Atypical PEX16 peroxisome biogenesis disorder with mild biochemical disruptions and long survival

Nuha Al Zaabi, Anoud Kendi, Fatma Al-Jasmi, Shigeo Takashima, Nobuyuki Shimozawa, Osama Y. Al-Dirbashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mutations in PEX16 cause peroxisome biogenesis disorder (PBD). Zellweger syndrome characterized by neurological dysfunction, dysmorphic features, liver disease and early death represents the severe end of this clinical spectrum. Here we discuss the diagnostic challenge of atypical PEX16 related PBD in 3 patients from highly inbred kindred and describe the role of specific metabolites analyses, fibroblasts studies, whole-exome sequencing (WES) and metabolomics profiling to establish the diagnosis. Methods and patients: The proband is a 12-year-old male born to consanguineous parents. Despite normal development in the first year, regression and progressive spastic diplegia, poor coordination and dysarthria occurred thereafter. Patient 2 (3-year old female) and Patient 3 (19-month old female) shared similar clinical course with the proband. Biochemical studies on plasma and fibroblasts, WES and global metabolomics analyses were performed. Results: Very-long-chain fatty acids analysis showed subtle elevations in C26 and C26/C22. Global Metabolomics-Assisted Pathway profiling was not remarkable. Immunocytochemical investigations on fibroblasts revealed fewer catalase and PMP70-containing particles indicating aberrant peroxisomal assembly. Complementation studies were inconclusive. WES revealed a novel homozygous variant in PEX16 (c.859C>T). The biochemical profiles of Patient 2 and Patient 3 were similar to the proband and the same genotype was confirmed. Conclusion: This paper highlights the diagnostic challenge of PEX16 patients due to the widely variable clinical and biochemical phenotypes. It also emphasizes the important roles of combined biochemical assays with next generation sequencing techniques in reaching diagnosis in the context of atypical clinical presentations, subtle biomarker abnormalities and consanguinity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Atypical variant
  • PEX16 gene
  • Peroxisome biogenesis disorder
  • Zellweger syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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