Plasma bile acids in patients with peroxisomal dysfunction syndromes: analysis by capillary gas chromatography — mass spectrometry


Six patients with disorders of peroxisomal function have been studied. Two presented in the neonatal period with the classical features of the Zellweger syndrome, two had incomplete Zellweger phenotypes, one infantile Refsum's disease and one rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata. Plasma bile acid profiles were determined using capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In all patients, except the case of chondrodysplasia punctata, 27-carbon and 29-carbon bile acids were present. The compounds identified included trihydroxycoprostanic acid (THCA), dihydroxycoprostanic acid (DHCA), C24-, C25- and C26-hydroxylated derivatives of THCA, a 27-carbon acid with four nuclear hydroxy groups and 3α,7α,12α-trihydroxy-27a,27b-dihomo-5β-cholestan-26, 27b-dioic acid (C29-dicarboxylic acid). THCA was present at a low concentration in the patient with infantile Refsum's disease; the concentration of DHCA and the C29 dicarboxylic acid were considerably higher. The presence of abnormal bile acids in patients with Zellweger syndrome and infantile Refsum's disease could be explained by the absence of peroxisomes from their hepatocytes. In chondrodysplasia punctata the cause of peroxisomal dysfunction must be different, since normal bile acid synthesis is preserved.

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Correspondence to P. T. Clayton.

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Abbreviations: For abbreviations and trivial names of bile acids see Table 2 GC — gas-liquid chromatography; GC-MS — gasliquid chromatography-mass spectrometry; HPLC — high pressure liquid chromatography; TMS — trimethylsilyl ether; ZS —cerebrohepatorenal syndrome of Zellweger; RCP — rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata; VLCFA — very long chain fatty acids; DHAPAT — acyl coenzyme A: dihydroxyacetone phosphate acyl transferase

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Clayton, P.T., Lake, B.D., Hall, N.A. et al. Plasma bile acids in patients with peroxisomal dysfunction syndromes: analysis by capillary gas chromatography — mass spectrometry. Eur J Pediatr 146, 166–173 (1987).

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Key words

  • Bile acids
  • Gas chromatography
  • Peroxisomal disorders