Type of disease: Rare conditions
Niemann-Pick disease is an inherited condition involving lipid metabolism, which is the breakdown, transport, and use of fats and cholesterol in the body. In people with this condition, abnormal lipid metabolism causes harmful amounts of lipids to accumulate in the spleen, liver, lungs, bone marrow, and brain. Niemann-Pick disease type A appears during infancy and is characterized by an enlarged liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly), failure to gain weight and grow at the expected rate (failure to thrive), and progressive deterioration of the nervous system. Due to the involvement of the nervous system, Niemann-Pick disease type A is also known as the neurological type. There is currently no effective treatment for this condition and those who are affected generally do not survive past early childhood. Niemann-Pick disease type A is caused by mutations in the SMPD1 gene. It is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.