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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Mar;1781(3):105-11. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2007.12.003. Epub 2007 Dec 28.

Cholesterol-deprivation increases mono-unsaturated very long-chain fatty acids in skin fibroblasts from patients with X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy.

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  • 1Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Laboratory Genetic Metabolic Diseases, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) is the most common peroxisomal disorder and is characterized by a striking and unpredictable variation in phenotypic expression. It ranges from a rapidly progressive and fatal cerebral demyelinating disease in childhood (CCALD), to the milder slowly progressive form in adulthood (AMN). X-ALD is caused by mutations in the ABCD1 gene that encodes a peroxisomal membrane located ABC half-transporter named ALDP. Mutations in ALDP result in reduced beta-oxidation of very long-chain fatty acids (VLCFA, >22 carbon atoms) in peroxisomes and elevated levels of VLCFA in plasma and tissues. Previously, it has been shown that culturing skin fibroblasts from X-ALD patients in lipoprotein-deficient medium results in reduced VLCFA levels and increased expression of the functionally redundant ALD-related protein (ALDRP). The aim of this study was to further resolve the interaction between cholesterol and VLCFA metabolism in X-ALD. Our data show that the reduction in 26:0 in X-ALD fibroblasts grown in lipoprotein-deficient culture medium (free of cholesterol) is offset by a significant increase in both the level and synthesis of 26:1. We also demonstrate that cholesterol-deprivation results in increased expression of stearoyl-CoA-desaturase (SCD) and increased desaturation of 18:0 to 18:1. Finally, there was no increase in [1-(14)C]-26:0 beta-oxidation. Taken together, we conclude that cholesterol-deprivation reduces saturated VLCFA, but increases mono-unsaturated VLCFA. These data may have implications for treatment of X-ALD patients with lovastatin.

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