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USMLE Step 1

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Lysosomal Storage Diseases

Tay-Sachs and Niemann-Pick
View this Tay-Sachs and Niemann-Pick mnemonic and other USMLE mnemonics in the Lysosomal Storage Diseases playlist.

Tay-Sachs and Niemann-Pick

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Tay–Sachs Disease and Niemann–Pick Disease are autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disorders characterized by a cherry-red macula on exam. They are both sphingolipidoses, each of which is caused by a build-up of sphingolipids in body tissues.

Tay–Sachs Disease is caused by a deficiency of β-hexosaminidase A, which leads to a buildup of GM2 ganglioside within cells. Notably, the accumulation of GM2 ganglioside leads to the destruction of nerve cells. Signs and symptoms include neurodegeneration, developmental delay, and the appearance of onion-skin lysosomes on EM biopsy.

Niemann–Pick Disease is caused by the accumulation of sphingomyelin within cells. Different signs and symptoms occur depending on where the sphingomyelin accumulates. In contrast to Tay–Sachs disease, sphingomyelin builds-up in the liver and spleen and leads to hepatosplenomegaly. The disease is also characterized by the presence of foam cells, which are lipid-laden cells seen on biopsy.

Find Tay-Sachs Disease, Niemann-Pick Disease, and more Lysosomal Storage Diseases among Pixorize's visual mnemonics for the USMLE Step 1 and NBME Shelf Exams.