Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC) is a rare autosomal recessive neuro-visceral lipid storage disease. We describe nine cases of infantile-onset NPC with various genetic mutations in the NPC1 gene, which presented with neonatal cholestasis. Serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels were obtained as part of their workup during the first four months of life. In eight of nine (89%) patients, serum AFP demonstrated elevated levels. Seven infants displayed marked elevations, ranging from 4 to 300 times the upper limit for age-adjusted norms. In most patients, AFP levels peaked during the initial test and declined over time as cholestasis resolved. We conclude that elevated AFP levels are a common, although non-specific, marker for NPC-associated liver disease. These findings demonstrate the benefit of including AFP levels in the workup of neonatal liver disease, especially if there is accompanied cholestasis and if NPC is suspected.
- Niemann-Pick disease type C
- hepatic involvement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health