Disorders of peroxisomal biogenesis include the Zellweger syndrome, neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy, infantile Refsum syndrome, and hyperpipecolic acidemia. These names were assigned before the recognition of the peroxisomal defect and the distinction between phenotypes is uncertain. Recent studies have identified at least four complementation groups, and indicate the presence of at least that number of distinct genotypes. The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between genotype and phenotype. We studied cultured skin fibroblasts from 19 patients in whom deficiency of peroxisomes had been established. Complementation analysis was performed with the criterion of complementation being the restoration of the capacity to synthesize plasmalogens when fibroblasts from two patients were fused. Six complementation groups were identified, and consisted of one 13 member group, one two member group, and four groups comprising single cases. The phenotype of each group was examined with respect to age of survival, clinical manifestations, and biochemical alterations. The 13 member group included patients with all of the four currently designated phenotypic entities, while the most common phenotype (Zellweger syndrome) was distributed among five of the six groups. We conclude that the currently used clinical categories do not represent distinct genotypes. Apparently different genes code for a similar phenotype and one defective gene may lead to variant phenotypes. Definitive classification and understanding of these disorders await definition of the specific biochemical defect in each of the genotypes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health