Test Catalog

Test ID: LALB    
Lysosomal Acid Lipase, Blood

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Evaluation of patients with a clinical presentation suggestive of lysosomal acid lipase deficiency using blood specimens


This test is not useful to determine carrier status for cholesteryl ester storage disease or Wolman disease.

Genetics Test Information Provides information that may help with selection of the correct genetic test or proper submission of the test request

This test provides diagnostic testing for patients with clinical signs and symptoms suspicious for lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (LALD).


LALD is expressed phenotypically as infantile-onset Wolman disease (WD) or later-onset cholesterol ester storage disease (CESD).

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Deficiency of lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) results in 2 clinically distinct phenotypes, Wolman disease (WD) and cholesteryl ester storage disease (CESD). Both phenotypes follow an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern and are caused by variant in the LIPA gene.


WD, the early-onset phenotype of LAL deficiency, is a lipid storage disorder characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, failure to thrive, abdominal distension, hepatosplenomegaly, and liver failure. Enlarged adrenal glands with calcification, a classic finding in WD, can lead to adrenal cortical insufficiency. Unless successfully treated, survival is rare beyond infancy.


CESD, the late-onset phenotype of LAL deficiency, is clinically variable with patients presenting at any age with progressive hepatomegaly and often splenomegaly, serum lipid abnormalities, and elevated liver enzymes. In childhood, patients can also present with failure to thrive and delayed milestones. Common features include premature atherosclerosis leading to coronary artery disease and strokes, liver disease of varying severity, and organomegaly. Lipid deposition in the intestinal tract can lead to diarrhea and weight loss.


CESD is likely underdiagnosed and frequently diagnosed incidentally after liver pathology reveals findings similar to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Birefringent cholesteryl ester crystals in hepatocytes or Kupffer cells in fresh-frozen tissues are visualized under polarized light and pathognomonic.


Enzyme replacement therapy (sebelipase alfa) was recently approved for both WD and CESD and is now clinically available.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

> or =21.0 nmol/hour/mL

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Enzyme activity below 1.5 nmol/hour/mL in properly submitted samples is consistent with lysosomal acid lipase deficiency: Wolman disease or cholesteryl ester storage disease.


Normal results (> or =21.0 nmol/hour/mL) are not consistent with lysosomal acid lipase deficiency.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

No significant cautionary statements

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Bernstein DL, Hulkova H, Bialer MG, Desnick RJ: Cholesteryl ester storage disease: Review of the findings in 135 reported patients with an underdiagnosed disease. J Hepatol. 2013;58:1230-1243

2. Reynolds T: Cholesteryl ester storage disease: a rare and possibly treatable cause of premature vascular disease and cirrhosis. J Clin Pathol. 2013;66:918-923

3. Pericleous M, Kelly C, Wang T, et al: Wolman's disease and cholesteryl ester storage disorder: the phenotypic spectrum of lysosomal acid lipase deficiency. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017;2(9):670-679. doi: 10.1016/S2468-1253(17)30052-3

Special Instructions Library of PDFs including pertinent information and forms related to the test