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Mol Genet Metab. 2012 Nov;107(3):294-301. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2012.09.021. Epub 2012 Sep 27.

Long-term treatment with tetrahydrobiopterin in phenylketonuria: treatment strategies and prediction of long-term responders.

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  • 1Otto Heubner Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.


Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) responsive phenylketonuria has been described more than 10 years ago. However, criteria for the identification of long-term BH4 responsive patients are not yet established. 116 patients with phenylketonuria, aged 4-18 years, were screened for potential long-term BH4 responsiveness by at least two of the following criteria: positive neonatal BH4 loading test, putative BH4 responsive genotype, and/or milder phenotype. Patients had to be on permanent dietary treatment. 23 patients fulfilled these criteria and were tested for long-term BH4 responsiveness: 18/23 were long-term BH4 responsive, 5/23 were not. On long-term BH4 treatment over a period of 48 ± 27 months in a dose of 14.9 ± 3.3mg/kg/day phenylalanine tolerance was increased from 452 ± 201 mg/day to 1593 ± 647 mg/day, corresponding to a mean increase of 1141 ± 528 mg/day. Dietary phenylalanine intake was increased stepwise according to a clear defined protocol. In 8/18 patients, diet was completely liberalized; 10/18 patients still received phenylalanine-free amino acid formula with 0.63 ± 0.23 g/kg/day. The most predictive value for long-term BH4 responsiveness was the combination of pretreatment phenylalanine of < 1200 μmol/L, pretreatment phenylalanine/tyrosine ratio of <15, phenylalanine/tyrosine ratio of <15 on treatment, phenylalanine tolerance of >20mg/kg/day at age 3 years, positive neonatal BH4 loading, and at least one putative BH4 responsive mutation (p = 0.00024). Our data show that long-term BH4 responsiveness may be predicted already during neonatal period by determining maximum pretreatment phenylalanine and phenylalanine/tyrosine concentrations, neonatal BH4 loading and PAH genotype. A clear defined protocol is necessary to install long-term BH4 treatment.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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