Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin Chem. 2001 Mar;47(3):477-85.

Diagnosis of dopa-responsive dystonia and other tetrahydrobiopterin disorders by the study of biopterin metabolism in fibroblasts.

Author information

  • 1Division of Clinical Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Pediatrics, University of Zurich, Steinwiesstrasse 75, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland.



Dopa-responsive dystonia (DRD) and tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) defects are inherited disorders characterized by monoamine neurotransmitter deficiency with decreased activity of one of the BH4-metabolizing enzymes. The aim of the study was to determine the utility of cultured skin fibroblasts for the diagnosis of these diseases.


Neopterin and biopterin production and GTP cyclohydrolase I (GTPCH) activity were measured in cytokine-stimulated fibroblasts; 6-pyruvoyltetrahydropterin synthase (PTPS), sepiapterin reductase (SR), and dihydropteridine reductase (DHPR) activities were measured in unstimulated fibroblasts. We examined 8 patients with DRD, 3 with autosomal recessive GTPCH deficiency, 7 with PTPS deficiency, 3 with DHPR deficiency, and 49 controls (35 fibroblast and 14 amniocyte samples).


Fibroblasts from patients with DRD and autosomal recessive GTPCH deficiency showed reduced GTPCH activity (15.4% and 30.7% of normal activity, respectively) compared with controls (P < 0.001). Neopterin production was very low and biopterin production was reduced in both disorders. PTPS- and DHPR-deficient cells showed no enzyme activities; in PTPS deficiency the pattern of pterin production was typical (neopterin, 334-734 pmol/mg; controls, 18-98 pmol/mg; biopterin, 0 pmol/mg; controls, 154-303 pmol/mg). Reference values of all enzyme activities and pterin production were measured in fibroblasts and also in amniocytes for prenatal diagnosis.


Cultured skin fibroblasts are a useful tool in the diagnosis of BH4 deficiencies. Intracellular neopterin and biopterin concentrations and GTPCH activity in cytokine-stimulated fibroblasts are particularly helpful in diagnosing patients with DRD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk