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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Accumulation and defective beta-oxidation of very long chain fatty acids in Zellweger's syndrome, adrenoleukodystrophy and Refsum's disease variants.

The accumulation of very long chain fatty acids in plasma and skin fibroblasts was measured in at least four separate inherited disease states. Both the magnitude and the nature of the fatty acid changes reflected the clinical status of individual patients. In Zellweger's syndrome, and to a lesser extent in infantile Refsum's disease, there was an increase in 24:0, 26:0, 26:1, and a number of even longer chain fatty acids, while in the X-linked form of adrenoleukodystrophy these changes were less pronounced. Zellweger fibroblasts in culture took up lignoceric, phytanic and stearic acids and incorporated them into a variety of lipids in a manner comparable to control fibroblasts. However, these cells were unable to convert phytanic or lignoceric acid to CO2. Infantile Refsum's and X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy fibroblasts showed normal conversion of these acids to CO2. Normal fibroblast homogenates produced radioactive acetate from [1-14C] stearic and [1-14C] lignoceric acids indicating that both substrates were beta-oxidised under these conditions. Homogenates of fibroblasts from all patients patients with biochemical evidence of accumulation of very long chain fatty acids showed normal or near-normal stearic acid beta-oxidation, but were deficient in lignoceric acid beta-oxidation. Residual lignoceric acid beta-oxidation activity varied from approximately 15% in Zellweger syndrome up to 50% in X- linked adrenoleukodystrophy. It is postulated that the accumulation of very long chain fatty acids results from defects in peroxisomal beta-oxidation. In Zellweger's syndrome, and possibly in infantile Refsum's disease, it is probable that this defect is secondary to a primary abnormality affecting the structure and/or function of peroxisomes, while the primary defect in X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy may be confined to a pathway specific for the oxidation of very long chain fatty acids.[1]


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