Characterization of Severity in Zellweger Spectrum Disorder by Clinical Findings: A Scoping Review, Meta-Analysis and Medical Chart Review

Mousumi Bose, Christine Yergeau, Yasmin D’souza, David D. Cuthbertson, Melisa J. Lopez, Alyssa K. Smolen, Nancy E. Braverman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Zellweger spectrum disorder (ZSD) is a rare, debilitating genetic disorder of peroxisome biogenesis that affects multiple organ systems and presents with broad clinical heterogeneity. Al-though severe, intermediate, and mild forms of ZSD have been described, these designations are often arbitrary, presenting difficulty in understanding individual prognosis and treatment effectiveness. The purpose of this study is to conduct a scoping review and meta-analysis of existing literature and a medical chart review to determine if characterization of clinical findings can predict severity in ZSD. Our PubMed search for articles describing severity, clinical findings, and survival in ZSD resulted in 107 studies (representing 307 patients) that were included in the review and meta-analysis. We also collected and analyzed these same parameters from medical records of 136 ZSD individuals from our natural history study. Common clinical findings that were significantly different across severity categories included seizures, hypotonia, reduced mobility, feeding difficulties, renal cysts, adrenal insufficiency, hearing and vision loss, and a shortened lifespan. Our primary data analysis also revealed significant differences across severity categories in failure to thrive, gastroesophageal reflux, bone fractures, global developmental delay, verbal communication difficulties, and cardiac abnormalities. Univariable multinomial logistic modeling analysis of clinical findings and very long chain fatty acid (VLCFA) hexacosanoic acid (C26:0) levels showed that the number of clinical findings present among seizures, abnormal EEG, renal cysts, and cardiac abnormalities, as well as plasma C26:0 fatty acid levels could differentiate severity categories. We report the largest characterization of clinical findings in relation to overall disease severity in ZSD. This information will be useful in determining appropriate outcomes for specific subjects in clinical trials for ZSD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1891
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • PEX genes
  • Zellweger spectrum disorder
  • disease severity
  • feeding difficulties
  • hexacosanoic acid
  • medical chart review
  • peroxisome biogenesis disorder
  • renal cysts
  • scoping review
  • seizure disorder
  • signs and symptoms
  • survival


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