A case of combined Farber and Sandhoff disease
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We describe a patient with the biochemically established combination of Farber and Sandhoff disease. A 6-month-old girl of consanguineous Turkish parents presented with hoarseness, stridor, scattered skin nodules, painful swelling of hand joints and ankles, and cherry-red macular spots. Until the age of 2 years her motor and physical condition deteriorated distinctly, however her mental state remained unchanged. A biopsied skin nodule disclosed lysosomal inclusions within storage cells that were typical of Farber disease (curved tubular structures). However, other inclusions (e.g. zebra bodies) were also found. Biochemical findings included ceramide accumulation in skin nodules and cultured fibroblasts, impaired ceramide degradation on loading of cultured fibroblasts with radioactive sphingomyelin, profoundly decreased ceramidase activity in fibroblasts as well as total beta-hexosaminidase activity in fibroblasts and serum, absent hexosaminidase A and B bands on cellogel zymograms, increased urinary oligosaccharide excretion of the Sandhoff disease type, and a partial reduction of ceramidase and total beta-hexosaminidase activities in fibroblasts from her father. A diagnosis of combined Farber and Sandhoff disease was made. The effect of both enzyme deficiencies on the clinical manifestations in this patient and the genetic basis of this combination require further studies.
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