Interpretive Handbook

Test 60711 :
Gaucher Disease, Full Gene Analysis

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Gaucher disease is a relatively rare lysosomal storage disorder resulting from a deficiency of acid beta-glucocerebrosidase. Reduced or absent activity of this enzyme results in accumulation of its substrate in lysosomes, interfering with cell function. There are 3 major types of Gaucher disease: nonneuropathic (type 1), acute neuropathic (type 2), and subacute neuropathic (type 3). In addition, there are 2 rare presentations of Gaucher disease: a perinatal lethal form associated with skin abnormalities and nonimmune hydrops fetalis, and a cardiovascular form presenting with calcification of the aortic and mitral valves, mild splenomegaly, and corneal opacities. Gaucher disease demonstrates large clinical variability, even within families.


Type 1 accounts for over 95% of all cases of Gaucher disease and is the presentation commonly found among Ashkenazi Jewish patients. The carrier rate of Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population is 1/18. There is a broad spectrum of disease in type 1 Gaucher disease, with some patients exhibiting severe symptoms and others very mild disease. Type 1 disease does not involve nervous system dysfunction; patients may display anemia, low blood platelet levels, massively enlarged livers and spleens, lung infiltration, and extensive skeletal disease. Type 2 is characterized by early-onset neurologic disease with rapid progression to death by 2 to 4 years of age. Type 3 may have early onset of symptoms, but generally a slower disease progression than type 2.


Mutations in the GBA gene cause the clinical manifestations of Gaucher disease. Over 250 mutations have been reported to date. The N370S and L444P mutations have the highest prevalence in most populations. N370S is associated with type 1 Gaucher disease, and individuals with at least 1 copy of this mutation do not develop the primary neurologic disease seen in types 2 and 3. Conversely, L444P is associated with neurologic disease.


For carrier screening of the general population, the recommended test is GAUW / Gaucher Disease, Mutation Analysis, GBA which tests for 8 of the most common GBA mutations. For diagnostic testing (ie, potentially affected individuals), enzyme testing (BGL / Beta-Glucosidase, Leukocytes) should be performed prior to mutation analysis. In individuals with abnormal enzyme activity and 1 or no mutations detected by a panel of common mutations, sequence analysis of the GBA gene should be utilized to detect private mutations.

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Confirmation of a diagnosis of Gaucher disease


Carrier screening in cases where there is a family history of Gaucher disease, but an affected individual is not available for testing or disease-causing mutations have not been identified

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

An interpretive report will be provided.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

A small percentage of individuals who are carriers or have a diagnosis of Gaucher disease may have a mutation that is not identified by this method (eg, large genomic deletions, promoter mutations). The absence of a mutation, therefore, does not eliminate the possibility of positive carrier status or the diagnosis of Gaucher disease. For carrier testing, it is important to first document the presence of a GBA gene mutation in an affected family member.


In some cases, DNA alterations of undetermined significance may be identified.


Rare polymorphisms exist that could lead to false-negative or false-positive results. If results obtained do not match the clinical findings, additional testing should be considered.


A previous bone marrow transplant from an allogenic donor will interfere with testing. Call Mayo Medical Laboratories for instructions for testing patients who have received a bone marrow transplant.  


Test results should be interpreted in the context of clinical findings, family history, and other laboratory data. Errors in our interpretation of results may occur if information given is inaccurate or incomplete.


This is not the preferred genetic test for carrier screening or diagnosis in individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. For these situations, order GAUW / Gaucher Disease, Mutation Analysis, GBA.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

An interpretive report will be provided.

Clinical References Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Guggenbuhl P, Grosbois B, Chales G: Gaucher disease. Joint Bone Spine 2008;75(2):116-124

2. Hruska KS, LaMarca ME, Scott CR, et al: Gaucher disease: mutation and polymorphism spectrum in the glucocerebrosidase gene (GBA). Hum Mutat 2008;29(5):567-583