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Reviewed November 2008
What is Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome?
Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome is a condition in which fats (lipids) are stored abnormally in the body. Affected individuals cannot break down certain fats called triglycerides, and these fats accumulate in organs and tissues, including skin, liver, muscles, intestine, eyes, and ears. People with this condition also have dry, scaly skin (ichthyosis), which is usually present at birth. Additional features of this condition include an enlarged liver (hepatomegaly), clouding of the lens of the eyes (cataracts), difficulty with coordinating movements (ataxia), hearing loss, short stature, muscle weakness (myopathy), involuntary movement of the eyes (nystagmus), and mild intellectual disability.
The signs and symptoms vary greatly among individuals with Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome. Some people may have ichthyosis only, while others may have problems affecting many areas of the body.
How common is Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome?
Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome is a rare condition; its incidence is unknown.
What genes are related to Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome?
Mutations in the ABHD5 gene cause Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome. The ABHD5 gene provides instructions for making a protein that turns on (activates) the ATGL enzyme, which breaks down triglycerides. Triglycerides are the main source of stored energy in cells. These fats must be broken down into simpler molecules called fatty acids before they can be used for energy.
ABHD5 gene mutations impair the protein's ability to activate the ATGL enzyme. An inactive enzyme makes the breakdown of triglycerides impossible, causing them to accumulate in tissues throughout the body. The buildup of triglycerides results in the signs and symptoms of Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome.
Read more about the ABHD5 gene.
How do people inherit Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome?
This condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome?
These resources address the diagnosis or management of Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome and may include treatment providers.
General information about the diagnosis and management of genetic conditions is available in the Handbook. Read more about genetic testing, particularly the difference between clinical tests and research tests.
To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome?
You may find the following resources about Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome helpful. These materials are written for the general public.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.
What other names do people use for Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome?
What if I still have specific questions about Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome?
Where can I find general information about genetic conditions?
The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.
These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.
What glossary definitions help with understanding Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome?
acids ; ataxia ; autosomal ; autosomal recessive ; breakdown ; cell ; disability ; enzyme ; erythroderma ; fatty acids ; gene ; ichthyosiform ; ichthyosis ; incidence ; inherited ; intestine ; involuntary ; lipid ; nystagmus ; oxidation ; protein ; recessive ; short stature ; stature ; syndrome ; triglycerides
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (6 links)
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.