Interpretive Handbook

Test 8297 :
Galactocerebrosidase, Fibroblasts

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

Krabbe disease (globoid cell leukodystrophy) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by a deficiency of galactocerebrosidase. A deficiency of this enzyme leads to an accumulation of galactocerebrosidase causing severe demyelination throughout the brain. Krabbe disease is caused by mutations in the GALC gene, and it has an estimated frequency of 1 in 100,000 births.


Severely affected individuals typically present between 3 to 6 months of age with increasing irritability and sensitivity to stimuli. Rapid neurodegeneration including white matter disease follows with death usually occurring by age 2. A small subset of individuals have late onset forms of the disease that are characterized by ataxia, vision loss, weakness, and psychomotor regression presenting anywhere from age 6 months to the seventh decade of life. The clinical course of Krabbe disease can be variable, even within the same family. Treatment is mostly supportive, although hematopoietic stem cell transplantation has shown some success if treatment begins before neurologic damage has occurred.


Reduced or absent galactocerebrosidase in fibroblasts or leukocytes (CBGC / Galactocerebrosidase, Leukocytes) can indicate a diagnosis of Krabbe disease. Molecular sequencing of the GALC gene (GALCS / Krabbe Disease, Full Gene Analysis and Large [30 kb] Deletion, PCR) allows for detection of the disease-causing mutations in affected patients and carrier detection in family members.

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

Diagnosis of Krabbe disease

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Values below the reference range are consistent with a diagnosis of Krabbe disease.

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

Because of the wide range of enzymatic activities observed in carriers and noncarriers, this test is not recommended for carrier detection.


Interfering factors:

-Lack of viable cells or bacterial contamination

-Failure to transport tissue in an appropriate media

-Excessive transport time

-Exposure of the specimen to temperature extremes (freezing or temperatures >37 degrees C)

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.

> or =1.20 nmol/h/mg protein

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

1. Wenger DA: Krabbe Disease. Available from URL: Reviewed March 29, 2011

2. Enns GM, Steiner RD, Cowan TM: Lysosomal disorders. In Pediatric Endocrinology and Inborn Errors of Metabolism. Edited by K Sarafoglou, G Hoffman, KS Roth. New York, McGraw-Hill Medical, 2009, p 744