Diagnosis of heterozygous Fabry patients is difficult because of its variable clinical manifestations and overlapping serum α-galactosidase A (AGA) activity between carriers and non-carriers. We tried to facilitate diagnosis of heterozygous Fabry patients by detailed clinical examination. We analyzed clinical presentations, biochemical, electrophysiological and genetic characteristics of 16 patients with Fabry disease in a large Chinese family. Male patients demonstrated significantly higher pain scores, poorer renal function, and higher frequency of hypohidrosis and corpora angiokeratomas than female patients. Interestingly, all the males and females had corneal verticilata by slit lamp examination. However, there was no association of serum AGA activity with renal function or pain symptom scores. The results indicated that detailed ocular and neurological examination might provide an alternative way of detecting heterozygous patients. We also report a novel large deletion spanning across the joint of Alu repetitive elements in introns 1 and 2 with resultant exon 2 deletion in a Chinese family with Fabry disease.
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