Twenty-four-month α-galactosidase A replacement therapy in Fabry disease has only minimal effects on symptoms and cardiovascular parameters

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Fabry disease is an X-linked lysosomal storage disease caused by deficiency of α-galactosidase A enzyme activity. Decreased enzyme activity leads to accumulation of glycosphingolipids in different tissues including endothelial cells and smooth-muscle cells and cardiomyocytes, and cardiovascular complications are common in the disease. Since 2001, specific enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with α-galactosidase A has been available. It has been reported to improve clinical symptoms and quality of life. However, limited and controversial data on its efficacy to cardiac involvement have been published. Nine patients (5 male) with Fabry disease were included in an open-label prospective follow-up study of 24-month ERT. Comprehensive cardiovascular evaluation was performed by MRI, stress echocardiography and quality of life assessment. Plasma globotriaosylceramide decreased from 6.2 to 1.4 μg/ml during ERT (p<0.05). The only other measured parameters that changed significantly were resting heart rate that decreased from 79 to 67 bpm (p<0.01) and end-systolic volume that decreased by 12.4 ml (p<0.05). The other parameters consisting of quality of life, self-estimated cardiovascular condition, diastolic function, exercise capacity, ECG parameters, ejection fraction and ventricular mass did not change. ERT has only minimal effect on symptoms and cardiovascular morphology and function in Fabry disease. Therefore, effective conventional medical therapy is still of major importance in Fabry disease. Larger ERT studies are warranted, especially in women, to solve current open questions, such as the age at which ERT should be started, optimal dosage and intervals between infusions. Furthermore, longer follow-up studies are needed to assess the effects of ERT on prognosis.

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