Anderson–Fabry Disease (AFD) is a rare, systemic lysosomal storage disease triggered by mutations in the GLA gene, leading to α-galactosidase A (α-Gal A) deficiency. The disease’s X-linked inheritance leads to more severe, early-onset presentations in males, while females exhibit variable, often insidious, manifestations, notably impacting cardiac health. This study aims to examine gender-based AFD cardiac manifestations in correlation with the variant type: classical (CL), late-onset (LO), or variants of uncertain significance (VUS). We analyzed data from 72 AFD patients (53 females, 19 males) referred to the “G. Rodolico” University Hospital, employing enzyme activity measurements, genetic analysis, periodic lyso-Gb3 monitoring, comprehensive medical histories, and advanced cardiac imaging techniques. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 26. Our AFD cohort, with an average age of 45 ± 16.1 years, comprised 12 individuals with hypertrophy (AFD-LVH) and 60 without (AFD-N). Women, representing about 75% of the subjects, were generally older than men (47.2 ± 16.2 vs. 38.8 ± 14.6, p = 0.046). In the female group, 17% had CL variants, 43.3% LO, and 39.6% had VUS, compared to 21.1%, 36.8%, and 31.6% in the male group, respectively. Females exhibited significantly higher α-Gal A values (median 7.9 vs. 1.8 nmol/mL/h, p < 0.001) and lower lyso-Gb3 levels (1.5 [IQR 1.1–1.7] vs. 1.9 [1.5–17.3] nmol/L, p = 0.02). Regarding the NYHA class distribution, 70% of women were in class I and 28% in class II, compared to 84% and 16% of men, respectively. Among women, 7.5% exhibited ventricular arrhythmias (10.5% in men), and 9.4% had atrial fibrillation (10.5% in men). Cardiac MRIs revealed fibrosis in 57% of examined women, compared to 87% of men. Even among patients without LVH, significant differences persisted in α-Gal A and lyso-Gb3 levels (p = 0.003 and 0.04), as well as LVMi (61.5 vs. 77.5 g/sqm, p = 0.008) and GLS values (−20% vs. −17%, p = 0.01). The analysis underscored older age, decreased lyso-Gb3 deposition, reduced hypertrophy, and lesser GLS compromise in females, suggesting later disease onset. Severe cardiac patterns were associated with classic variants, while more nuanced manifestations were noted in those with VUS. Early GLS impairment in males, irrespective of hypertrophy, emphasized the role of subclinical damage in AFD.
Denise Cristiana Faro
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