D-bifunctional protein deficiency (DBPD) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by a defect in peroxisomal β-oxidation. The majority of patients suffer from a severe neurological disease with neonatal hypotonia and seizures and die within the first 2 years of life. Few patients show milder clinical phenotypes with prolonged survival. The diagnosis relies on the clinical presentation, measurement of peroxisomal markers, including very long chain fatty acids (VLCFA) in plasma, followed by enzymatic studies in fibroblasts and genetic testing. Diagnosis can be difficult to establish in milder cases, especially if VLCFA concentration in plasma is not or only mildly elevated. We report on siblings in which initial measurement of plasma VLCFA did not indicate a peroxisomal disease. Nevertheless, cMRI showed a pattern typical for an inborn peroxisomal disease with cerebral and cerebellar leukencephalopathy, perisylvic polymicrogyria, and frontoparietal pachygyria. Repeated measurements of peroxisomal metabolites in plasma prompted by the cMRI findings showed values in the upper normal or mildly elevated range and led to further diagnostic steps. The diagnosis of a type III DBPD with a missense mutation (T15A) in the HSD17B4 gene, coding for D-bifunctional protein (DBP), could be established. We conclude that a typical "peroxisomal pattern" in cMRI including cerebral and cerebellar leukencephalopathy, perisylvic polymicrogyria and pachygyria is a valuable clue to the diagnosis of DBPD, especially in cases with no or only very mild abnormalities in plasma.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)