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

Stereological analysis of peroxisomes and mitochondria in intestinal epithelium of patients with peroxisomal deficiency disorders: Zellweger's syndrome and neonatal-onset adrenoleukodystrophy.

Peroxisomes, participants in lipid metabolism, have been shown to be altered in liver in two metabolic diseases in which long-chain fatty acids accumulate in tissues: Zellweger's syndrome and neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy ( ALD). The intestine also plays a role in lipid metabolism, and we have had the opportunity to compare peroxisomes in normal intestinal epithelium with those from patients with Zellweger's syndrome and neonatal ALD at the electron microscopic level by using the combined techniques of cytochemistry and stereological analysis. Peroxisomes were numerous in intestinal epithelium of the normal individuals. They were ellipsoidal in shape with average diameters of 0.37 by 0.56 micron and filled with coarsely granular, DAB+ content. Peroxisomes in the intestinal epithelium of the ALD patient were similar in appearance and number but smaller in size (0.28 by 0.44 micron). Peroxisomes of normal appearance were absent from the intestinal epithelium of patients with Zellweger's syndrome; DAB+ content, however, was observed in rare, membrane-bound structures of much smaller size (0.12 by 0.19 micron). In liver of patients with Zellweger's syndrome, peroxisomes are lacking; in neonatal ALD they are abnormal in appearance and greatly reduced in number. The presence of rare minute peroxisomes in the intestinal epithelium in Zellweger's syndrome and of small peroxisomes in this epithelium in neonatal ALD indicate that peroxisomes in the intestinal epithelium are affected in these diseases, but to a lesser extent than in the liver. In the ALD intestinal epithelium, DAB+ material was also seen in long, sinuous, tubular or cisternal elements intermingled and occasionally in continuity with peroxisomes. It is suggested that these represent the early stages of peroxisome formation, the peroxisomal reticulum as originally envisioned by Lazarow, while the rare structures seen in Zellweger's represent rudiments of such a reticulum. Lamellar inclusions and clear spaces occurred in the cytoplasm adjacent to these structures indicating either that material accumulated there had been extracted during fixation or that these regions are more susceptible to autolysis. Mitochondria are also involved in lipid metabolism and have been reported to be abnormal in Zellweger's tissue. No qualitative differences were observed in the mitochondria of the intestinal epithelia examined in this study. Although quantitation revealed a greater mean volume, number, and surface density of mitochondria in the intestinal epithelia of neonatal ALD, it was not a statistically significant difference in all cases.[1]


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