Peroxisomal disorders include a complex spectrum of diseases, characterized by a high heterogeneity from both the clinical and the biochemical points of view. Specific assays are required for the study of peroxisome metabolism. Among these, pipecolic acid evaluation is considered as a supplementary test. We have established the diagnostic role of pipecolic acid in 30 patients affected by a peroxisomal defect (5 Zellweger syndromes, 10 Infantile Refsum diseases, 1 neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy, 6 patients affected by a peroxisomal biogenesis disorder with unclassified phenotype, 1 case of rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata (RCDP), 2 acyl-CoA oxidase deficiencies, 2 bifunctional enzyme deficiencies, 2 Refsum diseases, and 1 β-oxidation deficiency). Pipecolic acid was increased in all generalized peroxisomal disorders, while normal pipecolic acid with abnormal very long chain fatty acid concentrations was strong evidence for a single peroxisomal enzyme deficiency. Unexpectedly, hyperpipecolic acidaemia was found also in a child affected by RCDP and in two patients with Refsum disease. In six patients the suggestion of a peroxisomal disorder was raised by the fortuitous finding of a pipecolic acid peak in amino acid chromatography, routinely performed as a general metabolic screening. For all patients, pipecolic acid proved to be a useful parameter in the biochemical classification of peroxisomal disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism