Peroxisomal disorders I: biochemistry and genetics of peroxisome biogenesis disorders

Clin Genet. 2005 Feb;67(2):107-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2004.00329.x.


The peroxisomal disorders represent a group of genetic diseases in humans in which there is an impairment in one or more peroxisomal functions. The peroxisomal disorders are usually subdivided into two subgroups including (i) the peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBDs) and (ii) the single peroxisomal (enzyme-) protein deficiencies. The PBD group is comprised of four different disorders including Zellweger syndrome (ZS), neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy (NALD), infantile Refsum's disease (IRD), and rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata (RCDP). ZS, NALD, and IRD are clearly distinct from RCDP and are usually referred to as the Zellweger spectrum with ZS being the most severe and NALD and IRD the less severe disorders. Studies in the late 1980s had already shown that the PBD group is genetically heterogeneous with at least 12 distinct genetic groups as concluded from complementation studies. Thanks to the much improved knowledge about peroxisome biogenesis notably in yeasts and the successful extrapolation of this knowledge to humans, the genes responsible for all these complementation groups have been identified making molecular diagnosis of PBD patients feasible now. It is the purpose of this review to describe the current stage of knowledge about the clinical, biochemical, cellular, and molecular aspects of PBDs, and to provide guidelines for the post- and prenatal diagnosis of PBDs. Less progress has been made with respect to the pathophysiology and therapy of PBDs. The increasing availability of mouse models for these disorders is a major step forward in this respect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Peroxisomal Disorders / genetics*
  • Peroxisomal Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Yeasts / genetics