Krabbe's Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy: Deficiency of Galactocerebrosidase in Serum, Leukocytes, and Fibroblasts

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Science  08 Jan 1971:
Vol. 171, Issue 3966, pp. 73-75
DOI: 10.1126/science.171.3966.73


The activity of galactocerebroside β-galactosidase was extremely low in serum, leukocytes, and cultured fibroblasts of patients with Krabbe's disease. Antemortem diagnosis is possible without organ biopsies. The parents of patients showed enzyme activities generally lower than that of normal controls. This finding provides supportive evidence that the deficient activity of galactocerebroside β-galactosidase is the genetically determined enzymatic defect underlying the disease. Demonstration of this deficiency requires the use of the specific substrate, galactocerebroside. Assays carried out with synthetic, unnatural substrates, such as 4-methylumbelliferyl β-galactoside, do not distinguish patients or heterozygous carriers from normal individuals.

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