Late-onset zellweger spectrum disorder caused by PEX6 mutations mimicking X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy

Christel Tran, Stacy Hewson, Steven J. Steinberg, Saadet Mercimek-Mahmutoglu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Zellweger spectrum disorder is an autosomal recessively inherited multisystem disorder caused by one of the 13 different PEX gene defects resulting in defective peroxisomal assembly and multiple peroxisomal enzyme deficiencies. We report a new patient with late-onset Zellweger spectrum disorder mimicking X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy. Patient Description This 8.5-year-old boy with normal development until 6.5 years of age presented with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss during a school hearing test. He then developed acute-onset diplopia, clumsiness, and cognitive dysfunction at age 7 years. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain revealed symmetric leukodystrophy, although without gadolinium enhancement. Elevated plasma very long chain fatty acid levels were suggestive of X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy, but his ABCD1 gene had normal coding sequence and dosage. Additional studies of cultured skin fibroblasts were consistent with Zellweger spectrum disorder. Molecular testing identified disease-causing compound heterozygous mutations in the PEX6 gene supporting the Zellweger spectrum disorder diagnosis in this patient. Conclusions We describe a new patient with late-onset Zellweger spectrum disorder caused by PEX6 mutations who presented with an acute neurodegenerative disease course mimicking X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy. This finding provides an additional reason that molecular confirmation is important for the genetic counseling and management of patients with a clinical and biochemical diagnosis of X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-265
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • PEX6 gene
  • X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy
  • Zellweger spectrum disorder
  • late onset
  • peroxisome biogenesis disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology

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