Summary. The development of intravenous enzyme-replacement treatment for Gaucher's disease has changed life expectancy in cases without neurological involvement (type 1). The effects in patients with neurological involvement are unknown. We treated 12 Italian patients, types 1 (9) and 3 (3), with intravenous alglucerase: 70-120 IU/kg per month for type 3 and 30-60 IU/kg per month for type 1. Maintenance infusions were biweekly in patients without neurological symptoms, whereas in one symptomatic type 3 patient, influsion was weekly. All patients improved; a resumption of growth in children with growth retardation was observed and spleen and liver reduced in size. In one type 3 patient, a bone callus formed during treatment and enabled the patient to walk. Laboratory tests showed rapid increase of haemoglobin in anaemic patients, and a slower response in patients with thrombocytopaenia. In 4 patients there was temporary hypocalcaemia immediately after the beginning of treatment. Neurological symptoms were present in 1 of the type 3 patients, and electroencephalogram was abnormal in another. After 2 years of treatment, the patient with symptoms showed an improvement of psychomotor skills and of IQ from 50 to 60. Genotype analysis showed a high frequency of the 1448C mutation (54·5%). The 9 patients carrying this allele came from Italian regions which in the past had been invaded from north Europe and Scandinavia. Enzyme replacement in Gaucher's type 1 can also be effective at low doses and even with a 2-week interval between infusions. This makes treatment cheaper, and reduces hospital stay for patients.
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