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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2007 Feb;49(2):152-4.

Sjögren-Larsson syndrome.

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Sjögren-Larsson syndrome is a recessively inherited syndrome caused by deficiency of fatty aldehyde dehydrogenase. The most common symptoms and signs are described, especially ichthyosis, spastic diplegia, and severe learning difficulties; but also other less frequent ones. Special investigations include sensory evoked potentials, electromyography, and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Post-mortem examination shows, in particular, an accumulation of lipid substances in specific regions of the brain. The diagnosis depends on the measurement of fatty aldehyde dehydrogenase in cultured fibroblasts from skin biopsies, and by identifying known mutations by allele-specific polymerase chain reaction assay. Prenatal diagnosis is possible by using the same technique. The disorder is located on gene 17, and many mutations have been identified. Most mutations are unique to an affected family, but clinical variations may be due to unknown genetic and environmental factors. The deficiency of the enzyme impairs the oxidation of medium and long chain fatty aldehydes, and this may explain the link between the brain and skin disorders. The treatment of affected children needs input from a number of specialists, and their contributions are discussed.

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