Hong Kong Med J 2003;9:206-9 | Number 3, June 2003
Sitosterolaemia and xanthomatosis in a child
WF Cheng, YP Yuen, CB Chow, KM Au, YW Chan, SC Tam
Department of Paediatrics, Princess Margaret Hospital, 2-10 Princess Margaret Hospital Road, Laichikok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
A 4-year-old boy presented with multiple tuberous xanthomata and a fasting plasma sterol concentration of 18.3 mmol/L, consisting primarily of cholesterol. Two months after changing from an unrestricted diet to a cholesterol-lowering diet, the plasma sterol concentration decreased to 4 mmol/L. Fasting plasma cholesterol levels for his father and mother were 7.3 mmol/L and 6.0 mmol/L, respectively. The degree and rapidity of the child’s response to dietary control, together with the fasting cholesterol results of both parents suggested a diagnosis of sitosterolaemia. Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry of the patient’s plasma sterol levels showed that the percentage of beta-sitosterol was raised at 12.76%, as was campesterol (6.26%), and stigmasterol (0.71%), confirming the diagnosis of sitosterolaemia. The addition of cholestyramine 4 g/day to a low sterol diet maintained the plasma sterol concentration at 4 to 5 mmol/L, and gradual regression of the xanthoma was observed. These findings indicate that a diagnosis of sitosterolaemia, a treatable cause of premature atherosclerosis, should be considered in children with severe hypercholesterolaemia whose plasma cholesterol level is highly responsive to dietary manipulation.
Key words: Chromatography, gas; Hypercholesterolemia; Sitosterols; Spectrum analysis, mass; Xanthomatosis
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