Blood phenylalanine instability strongly correlates with anxiety in phenylketonuria.
ABSTRACT: We assessed the relationship between anxiety and long-term metabolic control in adolescents with phenylketonuria (PKU). We used a standardized psychological test to measure anxiety level and analyzed lifelong blood phenylalanine stability in a selected group of 25 PKU teenagers with treatment adherence problems. We demonstrated significant correlations of anxiety with variability of blood phenylalanine concentrations and with severity of hyperphenylalaninemia. Avoiding blood phenylalanine fluctuations in childhood can probably reduce anxiety in PKU adolescents.
Project description:Phenylketonuria (PKU), with its associated hyperphenylalaninemia (HPA) and mental retardation, is a classic genetic disease and the first to have an identified chemical cause of impaired cognitive development. Treatment from birth with a low phenylalanine diet largely prevents the deviant cognitive phenotype by ameliorating HPA and is recognized as one of the first effective treatments of a genetic disease. However, compliance with dietary treatment is difficult and when it is for life, as now recommended by an internationally used set of guidelines, is probably unrealistic. Herein we describe experiments on a mouse model using another modality for treatment of PKU compatible with better compliance using ancillary phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL, EC 220.127.116.11) to degrade phenylalanine, the harmful nutrient in PKU; in this treatment, PAL acts as a substitute for the enzyme phenylalanine monooxygenase (EC 18.104.22.168), which is deficient in PKU. PAL, a robust enzyme without need for a cofactor, converts phenylalanine to trans-cinnamic acid, a harmless metabolite. We describe (i) an efficient recombinant approach to produce PAL enzyme, (ii) testing of PAL in orthologous N-ethyl-N'-nitrosourea (ENU) mutant mouse strains with HPA, and (iii) proofs of principle (PAL reduces HPA)-both pharmacologic (with a clear dose-response effect vs. HPA after PAL injection) and physiologic (protected enteral PAL is significantly effective vs. HPA). These findings open another way to facilitate treatment of this classic genetic disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND: There is evidence in support of low bone density in young patients with disorders of phenylalanine metabolism; however, little is known about muscle and fat mass in these patients, especially in those with mild hyperphenylalaninemia (mHPA). OBJECTIVES: We aimed to evaluate body composition of children and adolescents with early-diagnosed disorders of phenylalanine metabolism. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The study was conducted in the Institute of Child Health, which is the national center that performs newborn screening. Bone, muscle, and fat mass of 48 patients with phenylketonuria (PKU) and 32 patients with mild mHPA, aged five to 18 years, were compared to 57 age- and sex-matched controls. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry was used for this purpose. RESULTS: Compared to controls, bone mineral density (BMD) was lower in patients with PKU (mean total body BMD z score, 0.11; P = 0.03) and in those with mild mHPA (mean lumbar BMD z score, -0.34; P = 0.01). Lean body mass and fat mass were not significantly affected in the study group. Comparison between the two patients groups did not reveal any difference in body composition profiles; however, pubertal status appeared important for within-group comparisons. Fat mass was significantly increased in teenagers with PKU, which was more evident in those with poor dietary compliance irrespective of gender (fat mass z score, 0.66; P = 0.018). Finally, positive correlations were found not only between bone, muscle, and fat mass in both groups, but also between fat mass and Phenylalanine levels in patients with PKU (r, 0.46; P = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Bone mineral density appears suboptimal in young patients with disorders of phenylalanine metabolism. Adolescents seemed more prone to obesity, especially when their dietary adherence was poor, whereas muscle mass was not considerably affected. To ensure healthier bones and less fat content, close follow-up as well as proper lifestyle advice is needed.
Project description:Hyperphenylalaninemia-related, subtle deficits of attention and of working memory are often reported in adolescents with phenylketonuria. Focused neuropsychological tests can be used to detect such deficits and to confirm the presence of poor metabolic control in the periods between routine blood phenylalanine tests, which are rarely performed in many patients from this age group due to their low treatment adherence.We assessed the practical value of the d2 test of attention and of the Benton visual retention test for identification of teenagers, who have a high risk of brain dysfunction due to hyperphenylalaninemia. We analyzed the correlation between neuropsychological test scores achieved by 30 patients and their blood phenylalanine profiles since the neonatal period.We observed strong correlation between the Concentration Performance scores on the d2 test and the quality of metabolic control within last month prior to the follow-up visit in the outpatient clinic (r = -0.72; p = 0.0003). The mean z-score was significantly higher in patients with good metabolic control than in those with poorly controlled hyperphenylalaninemia (0.44 vs. -1.12; p = 0.00002). On contrary, the results of the Benton visual retention test did not correlate significantly with the individual blood phenylalanine profiles.We believe that neuropsychological assessment should be used in adolescents with phenylketonuria on a regular basis in order to increase the self-awareness in these patients and, consequently, to increase their treatment adherence and safety. The d2 test can be effectively used for detection of attention deficits and seems to be a valuable supplementary procedure for routine follow-up.
Project description:To determine the prevalence of 6R-Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) responsive phenylketonuria (PKU) in 53 cases of patients with various classification of hyperphenylalaninemia and PKU Excluding the BH4 deficient type referring to children's medical center in Iran (phenylalanine 360-2420 μmol/L), the single dose of 20 mg/kg (Kuvan®) and duration of 24 h was used.Among the 4 different categories of mild hyperphenylalaninemia requiring treatment, mild, moderate and classic PKU, the BH4 responders were 90%, 35.7%, 5.6% and 0% respectively after 24 h.BH4 responsiveness is more prevalent in mild hyperphenylalaninemia and mild PKU patients in Iran.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Phenylketonuria (PKU) is caused by the inherited defect of the phenylalanine hydroxylase enzyme, which converts phenylalanine (Phe) into tyrosine (Tyr). Neonatal screening programs and early treatment have radically changed the natural history of PKU. Nevertheless, an increased risk of neurocognitive and psychiatric problems in adulthood remains a challenging aspect of the disease. In order to assess the vulnerability of complex skills to Phe, we explored: (a) the effect of a rapid increase in blood Phe levels on event-related potentials (ERP) in PKU subjects during their second decade of life; (b) the association (if existing) between psychophysiological and neurocognitive features. METHODS:Seventeen early-treated PKU subjects, aged 10-20, underwent ERP [mismatch negativity, auditory P300, contingent negative variation (CNV), and Intensity Dependence of Auditory Evoked Potentials] recording before and 2?h after an oral loading of Phe. Neurocognitive functioning, historical and concurrent biochemical values of blood Phe, Tyr, and Phe/Tyr ratio, were all included in the statistical analysis. RESULTS:Event-related potential components were normally detected in all the subjects. In subjects younger than 13 CNV amplitude, W2-CNV area, P3b latency, and reaction times in motor responses were negatively influenced by Phe-loading. Independently from the psychophysiological vulnerability, some neurocognitive skills were more impaired in younger patients. No correlation was found between biochemical alterations and neurocognitive and psychophysiological findings. CONCLUSION:The vulnerability of the emerging neurocognitive functions to Phe suggests a strict metabolic control in adolescents affected by PKU and a neurodevelopmental approach in the study of neurocognitive outcome in PKU.
Project description:Phenylketonuria (PKU) due to recessively inherited phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) deficiency results in hyperphenylalaninemia, which is toxic to the central nervous system. Restriction of dietary phenylalanine intake remains the standard of PKU care and prevents the major neurologic manifestations of the disease, yet shortcomings of dietary therapy remain, including poor adherence to a difficult and unpalatable diet, an increased incidence of neuropsychiatric illness, and imperfect neurocognitive outcomes. Gene therapy for PKU is a promising novel approach to promote lifelong neurological protection while allowing unrestricted dietary phenylalanine intake. In this study, liver-tropic recombinant AAV2/8 vectors were used to deliver CRISPR/Cas9 machinery and facilitate correction of the Pah enu2 allele by homologous recombination. Additionally, a non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) inhibitor, vanillin, was co-administered with the viral drug to promote homology-directed repair (HDR) with the AAV-provided repair template. This combinatorial drug administration allowed for lifelong, permanent correction of the Pah enu2 allele in a portion of treated hepatocytes of mice with PKU, yielding partial restoration of liver PAH activity, substantial reduction of blood phenylalanine, and prevention of maternal PKU effects during breeding. This work reveals that CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing is a promising tool for permanent PKU gene editing.
Project description:Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an autosomal recessive inborn error of phenylalanine (Phe) metabolism resulting from deficiency of phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH). Most forms of PKU and hyperphenylalaninaemia (HPA) are caused by mutations in the PAH gene on chromosome 12q23.2. Untreated PKU is associated with an abnormal phenotype which includes growth failure, poor skin pigmentation, microcephaly, seizures, global developmental delay and severe intellectual impairment. However, since the introduction of newborn screening programs and with early dietary intervention, children born with PKU can now expect to lead relatively normal lives. A better understanding of the biochemistry, genetics and molecular basis of PKU, as well as the need for improved treatment options, has led to the development of new therapeutic strategies.
Project description:Phenylalanine hydroxylase-deficient (PAH-deficient) phenylketonuria (PKU) results in systemic hyperphenylalaninemia, leading to neurotoxicity with severe developmental disabilities. Dietary phenylalanine (Phe) restriction prevents the most deleterious effects of hyperphenylalaninemia, but adherence to diet is poor in adult and adolescent patients, resulting in characteristic neurobehavioral phenotypes. Thus, an urgent need exists for new treatments. Additionally, rodent models of PKU do not adequately reflect neurocognitive phenotypes, and thus there is a need for improved animal models. To this end, we have developed PAH-null pigs. After selection of optimal CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing reagents by using an in vitro cell model, zygote injection of 2 sgRNAs and Cas9 mRNA demonstrated deletions in preimplantation embryos, with embryo transfer to a surrogate leading to 2 founder animals. One pig was heterozygous for a PAH exon 6 deletion allele, while the other was compound heterozygous for deletions of exon 6 and of exons 6-7. The affected pig exhibited hyperphenylalaninemia (2000-5000 ?M) that was treatable by dietary Phe restriction, consistent with classical PKU, along with juvenile growth retardation, hypopigmentation, ventriculomegaly, and decreased brain gray matter volume. In conclusion, we have established a large-animal preclinical model of PKU to investigate pathophysiology and to assess new therapeutic interventions.
Project description:Phenylketonuria (PKU), an inborn error in phenylalanine metabolism, requires lifelong nutrition management with a low-phenylalanine diet, which includes a phenylalanine-free amino acid-based medical formula to provide the majority of an individual's protein needs. Compliance with this diet is often difficult for older children, adolescents, and adults with PKU. The whey protein glycomacropeptide (GMP) is ideally suited for the PKU diet because it is naturally low in phenylalanine. Nutritionally complete, acceptable medical foods and beverages can be made with GMP to increase the variety of protein sources for the PKU diet. As an intact protein, GMP improves protein use and increases satiety compared with amino acids. Thus, GMP provides a new, more physiologic source of low-phenylalanine dietary protein for people with PKU.
Project description:Hyperphenylalaninemia (HPA) can be classified into phenylketonuria (PKU) which is caused by mutations in the phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) gene, and BH4 deficiency caused by alterations in genes involved in tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) biosynthesis pathway. Dietary restriction of phenylalanine is considered to be the main treatment of PKU to prevent irreversible intellectual disability. However, the same dietary intervention in BH4 deficiency patients is not as effective, as BH4 is also a cofactor in many neurotransmitter syntheses.We utilized next generation sequencing (NGS) technique to investigate four unrelated Thai patients with hyperphenylalaninemia.We successfully identified all eight mutant alleles in PKU or BH4-deficiency associated genes including three novel mutations, one in PAH and two in PTS, thus giving a definite diagnosis to these patients. Appropriate management can then be provided.This study identified three novel mutations in either the PAH or PTS gene and supported the use of NGS as an alternative molecular genetic approach for definite diagnosis of hyperphenylalaninemia, thus leading to proper management of these patients in Thailand.