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Atlanta, GA, United States

Farook M.F.,UTHSC | DeCuypere M.,UTHSC | Hyland K.,Medical Neurogenetics | Takumi T.,Hiroshima University | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Childhood neurodevelopmental disorders like Angelman syndrome and autism may be the result of underlying defects in neuronal plasticity and ongoing problems with synaptic signaling. Some of these defects may be due to abnormal monoamine levels in different regions of the brain. Ube3a, a gene that causes Angelman syndrome (AS) when maternally deleted and is associated with autism when maternally duplicated has recently been shown to regulate monoamine synthesis in the Drosophila brain. Therefore, we examined monoamine levels in striatum, ventral midbrain, frontal cerebral cortex, cerebellar cortex and hippocampus in Ube3a deficient and Ube3a duplication animals. We found that serotonin (5HT), a monoamine affected in autism, was elevated in the striatum and cortex of AS mice. Dopamine levels were almost uniformly elevated compared to control littermates in the striatum, midbrain and frontal cortex regardless of genotype in Ube3a deficient and Ube3a duplication animals. In the duplication 15q autism mouse model, paternal but not maternal duplication animals showed a decrease in 5HT levels when compared to their wild type littermates, in accordance with previously published data. However, maternal duplication animals show no significant changes in 5HT levels throughout the brain. These abnormal monoamine levels could be responsible for many of the behavioral abnormalities observed in both AS and autism, but further investigation is required to determine if any of these changes are purely dependent on Ube3a levels in the brain. © 2012 Farook et al.

Friedman J.,University of California at San Diego | Roze E.,UMRS 975 | Abdenur J.E.,Childrens Hospital of Orange County | Chang R.,Childrens Hospital of Orange County | And 23 more authors.
Annals of Neurology | Year: 2012

Objective: Sepiapterin reductase deficiency (SRD) is an under-recognized levodopa-responsive disorder. We describe clinical, biochemical, and molecular findings in a cohort of patients with this treatable condition. We aim to improve awareness of the phenotype and available diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to reduce delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, optimize management, and improve understanding of pathophysiologic mechanisms. Methods: Forty-three individuals with SRD were identified from 23 international medical centers. The phenotype and treatment response were assessed by chart review using a detailed standardized instrument and by literature review for cases for which records were unavailable. Results: In most cases, motor and language delays, axial hypotonia, dystonia, weakness, oculogyric crises, and diurnal fluctuation of symptoms with sleep benefit become evident in infancy or childhood. Average age of onset is 7 months, with delay to diagnosis of 9.1 years. Misdiagnoses of cerebral palsy (CP) are common. Most patients benefit dramatically from levodopa/carbidopa, often with further improvement with the addition of 5-hydroxytryptophan. Cerebrospinal fluid findings are distinctive. Diagnosis is confirmed by mutation analysis and/or enzyme activity measurement in cultured fibroblasts. Interpretation: Common, clinical findings of SRD, aside from oculogyric crises and diurnal fluctuation, are nonspecific and mimic CP with hypotonia or dystonia. Patients usually improve dramatically with treatment. Consequently, we recommend consideration of SRD not only in patients with levodopa-responsive motor disorders, but also in patients with developmental delays with axial hypotonia, and patients with unexplained or atypical presumed CP. Biochemical investigation of cerebrospinal fluid is the preferred method of initial investigation. Early diagnosis and treatment are recommended to prevent ongoing brain dysfunction. Copyright © 2012 American Neurological Association.

Rognum I.J.,Boston Childrens Hospital | Rognum I.J.,University of Oslo | Tran H.,Boston Childrens Hospital | Haas E.A.,Rady Childrens Hospital | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology | Year: 2014

Forensic biomarkers are needed in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to help identify this group among other sudden unexpected deaths in infancy. Previously, we reported multiple serotonergic (5-HT) abnormalities in nuclei of the medulla oblongata that help mediate protective responses to homeostatic stressors. As a first step toward their assessment as forensic biomarkers of medullary pathology, here we test the hypothesis that 5-HT-related measures are abnormal in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of SIDS infants compared with those of autopsy controls. Levels of CSF 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) and homovanillic acid (HVA), the degradative products of 5-HT and dopamine, respectively, were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography in 52 SIDS and 29 non-SIDS autopsy cases. Tryptophan (Trp) and tyrosine (Tyr), the substrates of 5-HT and dopamine, respectively, were also measured. There were no significant differences in 5-HIAA, Trp, HVA, or Tyr levels between the SIDS and non-SIDS groups. These data preclude the use of 5-HIAA, HVA, Trp, or Tyr measurements as CSF autopsy biomarkers of 5-HT medullary pathology in infants who have died suddenly and unexpectedly. They do, however, provide important information about monoaminergic measurements in human CSF at autopsy and their developmental profile in infancy that is applicable to multiple pediatric disorders beyond SIDS. © 2014 by the American Association of Neuropathologists, Inc.

D'Aco K.E.,Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia | D'Aco K.E.,University of Rochester | Bearden D.,Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia | Watkins D.,McGill University | And 3 more authors.
Pediatric Neurology | Year: 2014

Background 5,10-Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) deficiency is an inborn error of the folate-recycling pathway that affects the remethylation of homocysteine to methionine. The clinical presentation of MTHFR deficiency is highly variable ranging from early neurological deterioration and death in infancy to a mild thrombophilia in adults. Patient and Methods We describe an adolescent girl with a history of mild learning disabilities who presented at age 14 years with an epilepsy syndrome initially thought to be juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. She later developed intractable epilepsy with myoclonus, leg weakness, cognitive decline, and ataxia consistent with the syndrome of progressive myoclonic epilepsy. This prompted further evaluation that revealed elevated plasma homocysteine and decreased plasma methionine. The diagnosis of MTHFR deficiency was confirmed based on extremely reduced fibroblast MTHFR activity (0.3 nmol CHO/mg prot/hr) as well as mutation analysis that revealed two variants in the MTHFR gene, a splice site mutation p (IVS5-1G>A), as well as a missense mutation (c.155 G>A; p. Arg52Gln). Therapy with folinic acid, betaine, and methionine has produced significant clinical improvement, including improved strength, less severe ataxia, and decreased seizure frequency, as well as improvements in her electroencephalography and electromyography. Conclusion This patient demonstrates the importance of considering MTHFR deficiency in the differential diagnosis of progressive myoclonic epilepsy because it is one of the few causes for which specific treatment is available. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Allen G.F.G.,University College London | Neergheen V.,Neurometabolic Unit | Oppenheim M.,Neurometabolic Unit | Fitzgerald J.C.,University College London | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Neurochemistry | Year: 2010

Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate, the active form of vitamin B6, is an essential cofactor for multiple enzymes, including aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase that catalyses the final stage in the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. In two patients with inherited disorders of vitamin B6 metabolism, we observed reductions in plasma aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase activity. In one patient, this change was related to an increase in Km for pyridoxal 5′-phosphate. Furthermore, pyridoxal 5′-phosphate-deficient human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells were found to exhibit reduced levels of aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase activity and protein but with no alteration in expression. Further reductions in activity and protein were observed with the addition of the vitamin B6 antagonist 4-deoxypyridoxine, which also reduced aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase mRNA levels. Neither pyridoxal 5′-phosphate deficiency nor the addition of 4-deoxypyridoxine affected aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase stability over 8 h with protein synthesis inhibited. Increasing extracellular availability of pyridoxal 5′-phosphate was not found to have any significant effect on intracellular pyridoxal 5′-phosphate concentrations or on aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase. These findings suggest that maintaining adequate pyridoxal 5′-phosphate availability may be important for optimal treatment of aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase deficiency and l-dopa-responsive conditions. © 2010 International Society for Neurochemistry.

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