activity in patients should be confirmed by the demonstration of accumulated materials due to the enzyme defect in patient's tissues and urine. The accumulation of mucopolysaccharides and oligosaccharides in urine is obvious in patients with mucopolysaccharidoses and mucolipidoses, respectively. In case of sphingolipidoses, rectal biopsy specimen and blood could be a target of the investigation. In final, the choice of these screening methods should be made solely based on the detailed clinical manifestation of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2933-2937
Number of pages5
JournalNippon rinsho. Japanese journal of clinical medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 12-1995
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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