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Glucocerebrosidase deficiency; Glucosylceramidase deficiency
Gaucher disease is a rare genetic disorder in which a person lacks an enzyme called glucocerebrosidase.
Gaucher disease affects an estimated 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 100,000 people in the general population. Persons of Eastern and Central European (Ashkenazi) Jewish heritage are at highest risk for the disease.
It is an autosomal recessive disease. This means that the mother and father must both pass one abnormal copy of the gene to the child in order for the child to develop the disease. A parent who silently carries an abnormal copy of the gene is called a carrier.
The lack of the glucocerebrosidase enzyme causes harmful substances to build up in the liver, spleen, bones, and bone marrow. The substances prevent cells and organs from working properly.
There are three main subtypes of Gaucher disease:
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Sidransky E, Lamarca ME, Ginns EI. Therapy for Gaucher disease: Don't stop thinking about tomorrow. Mol Genet Metab. 2007 Feb;90(2):122-5. Epub 2006 Nov 3.
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