Acid sphingomyelinase deficiency (ASMD) is a rare progressive genetic disorder that results from a deficiency of the enzyme acid sphingomyelinase, which is required to break down (metabolize) a fatty substance (lipid) called sphingomyelin. Consequently, sphingomyelin and other substances accumulate in various tissues of the body. Acid sphingomyelinase is one of the enzymes that make up the sphingomyelinase (SMase) family, responsible for catalyzing the breakdown of sphingomyelin to ceramide and phosphorylcholine.ASMD is highly variable and the age of onset, specific symptoms and severity of the disorder can vary dramatically from one person to another, sometimes even among members of the same family. The disorder may be best thought of as a spectrum of disease.
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