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Pediatr Res. 1983 Jun;17(6):514-7.

Biochemical studies in the liver and muscle of patients with Zellweger syndrome.


Biochemical studies have been performed in muscle, liver, leukocytes, and fibroblasts from patients suffering from the Zellweger syndrome. Oxidation rates of [1-14C]pyruvate, [U-14C]malate, and [1-14C]2-oxoglutarate were strongly reduced in skeletal muscle homogenate. Oxygen consumption in isolated skeletal muscle mitochondria could only be stimulated by ADP in the presence of ascorbate and N,N,N1,N1-tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine. Cytochrome contents in heart muscle and liver mitochondria were normal. A very low activity of succinate-ubiquinone oxidoreductase was found in liver homogenate of two patients. From the effect of 2-thenoyltrifluoroacetone on the succinate-phenazine methosulphate oxidoreductase activity, a nearly competitive inhibition with respect to phenazine methosulphate was demonstrated in contrast with a non-competitive inhibition in controls. Normal oxidation rate of [1-14C]pyruvate and [2-14C]pyruvate was found in leucocytes and fibroblasts. Lactate and pyruvate levels were normal in serum and cerebrospinal fluid and beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate levels were normal in blood. The ratios lactate/pyruvate and beta-hydroxybutyrate/acetoacetate were normal as well. These findings point to a defect in the electron transport chain at the succinate-ubiquinone oxidoreductase level. This defect might be related to the absence of peroxisomes in the cells of Zellweger patients.

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