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Atypical (Mild) Forms of Dihydropteridine Reductase Deficiency: Neurochemical Evaluation and Mutation Detection


ABSTRACT: We investigated two patients with an atypical (mild) form of dihydropteridine reductase (DHPR) deficiency. Both responded to the loading test with tetrahydrobiopterin; their plasma phenylalanine levels were lowered from 278 μmol/L to 85 and 48 μmol/L and from 460 μmol/L to 97 and 36 μmol/L after 4 and 8 h, respectively. In one of the patients, a combined loading test with phenylalanine followed by tetrahydrobiopterin was also carried out and showed a profile typical for DHPR deficiency. The phenylalanine hydroxylation rate was calculated to be 43 and 87%, 4 and 8 h after cofactor administration, respectively. Diagnosis was confirmed by the absence of DHPR activity in the patient's erythrocytes. In cultured fibroblasts, residual activity of 4 and 10%, respectively, was found. Excretion of urinary pterins was essentially normal, and the biopterin to neopterin ratio in cerebrospinal fluid was increased. Although in both patients cerebrospinal fluid homovanillic acid was found to be normal, and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid was substantially reduced, there was no sign of neurologic alterations until the age of 2 y. However, one of the patients recently developed deceleration of head growth, whereas psychomotor development continued to be normal for age. Using the chemical cleavage method on the amplified cDNA, mismatches of T to G at nucleotide 659 and of G to A at nucleotide 475, respectively, were identified. These results also demonstrate that screening for tetrahydrobiopterin deficiency by urinary pterin analysis alone can miss some newborns with mild DHPR deficiency and that all children with tetrahydrobiopterin defects need full neurochemical evaluation together with analysis of the enzyme activity.

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Correspondence to Nenad Blau.

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Blau, N., Heizmann, C., Sperl, W. et al. Atypical (Mild) Forms of Dihydropteridine Reductase Deficiency: Neurochemical Evaluation and Mutation Detection. Pediatr Res 32, 726–730 (1992).

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