Early co-occurrence of a neurologic-psychiatric disease pattern in Niemann-Pick type C disease: a retrospective Swiss cohort study

Abela, Lucia; Plecko, Barbara; Palla, Antonella; Burda, Patricie; Nuoffer, Jean-Marc; Ballhausen, Diana; Rohrbach, Marianne (2014). Early co-occurrence of a neurologic-psychiatric disease pattern in Niemann-Pick type C disease: a retrospective Swiss cohort study. Orphanet journal of rare diseases, 9(1), p. 176. BioMed Central 10.1186/s13023-014-0176-7

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BackgroundNiemann-Pick disease type C (NP-C) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of lysosomal cholesterol transport. The objective of this retrospective cohort study was to critically analyze the onset and time course of symptoms, and the clinical diagnostic work-up in the Swiss NP-C cohort.MethodsClinical, biochemical and genetic data were assessed for 14 patients derived from 9 families diagnosed with NP-C between 1994 and 2013. We retrospectively evaluated diagnostic delays and period prevalence rates for neurological, psychiatric and visceral symptoms associated with NP-C disease. The NP-C suspicion index was calculated for the time of neurological disease onset and the time of diagnosis.ResultsThe shortest median diagnostic delay was noted for vertical supranuclear gaze palsy (2y). Ataxia, dysarthria, dysphagia, spasticity, cataplexy, seizures and cognitive decline displayed similar median diagnostic delays (4¿5y). The longest median diagnostic delay was associated with hepatosplenomegaly (15y). Highest period prevalence rates were noted for ataxia, dysarthria, vertical supranuclear gaze palsy and cognitive decline. The NP-C suspicion index revealed a median score of 81 points in nine patients at the time of neurological disease onset which is highly suspicious for NP-C disease. At the time of diagnosis, the score increased to 206 points.ConclusionA neurologic-psychiatric disease pattern represents the most characteristic clinical manifestation of NP-C and occurs early in the disease course. Visceral manifestation such as isolated hepatosplenomegaly often fails recognition and thus highlights the importance of a work-up for lysosomal storage disorders. The NP-C suspicion index emphasizes the importance of a multisystem evaluation, but seems to be weak in monosymptomatic and infantile NP-C patients.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Unit Childrens Hospital > Forschungsgruppe Endokrinologie / Diabetologie / Metabolik (Pädiatrie)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Institute of Clinical Chemistry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Nuoffer, Jean-Marc


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




BioMed Central




Anette van Dorland

Date Deposited:

19 Mar 2015 15:28

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:44

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