X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (XALD, MIM 300100), the commonest inherited peroxisomal disorder, is characterized by central nervous system demyelination, primary adrenal failure and the systemic accumulation of saturated very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs). The defective gene ABCD1 encodes an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transport protein named ALDP, which functions as a crucial transporter of VLCFAs into the peroxisomes for beta-oxidation. Here, we report a Chinese man with adrenomyeloneuropathy characterized by Addison's disease and spastic paraparesis. His plasma VLCFA levels, ratios of C24:0/C22:0 and C26:0/C22:0 were all significantly elevated. We performed mutation analysis of the ABCD1 gene in the proband and the family members using direct DNA sequencing and restriction analysis. A novel insertion 496_497insG in exon 1 causing a frame shift and a premature stop codon at amino acid position 194 (D194X) was identified (GenBank accession No. NM_000033). The insertional mutation abolishes an HhaI restriction site. The same mutation was found in his mother and the eldest sister even though their clinical and biochemical abnormalities were milder. Diagnosis of XALD often relies upon the detection of elevated VLCFA levels and ratios of C26:0/C22:0 and C24:0/C22:0 in fasting blood, however, 5-15% of the obligate heterozygotes would give normal values. DNA-based testing thus remains the most reliable tool for heterozygote detection when the disease-causing mutations are known. Using restriction fragment length polymorphism with HhaI, we have devised a rapid method for the identification of the carriers among the proband's family members and possibly for the screening of the mutations in other XALD patients.
Copyright 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.