Sign in →

Test ID OXYWB Oxysterols, Blood

Ordering Guidance

This test's clinical sensitivity and specificity for the identification of Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) is 75% and 89%, respectively. If NPC is strongly suspected, the recommended test is OXNP / Oxysterols, Plasma.


This test is available separately as well as a part of HSMWB / Hepatosplenomegaly Panel, Blood. If this test is ordered with either GPSYW / Glucopsychosine, Blood or CTXWB / Cerebrotendinous Xanthomatosis, Blood, the individual tests will be canceled and HSMWB ordered.

Specimen Required


Preferred: Lavender top (EDTA)

Acceptable: Green top (sodium heparin, lithium heparin) or yellow top (ACD B)

Specimen Volume: 1 mL

Useful For

Investigation of possible diagnoses of Niemann-Pick disease types A, B, or C in blood spot specimens


Monitoring of individuals with Niemann-Pick type C disease


This test is not suitable for the identification of carriers.

Method Name

Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)

Reporting Name

Oxysterols, B

Specimen Type

Whole blood

Specimen Minimum Volume

0.25 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Whole blood Refrigerated (preferred) 72 hours
  Ambient  48 hours

Clinical Information

Niemann-Pick disease types A, B, and C (NPA, NPB, and NPC, respectively) are a group of autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disorders affecting metabolism of specific lipids within cells.


NPA and NPB are caused by a deficiency of sphingomyelinase that results in extensive storage of sphingomyelin and cholesterol in the liver, spleen, lungs, and, to a lesser degree, brain. NPA disease is more severe than NPB and is characterized by early onset with feeding problems, dystrophy, persistent jaundice, development of hepatosplenomegaly, neurological deterioration, deafness, and blindness leading to death by age 3 years. NPB disease is limited to visceral symptoms with survival into adulthood. Some patients have been described with intermediary phenotypes. Large lipid-laden foam cells are characteristic of the disease. Approximately 50% of cases have cherry-red spots in the macula. Sphingomyelinase is encoded by the SMPD1 gene.


The combined prevalence of NPA and NPB is estimated to be 1 in 250,000. NPA and NPB are inherited in an autosomal recessive manner and are caused by variants in the SMPD1 gene. Although there is a higher frequency of type A among the Ashkenazi Jewish population, both types are pan-ethnic. Individuals with NPA and NPB typically have elevations of the lyso-sphingomyelin (LSM) and lyso-sphingomyelin 509 (LSM 509) combined with potential elevations in cholestane-3-beta, 5-alpha, 6-beta-triol (COT) and 7-ketocholesterol (7-KC). Molecular genetic testing for NPA and NPB disease is also available (CGPH / Custom Gene Panel, Hereditary, Next-Generation Sequencing, Varies; specify gene list ID: IEMCP-W6S9XD).


NPC is caused by a defect in cellular cholesterol trafficking that results in the progressive accumulation of unesterified cholesterol in late endosomes/lysosomes.(1) NPC is considered a lipid storage disorder with variable age of onset (range: perinatal period to adulthood), and highly variable clinical presentation. Most individuals are diagnosed during childhood with symptoms that include ataxia, vertical supranuclear gaze palsy, dystonia, progressive speech deterioration, and seizures. Infants may present with or without hepatosplenomegaly and respiratory failure. Those without liver and pulmonary disease may present with hypotonia and developmental delay. Adult-onset NPC is associated with a slower progression and is characterized by psychiatric illness, ataxia, dystonia, and speech difficulties.


The incidence of NPC is approximately 1 in 120,000 to 150,000 live births. NPC is an autosomal recessive condition and is caused by variants in either the NPC1 or NPC2 genes. Individuals with NPC exhibit elevated levels of oxysterol cholestane-3-beta, 5-alpha, 6-beta-triol (COT); lyso-sphingomyelin 509 (LSM 509) and 7-ketocholesterol (7-KC) may also be elevated. The diagnosis of NPC can be confirmed by demonstration of impaired cholesterol esterification and positive filipin staining in cultured fibroblasts (NIEM / Niemann-Pick Type C Detection, Fibroblasts). For molecular confirmation, genetic testing for NPC disease can be performed (CGPH / Custom Gene Panel, Hereditary, Next-Generation Sequencing, Varies; specify gene list ID: IEMCP-H683JG).

Reference Values


Cutoff: ≤0.800 nmol/mL



Cutoff: ≤0.100 nmol/mL


An elevation of cholestane-3-beta, 5-alpha, 6-beta-triol (COT) is highly suggestive of Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC) disease.


An elevation of lyso-sphingomyelin (LSM) is highly suggestive of Niemann-Pick disease type A or B (NPA or NPB) disease.


An elevation of lyso-sphingomyelin 509 (LSM 509) is suggestive of NPA, NPB, or NPC disease.

Clinical Reference

1. OMIM: 257220 Niemann-Pick Disease, Type C1; NPC1. Updated May 26, 2020. Accessed February 3, 2021. Available at

2. OMIM: 257200 Niemann-Pick Disease Type A. Updated October 19, 2016. Accessed February 3, 2021. Available at

3. OMIM: 607616 Niemann-Pick Disease Type B. Updated April 4, 2019. Accessed February 3, 2021. Available at

4. Wasserstein MP, Schuchman EH: Acid sphingomyelinase deficiency. In: Adam MP, Ardinger HH, Pagon RA, et al, eds. GeneReviews [Internet]. University of Washington, Seattle; 2006. Updated June 18, 2015. Accessed November 2, 2020. Available at

5. Patterson MC, Vanier MT, Suzuki K, et al: Niemann-Pick disease type C: a lipid trafficking disorder. In: Valle D, Antonarakis S, Ballabio A, Beaudet AL, Mitchell GA, eds. The Online Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease. McGraw-Hill; 2019. Accessed November 2, 2020. Available at

6. Gal AE, Brady RO, Hibbert SR, Pentchev PG: A practical chromogenic procedure for the detection of homozygotes and heterozygous carriers of Niemann-Pick disease. N Engl J Med. 1975 Sep 25;293(13):632-636

7. Patterson M: Niemann-Pick disease type C. In: Adam MP, Ardinger HH, Pagon RA, et al, eds. GeneReviews [Internet]. University of Washington, Seattle; 2000. Updated December 10, 2020. Accessed February 3, 2021. Available at

8. Schuchman EH: The pathogenesis and treatment of acid sphingomyelinase-deficient Niemann-Pick disease. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2009;47(Suppl 1):S48-S57

9. Hollack CEM, de Sonnaville ESV, Cassiman D et al: Acid sphingomyelinase (Asm) deficiency patients in The Netherlands and Belgium: disease spectrum and natural course in attenuated patients. Mol Genet Metab. 2012 Nov;107(3):526-533

10. Geberhiwot T, Moro A, Dardis A, et al; International Niemann-Pick Disease Registry (INPDR): Consensus clinical management guidelines for Niemann-Pick disease type C. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2018 Apr 6;13(1):50

Day(s) Performed

Tuesday; Specimens must be received by Monday for preanalytical processing

Report Available

2 to 9 days

Test Classification

This test was developed, and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
OXYWB Oxysterols, B 92738-4


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
BA4354 Interpretation (OXYWB) 59462-2
BA4352 Cholestane-3beta,5alpha,6beta-triol 92756-6
BA4353 Lyso-sphingomyelin 92748-3
BA4355 Reviewed By 18771-6
Mayo Clinic Laboratories | Pediatric Catalog Additional Information: