Lorenzo's oil and platelet activation in adrenomyeloneuropathy and asymptomatic X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy

A. Konijnenberg, B. M. van Geel, A. Sturk, M. C. Schaap, A. E. von dem Borne, L. G. de Bruijne-Admiraal, R. B. Schutgens, J. Assies, P. G. Barth

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4 Citations (Scopus)


X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) is an inherited disorder of peroxisomal beta-oxidation, which results in accumulation of very long-chain fatty acids, causing damage to the nervous system, adrenal cortex and testis. The two most frequent phenotypes are childhood cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy (CCALD) and adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN). Some affected males demonstrate no clinical signs (asymptomatic ALD), whereas female carriers can also be affected. Patients with X-ALD have been treated with Lorenzo's oil, a 4:1 combination of oleic acid and erucic acid, with thrombocytopenia as the main side effect and sometimes leading to a hemorrhagic diathesis. We studied platelet count, size and membrane surface exposure of platelet activation antigens in 17 adult X-ALD patients. Eight patients used the prescribed amount of erucic acid (as glyceroltrierucate) or more (very compliant), five used less(compliant), and four did not use the diet. All eight very compliant patients had highly enlarged platelets and seven manifested thrombocytopenia. An enhanced in vivo platelet activation status was established by increased platelet surface expression of P-selectin (CD62P, PADGEM, GMP-140) in five of the seven thrombocytopenic patients, and of increased fibrinogen receptor exposure (measured with the antibody PAC-1) in three of these five patients. The other nine compliant or untreated patients had normal platelet counts and, generally, normal P-selection and fibrinogen receptor expression. A diet-induced 7- to 27-fold enrichment of erucic acid was observed in the platelets of the four patients studied. We conclude that the thrombocytopenia in AMN patients using Lorenzo'soil is associated with circulating platelets that have an increased erucic acid content, size and activation status. We hypothesize that the erucic acid in some way induces the increased size and thus, directly or indirectly, increased platelet activation or instability in vivo. This then causes the thrombocytopenia, with circulating platelets representing a population that has not yet been sufficiently changed to be removed, but has clear signs of activation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-48
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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