Genetic characterization of the albanian gaucher disease patient population

Paskal Cullufi, Mirela Tabaku, Virtut Velmishi, Agim Gjikopulli, Sonila Tomori, Ermira Dervishi, Aferdita Tako, Anika Leubauer, Ana Westenberger, Claudia Cozma, Christian Beetz*, Peter Bauer, Stefan Wirth, Arndt Rolfs

*Corresponding author for this work


Gaucher disease (GD) is a recessive metabolic disorder caused by a deficiency of the GBA gene-encoded enzyme β-glucocerebrosidase. We characterized a cohort of 36 Albanian GD patients, 31 with GD type 1 and 5 affected by GD types 2, 3, and an intermediate GD phenotype between type 2 and type 3. Of the 12 different GBA alleles that we detected, the most frequently observed was p.Asn409Ser, followed by p.[Asp448His;His294Gln]. The prevalence of the p.Leu483Pro allele was approximately 10-fold lower than reported in other populations. We identified a novel pathogenic missense variant (c.1129G>A; p.Ala377Thr). All five of our non-type 1 patients had genotypes consisting of the p.[Asp448His;His294Gln] allele in combination with another severe GBA allele. The median Lyso-Gb1 level of treated patients carrying the p.[Asp448His;His294Gln] and no p.Asn409Ser allele was significantly higher than that of treated individuals homozygous or compound heterozygous for the p.Asn409Ser allele. In conclusion, the most important distinguishing features of the Albanian GD patient population are the underrepresentation of the p.Leu483Pro allele and an unusually high number of p.[Asp448His;His294-Gln] alleles originating from a common Balkan founder event. The presence of at least one p.Asn409Ser allele is associated with mild disease and low Lyso-Gb1 biomarker levels, while compound heterozygosity involving p.[Asp448His;His294Gln] and no p.Asn409Ser entails severe phenotypes and high Lyso-Gb1 levels.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJIMD Reports
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)52-57
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 05.01.2021


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