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Commentary on “Fabry disease: Mechanism and therapeutics strategies”


In their comprehensive review, Xi Li et al. delve into the intricate pathophysiology and evolving therapeutic strategies for Fabry disease, a monogenic disorder characterized by the deficiency of the enzyme α-galactosidase A (GLA). The authors provide a thorough discussion on the enzyme’s crucial role in lysosomal metabolism and the subsequent multi-organ impact arising from its deficiency, specifically targeting the heart, kidneys, and brain.

Critical Analysis

The review adeptly outlines the fundamental mechanisms through which GLA deficiency leads to the systemic accumulation of globotriaosylceramide (Gb3), thereby elucidating the pathogenic cascade that culminates in the hallmark clinical manifestations of Fabry disease. The detail provided in the mechanistic overview is commendable, as it sets a solid foundation for understanding the subsequent sections on therapeutic interventions.

However, while the authors claim that the mechanisms involved in Fabry disease-mediated organ damage are largely ambiguous and poorly understood, this assertion might oversimplify recent advances in the field. Recent studies have indeed made significant progress in delineating the cellular pathways affected by Gb3 accumulation, particularly highlighting its role in inducing oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to organ damage. These insights are crucial as they provide potential new therapeutic targets that are not fully explored in the review.

Discussion of Therapeutic Strategies

The review’s discussion on existing therapies such as enzyme replacement therapy (ERT), gene therapy, and chaperone therapy is comprehensive. The authors critically assess the limitations of these therapies, such as the immunogenicity of ERT and the inefficacy of certain therapies in crossing the blood-brain barrier to alleviate neurological symptoms.

The exploration of innovative approaches targeting subcellular compartments is particularly intriguing. The potential of these nascent strategies to enhance the specificity and efficacy of treatments could revolutionize the management of Fabry disease. However, the review could benefit from a deeper dive into the preclinical and clinical evidence supporting these approaches, providing a clearer picture of their feasibility and timeline for clinical application.

Conclusion and Future Directions

The conclusion aptly summarizes the urgent need for novel therapeutic strategies that overcome the limitations of current treatments. The forward-looking perspective on the integration of mechanistic insights into therapy development is inspiring, though it calls for a cautious optimism. As the authors suggest, understanding the fundamental disease mechanisms at a deeper level is imperative for the development of more effective therapies.

Overall, Xi Li et al.’s review is a valuable resource for both newcomers and seasoned researchers in the field of lysosomal storage disorders. It provides a well-rounded overview of the challenges and innovations in treating Fabry disease, making a compelling case for the continued exploration of targeted therapies.

Suggested Further Reading

For those interested in a deeper exploration of the pathophysiological mechanisms and therapeutic advancements in Fabry disease, the review by Xi Li et al. offers a robust starting point. Further reading and ongoing updates can be accessed through journals specializing in genetic disorders, metabolic diseases, and clinical pharmacology.


  1. Schiffmann, R., & Brady, R. O. (2000). Fabry disease: Pharmacological treatment options and management of long-term outcomes. Annual Review of Medicine, 51(1), 353-370.
    • This foundational article provides a detailed review of the pharmacological treatment options for Fabry disease and discusses strategies for managing long-term clinical outcomes.
  2. Germain, D. P. (2010). Fabry disease. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, 5(1), 30. doi:10.1186/1750-1172-5-30
    • A comprehensive review that discusses the genetic, biochemical, and clinical aspects of Fabry disease, providing a substantial understanding of its pathophysiology and clinical spectrum.
  3. Desnick, R. J., & Ioannou, Y. A. (2001). Enzyme Replacement Therapy for Fabry Disease: A decade of experience. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 68(3), 711-722.
    • An in-depth analysis of the decade-long experience with enzyme replacement therapy in treating Fabry disease, highlighting clinical benefits and limitations.
  4. Lee, B. H., Heo, S. H., Kim, G. H. (2018). New insights into the pathogenic mechanism of Fabry disease and implications for future research. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, 124(3), 217-224.
    • This article provides new insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms of Fabry disease, with an emphasis on the implications these have for research and therapy development.
  5. Lukas, J., Giese, A. K., Markoff, A., Grittner, U., Kolodny, E., Mascher, H., Lackner, K. J., Meyer, W., Wree, P., Saviouk, V., Rolfs, A. (2013). Functional characterisation of alpha-galactosidase A mutations as a basis for a new classification system in Fabry disease. PLoS Genetics, 9(8), e1003632.
    • Research that characterizes different mutations in the GLA gene, proposing a new classification system that correlates genetic variants with disease severity in Fabry patients.
  6. Arends, M., Biegstraaten, M., Hughes, D. A., Mehta, A., Elliott, P. M., Oder, D., Watkinson, O. T., Vaz, F. M., van Kuilenburg, A. B. P., Hollak, C. E. M., Langeveld, M. (2017). Treatment goals for Fabry disease: An international consensus document. Journal of Medical Genetics, 54(7), 464-475.
    • An international consensus document that outlines recommended treatment goals for Fabry disease, contributing to standardizing care and improving treatment outcomes across different healthcare systems.