Cholesterol plays an essential role in normal embryogenesis and perturbations in its de novo synthesis are responsible for organ malformations in the cholesterol biosynthesis defects. Ten distinct inherited disorders have been linked to different enzyme defects in the isoprenoid/cholesterol biosynthetic pathway: mevalonic aciduria, hyperimmunoglobulinemia syndrome, squalene synthase deficiency, lanosterol synthase deficiency, hydrops-ectopic calcification-moth-eaten (Greenberg) skeletal dysplasia, X-linked dominant chondrodysplasia punctata, congenital hemidysplasia with ichthyosiform erythroderma and limb defects syndrome, lathosterolosis, Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome and desmosterolosis. These Mendelian disorders are clinically heterogeneous with protean manifestations reflecting the important role of cholesterol, and its intermediary metabolites, in embryogenesis and development. Key clinical features commonly represented by the cholesterol biosynthesis defects include structural brain malformations, axial skeletal developmental anomalies and genital and cardiac malformations. The aetiology of the underlying pathophysiology is unclear and multifactorial but may be due to lowered cholesterol and/or the elevated, teratogenic levels of the intermediate sterol precursors. Herein, we will review clinical, biochemical and molecular aspects of the known human cholesterol biosynthesis defects.
Part of the book: Apolipoproteins, Triglycerides and Cholesterol