X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy: diagnostic and follow-up system in Japan

J Hum Genet. 2011 Feb;56(2):106-9. doi: 10.1038/jhg.2010.139. Epub 2010 Nov 11.


X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is an intractable neurodegenerative disease associated with the accumulation of very long-chain saturated fatty acids (VLCFA) in tissues and body fluids. We have established a Japanese referral center for the diagnosis of ALD, using VLCFA measurements and mutation analysis of the ABCD1 gene, and have identified 60 kinds of mutations in 69 Japanese ALD families, which included 38 missense mutations, 6 nonsense mutations, 8 frame-shift mutations, 3 amino acid deletions, 2 exon-skip mutations and 3 large deletions. A total of 24 kinds of mutations (40%) were identified only in Japanese patients by referring to the current worldwide ALD mutation database. There was no clear correlation between these mutations and phenotypes of 81 male patients in these 69 families. About 12% of the individuals with ALD had de novo mutations by mutation analysis in the male probands and their mothers, which should be helpful data for genetic counseling. The only effective therapy for the cerebral form of ALD should be hematopoietic stem cell transplantation at the early stages of the cerebral symptoms, therefore, we performed presymptomatic diagnosis of ALD by extended familial screening of the probands with careful genetic counseling, and established a long follow-up system for these patients to prevent the progression of brain involvement and to monitor the adrenocortical insufficiency. Further elucidation of pathology in ALD, especially concerning the mechanisms of the onset of brain involvement, is expected.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenoleukodystrophy / diagnosis*
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy / genetics*
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy / pathology
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked / diagnosis*
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked / genetics*
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked / pathology
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Mutation
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Phenotype