Gaucher disease is an inherited disorder that affects many of the body's organs and tissues. The signs and symptoms of this condition vary widely among affected individuals. Researchers have described several types of Gaucher disease based on their characteristic features.
Variants (also known as mutations) in the GBA gene cause Gaucher disease. The GBA gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called beta-glucocerebrosidase. This enzyme breaks down a fatty substance called glucocerebroside into a sugar (glucose) and a simpler fat molecule (ceramide). Variants in the GBA gene greatly reduce or eliminate the activity of beta-glucocerebrosidase. Without enough of this enzyme, glucocerebroside and related substances can build up to toxic levels within cells. Tissues and organs are damaged by the abnormal accumulation and storage of these substances, causing the characteristic features of Gaucher disease.
Gaucher disease occurs in 1 in 50,000 to 100,000 people in the general population. Type 1 is the most common form of the disorder in Europe, Israel, Canada, and the United States. This form occurs more frequently in people of Ashkenazi (eastern and central European) Jewish heritage than in those with other backgrounds; it affects 1 in 500 to 1,000 people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. Types 2 and 3 are uncommon and do not occur more frequently in people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. These types can be more prevalent than type 1 in certain regions, such as Egypt, India, Japan, Poland, and Sweden.
This condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of the gene in each cell have variants. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the altered gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
Published Date: November 01, 2022Published By: National Institutes of Health