[Our experience in the diagnosis of peroxisomal diseases with an abnormal fatty acid profile].
The aetiology and clinical features of peroxisomal diseases vary widely. An altered very-long-chain fatty acid (VLCFA) profile is commonly found in many of these diseases, and this makes it easier to point the diagnosis in the right direction.We review our experience in the diagnosis of cases of peroxisomal diseases with an altered VLCFA pattern; these were determined in serum only when there was a strong clinical suspicion up to the end of 1998, when their quantification by chromatography was introduced into our laboratory.The neuropaediatric database included 10,239 cases between May 1990 and 1st October 2007. Ten cases of peroxisomal disease with an altered VLCFA pattern were identified, all of them males. There were two cases of Zellweger syndrome spectrum, one unclassified peroxisomal oxidation defect and seven X-linked adrenoleukodystrophies (four with neurological compromise and three with no neurological damage; two were identified in siblings of patients and the other due to the presence of Addison's syndrome).In our 10 cases, the diagnosis was guided by the clinical or familial features that led to the determination of VLCFA. Being able to determine VLCFA makes early systematic diagnosis of patients possible. At present, VLCFA determination is performed when there is a clinical suspicion of Zellweger spectrum, suspected X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy/adrenomyeloneuropathy of unclear causation, Addison's disease, both in males and females, and above all in cases of chronic encephalopathy of unknown causation, with or without prenatal onset.