Peroxisomal disorder arises from the dysfunction of peroxisomes, tiny air bubbles surrounded by a membrane that are mainly responsible for detoxifying cells. Harmful hydrogen peroxides and very-long-chain fatty acids are metabolised there.
If the peroxisomes are damaged or absent, a toxic accumulation of very-long-chain fatty acids occurs. While scientists have focused primarily on these very-long-chain fatty acids, a recent study in LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn focused instead on the importance of medium-chain fatty acids.
The team worked with fruit flies as model organism. These flies lacked the gene that encodes peroxisomes, simulating peroxisome dysfunction in humans: brain cells in the flies had died, so they could neither crawl nor fly. "What was striking about these animals was that they showed a medium-chain fatty deficiency," reports lead author Dr. Julia Sellin, which led to their research being centred around the feeding of this deficient fatty acid.
The scientists put some flies with the missing gene on a diet of coconut oil (Group A), rich in medium-chain fatty acid. A control group was fed conventionally (Group B). It was found only 20% of flies from Group B developed further into adult specimens. Most of these died within 24 hours, while the normal life expectancy is around 40 to 50 days. In contrast, about 55% of flies from Group A produced adult flies that survived for several weeks.
Read more about this study over here: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-06/uob-cop062018.php