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Nat Rev Neurol. 2015 Jul;11(7):414-24. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2015.86. Epub 2015 Jun 23.

Dopa-responsive dystonia--clinical and genetic heterogeneity.

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Parkinson's Disease Centre and Movement Disorders Clinic, Baylor College of Medicine, McNair Campus, 7200 Cambridge Street, Suite 9A, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Dopa-responsive dystonia (DRD) encompasses a group of clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorders that typically manifest as limb-onset, diurnally fluctuating dystonia and exhibit a robust and sustained response to levodopa treatment. Autosomal dominant GTP cyclohydrolase 1 deficiency, also known as Segawa disease, is the most common and best-characterized condition that manifests as DRD, but a similar presentation can be seen with genetic abnormalities that lead to deficiencies in tyrosine hydroxylase, sepiapterin reductase or other enzymes that are involved in the biosynthesis of dopamine. In rare cases, DRD can result from conditions that do not affect the biosynthesis of dopamine; single case reports have shown that DRD can be a manifestation of hereditary spastic paraplegia type 11, spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 and ataxia telangiectasia. This heterogeneity of conditions that underlie DRD frequently leads to misdiagnosis, which delays the appropriate treatment with levodopa. Correct diagnosis at an early stage requires use of the appropriate diagnostic tests, which include a levodopa trial, genetic testing (including whole-exome sequencing), cerebrospinal fluid neurotransmitter analysis, the phenylalanine loading test, and enzyme activity measurements. The selection of tests for use depends on the clinical presentation and level of complexity. This Review presents the common and rarer causes of DRD and their clinical features, and considers the most appropriate approaches to ensure early diagnosis and treatment.

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