Patients with primary serine biosynthetic defects manifest with intellectual disability, microcephaly, ichthyosis, seizures and peripheral neuropathy. The underlying pathogenesis of peripheral neuropathy in these patients has not been elucidated, but could be related to a decrease in the availability of certain classical sphingolipids, or to an increase in atypical sphingolipids. Here, we show that patients with primary serine deficiency have a statistically significant elevation in specific atypical sphingolipids, namely deoxydihydroceramides of 18–22 carbons in acyl length. We also show that patients with aberrant plasma serine and alanine levels secondary to mitochondrial disorders also display peripheral neuropathy along with similar elevations of atypical sphingolipids. We hypothesize that the etiology of peripheral neuropathy in patients with primary mitochondrial disorders is related to this elevation of deoxysphingolipids, in turn caused by increased availability of alanine and decreased availability of serine. These findings could have important therapeutic implications for the management of these patients.
- Serine biosynthesis defect
- Serine deficiency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Molecular Biology