Autonomic skin responses in females with Fabry disease

Anette T Møller, Flemming W Bach, Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen, Ase K Rasmussen, Lis Hasholt, Claudia Sommer, Steen Kølvraa, Troels Staehelin Jensen
Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System: JPNS 2009, 14 (3): 159-64
Fabry disease is a genetic lysosomal disorder with dysfunction of the lysosomal enzyme alpha-galactosidase A causing accumulation of glycolipids in multiple organs including the nervous system and with neuropathy as a prominent manifestation. Neurological symptoms include pain and autonomic dysfunction. This study examined peripheral autonomic nerve function in 19 female patients with Fabry disease and 19 sex and age-matched controls by measuring (1) sweat production following acetylcholine challenge; (2) the sympathetically mediated vasoconstrictor responses to inspiratory gasp, stress, and the cold pressor test; and (3) cutaneous blood flow following capsaicin. The vasoconstrictor response to inspiratory gasp was increased in Fabry patients compared to controls (p = 0.03), while the response to cold and mental stress did not change. Female patients with Fabry disease had a reduced sweat response to iontophoresis of acetylcholine (p = 0.04) and a smaller capsaicin-induced flare compared to controls. These findings suggest that female patients both have an impaired C-fiber function and local abnormalities in blood vessels and sweat glands.

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