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Gastroenterology. 1980 Dec;79(6):1311-7.

Liver in the cerebro-hepato-renal syndrome: defective bile acid synthesis and abnormal mitochondria.


Two infants with the cerebro-hepato-renal syndrome (Zellweger's disease) exhibited cholestasis and progressive liver damage. Because abnormalities of mitochondrial structure and function have been reported in this condition, we examined the bile acids for evidence of defects in the mitochondrial phase of bile acid synthesis, namely, oxidation of the cholesterol side chain to form C-24 bile acids. The presence of increased amounts of the C-27 bile acid intermediates (trihydroxycoprostanic acid, varanic acid, and dihydroxycoprostanic acid) were noted and identified by gas-liquid chromatography-mass spectrosocopy confirming that a defect in the mitochondrial pathways for bile acid side chain cleavage is involved in this entity. The clinical course, liver histopathology, and hepatocyte ultrastructural abnormalities suggest that these bile acids may reflect an underlying mitochondrial dysfunction in this disease and possibly may contribute to the progressive hepatic lobular fibrosis observed in these patients.

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