Myelination is a complex, developmentally regulated process whereby myelin proteins and lipids are coordinately expressed by myelinating glial cells. Homozygosity mapping in nine patients with childhood onset spasticity, dystonia, cognitive dysfunction, and periventricular white matter disease revealed inactivating mutations in the FA2H gene. FA2H encodes the enzyme fatty acid 2-hydroxylase that catalyzes the 2-hydroxylation of myelin galactolipids, galactosylceramide, and its sulfated form, sulfatide. To our knowledge, this is the first identified deficiency of a lipid component of myelin and the clinical phenotype underscores the importance of the 2-hydroxylation of galactolipids for myelin maturation. In patients with autosomal-recessive unclassified leukodystrophy or complex spastic paraparesis, sequence analysis of the FA2H gene is warranted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas