Sterol profiles in plasma and erythrocyte membranes in patients with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome: A six-year experience

Gaetano Corso, Monica Gelzo, Rosalba Barone, Stefano Clericuzio, Pierluigi Pianese, Angela Nappi, Antonio Dello Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This study reports our experience over the last six years in the diagnosis of Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome and other inborn errors of cholesterol biosynthesis. Methods: Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry was used to obtain sterol profiles in plasma and erythrocyte membranes of suspected patients. Results: Plasma sterol reference values calculated in unaffected subjects (ns276) were in agreement with those previously reported. Among patients investigated from 2005 to 2010, we report 16 patients affected by Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, three of whom represent new cases and 13 of whom were follow-up patients. In this period we also identified a new case of chondrodysplasia punctata 2 X-linked. The estimated incidence obtained for Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome was 1:93 suspected patients (1.08%). We also studied the effect of storage on the dehydrocholesterols/ cholesterol ratio in plasma and erythrocyte membranes of patients affected by Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome stored at -208C for up to 22 and 20 months, respectively. A significant negative linear correlation between storage time and the dehydrocholesterols/cholesterol ratio was identified in both plasma and erythrocyte membranes. The decrease in the dehydrocholesterols/cholesterol ratio in erythrocyte membranes was at least two-fold higher than in plasma. Conclusions: The results of this study may be helpful for diagnosis and interpretation of data in patients with findings suggestive of a cholesterol biosynthesis defect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2039-2046
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • 7-dehydrocholesterol
  • Cholesterol
  • Multiple malformations
  • Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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