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J Pediatr. 1993 Apr;122(4):573-9.

Peroxisomal disorders in children: immunohistochemistry and neuropathology.

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Division of Mental Retardation and Birth Defect Research, National Institute of Neuroscience, Tokyo, Japan.


Immunohistochemical studies with antisera against four peroxisomal enzymes, catalase and beta-oxidation enzymes (acyl-coenzyme A oxidase, bifunctional protein, and 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase), were performed on brain, liver, and kidney specimens from patients with peroxisomal disorders, as well as specimens from three control subjects, by using conventional paraffin-embedded autopsy material. The patients included eight with Zellweger syndrome and one with neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy. In the liver and kidney specimens from all patients, except one with Zellweger syndrome, diffuse immunostaining with all antisera in the cytoplasm of hepatocytes and renal tubular epithelium suggested an absence of peroxisomes but the presence of peroxisomal enzymes. Examination of brain specimens indicated a weak or negative reaction of neurons in the cerebral cortex and a weak reaction of glial cells in the white matter, which suggested maturational delay compared with control subjects. The delayed immunoreactive pattern of peroxisomal enzymes in Zellweger syndrome and neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy may be related to the significant neuropathologic features of polymicrogyria and dysmyelinogenesis. One patient with Zellweger syndrome had a unique finding of a positive granular catalase reaction and a negative reaction with antisera to 3-ketoacyl-coenzyme A thiolase, which suggested a diagnosis of pseudo-Zellweger syndrome. This study validates the application of these immunohistochemical methods to the study of peroxisomal enzymes. Use of these methods improves the accuracy of diagnosis of peroxisomal disorders.

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