Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis of very long chain fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid, phytanic acid and plasmalogen for the screening of peroxisomal disorders.


Takemoto Y, Suzuki Y, Horibe R, Shimozawa N, Wanders RJ, Kondo N.




Brain Dev


Very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), phytanic acid, and plasmalogens are usually measured individually. A novel method for the screening of peroxisomal disorders, using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), was developed. Saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, including VLCFAs and DHA, phytanic acid, and plasmalogen were detected by a selected ion monitoring-electron impact method, using 100 microl of serum or plasma. Methyl-esterification and extraction could be done in one tube, and data were obtained within 4 h. All patients with Zellweger syndrome (ZS), X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), isolated deficiency of peroxisomal beta-oxidation enzyme, and most ALD carriers showed increased VLCFA ratios, including C24:0/C22:0, C25:0/C22:0 and C26:0/C22:0. The ratio of DHA to palmitic acid (C16:0) and plasmalogen (measured as hexadecanal dimethyl acetal) to C16:0 in ZS patients was significantly lower than for the controls (P<0.001 for healthy high school students, P<0.05 for infants with other disorders). Plasmalogen was also decreased in patients with isolated deficiency of plasmalogen biosynthesis. Two of eight patients with ZS, two of four with RCDP, and all of three classical Refsum patients showed increased levels of phytanic acid. This method will simplify the screening for peroxisomal disorders.