Neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy: new cases, biochemical studies, and differentiation from Zellweger and related peroxisomal polydystrophy syndromes

Am J Med Genet. 1986 Apr;23(4):869-901. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320230404.


Eight new cases of autopsy-confirmed or suspected neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy (NALD) are presented together with new biochemical data on very-long-chain fatty acids (VLCFA) and plasmalogens and a review of all previously published cases. The clinical, biochemical, and histopathologic abnormalities characteristic of this newly recognized form of adrenoleukodystrophy are analyzed in detail and compared to the principal characteristics of the similar disorder, the cerebrohepatorenal syndrome of Zellweger (ZS). Using strict pathologic criteria for the diagnosis of NALD, we find that, despite many clinical resemblances, NALD and the ZS are distinguishable on the basis of histology and peroxisomal biochemistry. Patients with NALD demonstrate adrenal atrophy, systemic infiltration by abnormal lipid-laden macrophages, and elevations of saturated VLCFA. In contrast, patients with ZS have chondrodysplasia, glomerulocystic disease of the kidney, central nervous system dysmyelination, and elevations of unsaturated as well as saturated VLCFA, but they lack adrenal atrophy. We conclude that NALD and the ZS probably represent at least two different genetic defects.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / diagnosis
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics
  • Adrenal Gland Diseases / pathology
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy / congenital*
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy / diagnosis
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy / genetics
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diffuse Cerebral Sclerosis of Schilder / congenital*
  • Face / abnormalities
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kidney / abnormalities
  • Liver / abnormalities
  • Liver Diseases / pathology
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Male
  • Microbodies / metabolism
  • Microbodies / ultrastructure
  • Skull / abnormalities
  • Syndrome