Glucosylsphingosine is a Highly Sensitive and Specific Biomarker in Gaucher Disease

PLoS ONE 8(11): e79732. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079732

Background: Gaucher disease (GD) is the most common lysosomal storage disorder (LSD). Based on a deficient bglucocerebrosidase it leads to an accumulation of glucosylceramide. Standard diagnostic procedures include measurement of enzyme activity, genetic testing as well as analysis of chitotriosidase and CCL18/PARC as biomarkers. Even though chitotriosidase is the most well-established biomarker in GD, it is not specific for GD. Furthermore, it may be false negative in a significant percentage of GD patients due to mutation. Additionally, chitotriosidase reflects the changes in the course of the disease belatedly. This further enhances the need for a reliable biomarker, especially for the monitoring of the disease and the impact of potential treatments.

Methodology: Here, we evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of the previously reported biomarker Glucosylsphingosine with regard to different control groups (healthy control vs. GD carriers vs. other LSDs).

Findings: Only GD patients displayed elevated levels of Glucosylsphingosine higher than 12 ng/ml whereas the comparison controls groups revealed concentrations below the pathological cut-off, verifying the specificity of Glucosylsphingosine as a biomarker for GD. In addition, we evaluated the biomarker before and during enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) in 19 patients, demonstrating a decrease in Glucosylsphingosine over time with the most pronounced reduction within the first 6 months of ERT. Furthermore, our data reveals a correlation between the medical consequence of specific mutations and Glucosylsphingosine.

Interpretation: In summary, Glucosylsphingosine is a very promising, reliable and specific biomarker for GD.


  • Prof. Arndt Rolfs , MD
  • Anne Katrin Giese , MD
  • Ulrike Grittner , PhD
  • Daniel Mascher , PhD
  • Deborah Elstein
  • Ari Zimran , MD
  • Tobias Böttcher , PhD
  • Jan Lukas , PhD
  • Rayk Hübner
  • Uta Gölnitz , MD
  • Anja Röhle
  • Ales Dudesek , MD
  • Wolfgang Meyer , MD
  • Matthias Wittstock , MD
  • Prof. Hermann Mascher

Related Articles