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Neuropediatrics. 2002 Jun;33(3):157-61.

Effects of oral creatine supplementation in a patient with MELAS phenotype and associated nephropathy.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Vienna, Austria.


An 18-year-old male patient with MELAS phenotype and 2 previous episodes of cerebral stroke, recurrent seizures and nephropathy, was treated with creatine monohydrate after the acute onset of psychomental regression and changing states of somnolence and aggressive and agitated behaviour. These symptoms disappeared completely after 4 weeks of treatment with creatine after which the patient regained all his previous mental abilites. Brain (white matter) proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (chemical shift imaging) performed at 6 and 12 months of treatment showed lactic acid (Lac) accumulation and high creatine (Cr) levels in relation to choline-containing compounds (Cho). Urinary creatinine excretion as an indicator of the muscle and brain creatine pool increased upon short-term (12 days) high-dosage creatine supplementation (20 g per day) while plasma creatinine concentrations as possible indicators both of increasing creatine pool and of renal insufficiency increased during the course (28 months) of low-dosage creatine supplementation (5 g per day). Deterioration of renal function was finally indicated by urea retention and by impairment of renal creatinine clearance. These observations suggest that creatine supplementation may have a neuroprotective effect in patients with MELAS and episodes of acute mental deterioration. Adverse effects of creatine supplementation on renal function must be considered especially in patients with preexisting nephropathy.

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