Clinical Research

Hemorrhagic Aspects of Gaucher Disease

Hanna Rosenbaum


Gaucher disease (GD) is an inherited lysosomal disorder, originating from deficient activity of the lysosomal enzyme glucocerebrosidase (GCase). Normally, GCase hydrolyzes glucocerebroside (GC) to glucose and ceramide; however, impaired activity of this enzyme leads to the accumulation of GC in macrophages, termed "Gaucher cells". GD is associated with hepatosplenomegaly, cytopenias, skeletal complications and in some forms involves the central nervous system. Coagulation abnormalities are common among GD patients due to impaired production and chronic consumption of coagulation factors. Bleeding phenomena are variable (as are other symptoms of GD) and include mucosal and surgical hemorrhages. Four main etiological factors account for the hemostatic defect in GD: thrombocytopenia, abnormal platelet function, reduced production of coagulation factors, and activation of fibrinolysis. Thrombocytopenia relates not only to hypersplenism and decreased megakaryopoiesis by the infiltrated bone marrow but also to immune thrombocytopenia. Autoimmunity, especially the induction of platelet antibody production, might cause persistent thrombocytopenia. Enzyme replacement therapy reverses only part of the impaired coagulation system in Gaucher disease. Other therapeutic and supportive measures should be considered to prevent and/or treat bleeding in GD. Gaucher patients should be evaluated routinely for coagulation abnormalities especially prior to surgery and dental and obstetric procedures.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2014;5(4):e0039