Neurol Sci. 2020 Oct 29. doi: 10.1007/s10072-020-04843-2. Online ahead of print.
At least 14 distinctive PEX genes function in the biogenesis of peroxisomes. Biallelic alterations in the peroxisomal biogenesis factor 12 (PEX12) gene lead to Zellweger syndrome spectrum (ZSS) with variable clinical expressivity ranging from early lethality to mildly affected with long-term survival. Herein, we define 20 patients derived from 14 unrelated Egyptian families, 19 of which show a homozygous PEX12 in-frame (c.1047_1049del p.(Gln349del)) deletion. This founder mutation, reported rarely outside of Egypt, was associated with a uniformly severe phenotype. Patients showed developmental delay in early life followed by motor and mental regression, progressive hypotonia, unsteadiness, and lack of speech. Seventeen patients had sparse hair or partial alopecia, a striking feature that was not noted previously in PEX12. Neonatal cholestasis was manifested in 2 siblings. Neurodiagnostics showed consistent cerebellar atrophy and variable white matter demyelination, axonal neuropathy in about half, and cardiomyopathy in 10% of patients. A single patient with a compound heterozygous PEX12 mutation exhibited milder features with late childhood onset with gait disturbance and learning disability. Thus, the PEX12 relatively common founder mutation accounts for the majority of PEX12-related disease in Egypt and delineates a uniform clinical and radiographic phenotype.