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J Pediatr. 1995 Dec;127(6):936-43.

Effect of high-dose tyrosine supplementation on brain function in adults with phenylketonuria.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Neurology, University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To characterize abnormalities of brain function in patients with phenylketonuria (PKU) who had relaxed or stopped the dietary regimen and to test whether oral high-dose tyrosine (Tyr) supplementation has a beneficial effect.

DESIGN:

Comparison with a control group; double-blind, placebo-controlled study comprising six test times; crossover treatment groups; oral high-dose Tyr therapy (100 mg/kg body weight per day) or placebo administration for 4 weeks.

SUBJECTS:

Twenty-four early-treated patients with PKU aged 20.8 (16 to 25) years; 24 control subjects.

METHODS:

Plasma concentrations of phenylalanine and Tyr were monitored. Neuropsychologic tasks, visual evoked potentials, and spectral analysis of electroencephalographic activity were used to evaluate brain function.

RESULTS:

When patients with PKU were compared with control subjects, deficits in certain aspects of brain function were confirmed (i.e., a decreased ability to sustain attention, prolonged latencies of visual evoked potential peaks N1 and P2, and a reduced amount of fast-wave activity on the electroencephalogram). Baseline plasma phenylalanine and Tyr concentrations were in the typical range of adult patients with PKU. The plasma Tyr concentration increased approximately 200% during Tyr supplementation, but no beneficial effects were observed.

CONCLUSIONS:

High-dose Tyr supplementation cannot be recommended as an "alternative" treatment for patients with PKU after relaxation or termination of strict dietary adherence.

PMID:
8523192
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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