The peroxisomal disorders represent a group of genetic diseases in man in which there is an impairment in one or more peroxisomal functions. The peroxisomal disorders are subdivided into three subgroups comprising: (1) the peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBDs); (2) the single peroxisomal (enzyme-) protein deficiencies; and (3) the single peroxisomal substrate transport deficiencies. The PBD group comprises four different disorders that include Zellweger syndrome (ZS), neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy (NALD), infantile Refsum 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 IRD the less severe disorder, with sometimes onset in adulthood. The single peroxisomal enzyme deficiency group comprises seven different disorders, of which D-bifunctional protein and phytanoyl-CoA hydroxylase (adult Refsum disease) deficiencies are the most frequent. The single peroxisomal substrate transport deficiency group consists of only one disease, X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy. It is the purpose of this chapter to describe the current state of knowledge about the clinical, biochemical, cellular, and molecular aspects of peroxisomal diseases, and to provide guidelines for their post- and prenatal diagnosis. Therapeutic interventions are mostly limited to X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy.
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