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(1/423) A different approach to treatment of phenylketonuria: phenylalanine degradation with recombinant phenylalanine ammonia lyase.

Phenylketonuria (PKU), with its associated hyperphenylalaninemia (HPA) and mental retardation, is a classic genetic disease and the first to have an identified chemical cause of impaired cognitive development. Treatment from birth with a low phenylalanine diet largely prevents the deviant cognitive phenotype by ameliorating HPA and is recognized as one of the first effective treatments of a genetic disease. However, compliance with dietary treatment is difficult and when it is for life, as now recommended by an internationally used set of guidelines, is probably unrealistic. Herein we describe experiments on a mouse model using another modality for treatment of PKU compatible with better compliance using ancillary phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL, EC 4.3.1.5) to degrade phenylalanine, the harmful nutrient in PKU; in this treatment, PAL acts as a substitute for the enzyme phenylalanine monooxygenase (EC 1.14.16.1), which is deficient in PKU. PAL, a robust enzyme without need for a cofactor, converts phenylalanine to trans-cinnamic acid, a harmless metabolite. We describe (i) an efficient recombinant approach to produce PAL enzyme, (ii) testing of PAL in orthologous N-ethyl-N'-nitrosourea (ENU) mutant mouse strains with HPA, and (iii) proofs of principle (PAL reduces HPA)-both pharmacologic (with a clear dose-response effect vs. HPA after PAL injection) and physiologic (protected enteral PAL is significantly effective vs. HPA). These findings open another way to facilitate treatment of this classic genetic disease.  (+info)

(2/423) A model of human phenylalanine metabolism in normal subjects and in phenylketonuric patients.

The derivation of a quantitative model of phenylalanine metabolism in humans is described. The model is based on the kinetic properties of pure recombinant human phenylalanine hydroxylase and on estimates of the in vivo rates of phenylalanine transamination and protein degradation. Calculated values for the steady-state concentration of blood phenylalanine, rate of clearance of phenylalanine from the blood after an oral load of the amino acid, and dietary tolerance of phenylalanine all agree well with data from normal as well as from phenylketonuric patients and obligate heterozygotes. These calculated values may help in the decision about the degree of restriction of phenylalanine intake that is necessary to achieve a satisfactory clinical outcome in classical patients and in those with milder forms of the disease.  (+info)

(3/423) Biopterin derivatives in normal and phenylketonuric patients after oral loads of L-phenylalanine, L-tyrosine, and L-tryptophan.

Plasma biopterin derivatives studied in 10 normal and 21 phenylketonuric children showed a significantly high concentration in the latter group. Biopterin derivatives correlated with plasma phenylalanine concentration, but in normal adults given an oral phenylalanine load the rate of increase with phenylalanine differed from that in phenylketonuric patients. A patient with hyperphenylalaninaemia, not due to phenylketonuria, had an abnormal biopterin derivatives response to phenylalanine distinct from that of patients with classical phenylketonuria. This may be a useful investigation to differentiate some variants of phenylketonuria.  (+info)

(4/423) Haplotypes and mutations of the PAH locus in Egyptian families with PKU.

A high degree of molecular heterogeneneity at the phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) locus was established by examining RFLP haplotypes and PAH mutations in the families of 13 Egyptians with phenylketenouria (PKU). Thirteen different haplotypes were unequivocally determined in these kindreds. Haplotypes 1.8, 3.9, 4.3, 7.8, 22.11, 27.6, and 52.8 were found segregating with normal chromosomes, whilst haplotypes 1.8, 5.9, 23.8, 32.8, the newly assigned 73.9, and two as yet incomplete but novel haplotypes were found segregating with the mutant chromosomes. There was no particular preference for a single haplotype among normal or mutant chromosomes. Nine different mutations were also identified among the 26 alleles. IVS 10nt11g (8/26), IVS 2nt5g-c (4/26), R261Q (3/26), R176X (2/26), Y206D (2/26), S231P (2/26), Y198fs [593-614del22bp]; (2/26), G46fs [136/137delG]; (1/26), and E178G (1/26). Six of these mutations (IVS 2nt5g-c, R176X, Y198fs, R261Q, S231P, and IVS 10nt11g) are common to other Mediterranean populations. Two mutations not previously reported in the Mediterranean basin were also observed (Y206D and G46fs). These intriguing preliminary findings confirm IVS 10nt11g as a major mutation among Mediterranean mutations and demonstrate the need for a more comprehensive study of Arab populations to confirm the uniqueness of the two novel mutations to the Egyptian population.  (+info)

(5/423) Effects of dietary mixtures of amino acids on fetal growth and maternal and fetal amino acid pools in experimental maternal phenylketonuria.

BACKGROUND: Branched-chain amino acids have been reported to improve fetal brain development in a rat model in which maternal phenylketonuria (PKU) is induced by the inclusion of an inhibitor of phenylalanine hydroxylase, DL-p-chlorophenylalanine, and L-phenylalanine in the diet. OBJECTIVE: We studied whether a dietary mixture of several large neutral amino acids (LNAAs) would improve fetal brain growth and normalize the fetal brain amino acid profile in a rat model of maternal PKU induced by DL-alpha-methylphenylalanine (AMPhe). DESIGN: Long-Evans rats were fed a basal diet or a similar diet containing 0.5% AMPhe + 3.0% L-phenylalanine (AMPhe + Phe diet) from day 11 until day 20 of gestation in experiments to test various mixtures of LNAAs. Maternal weight gains and food intakes to day 20, fetal body and brain weights at day 20, and fetal brain and fetal and maternal plasma amino acid concentrations at day 20 were measured. RESULTS: Concentrations of phenylalanine and tyrosine in fetal brain and in maternal and fetal plasma were higher and fetal brain weights were lower in rats fed the AMPhe + Phe diet than in rats fed the basal diet. However, fetal brain growth was higher and concentrations of phenylalanine and tyrosine in fetal brain and in maternal and fetal plasma were lower in rats fed the AMPhe + Phe diet plus LNAAs than in rats fed the diet containing AMPhe + Phe alone. CONCLUSION: LNAA supplementation of the diet improved fetal amino acid profiles and alleviated most, but not all, of the depression in fetal brain growth observed in this model of maternal PKU.  (+info)

(6/423) Large neutral amino acids block phenylalanine transport into brain tissue in patients with phenylketonuria.

Large neutral amino acids (LNAAs), including phenylalanine (Phe), compete for transport across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) via the L-type amino acid carrier. Accordingly, elevated plasma Phe impairs brain uptake of other LNAAs in patients with phenylketonuria (PKU). Direct effects of elevated brain Phe and depleted LNAAs are probably major causes for disturbed brain development and function in PKU. Competition for the carrier might conversely be put to use to lower Phe influx when the plasma concentrations of all other LNAAs are increased. This hypothesis was tested by measuring brain Phe in patients with PKU by quantitative 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy during an oral Phe challenge with and without additional supplementation with all other LNAAs. Baseline plasma Phe was approximately 1,000 micromol/l and brain Phe was approximately 250 micromol/l in both series. Without LNAA supplementation, brain Phe increased to approximately 400 micromol/l after the oral Phe load. Electroencephalogram (EEG) spectral analysis revealed acutely disturbed brain activity. With concurrent LNAA supplementation, Phe influx was completely blocked and there was no slowing of EEG activity. These results are relevant for further characterization of the LNAA carrier and of the pathophysiology underlying brain dysfunction in PKU and for treatment of patients with PKU, as brain function might be improved by continued LNAA supplementation.  (+info)

(7/423) Genetic and phenotypic aspects of phenylalanine hydroxylase deficiency in Spain: molecular survey by regions.

We present an extensive study of the genetic diversity of phenylalanine hydroxylase deficiency in the Spanish phenylketonuria population. We have analysed 195 PKU patients by DGGE analysis identifying 67 different mutations which represent 89% of the total mutant chromosomes. Seventeen mutations first described in Spain have not yet been detected elsewhere; ten of these are reported here for the first time. The clinical significance of this high genetic heterogeneity was examined by analysing the genotype-phenotype correlations, mainly focusing on the mild hyperphenylalaninaemia (MHP) phenotype. The genotypes found in a group of 93 MHP patients, the largest analysed so far, are described in detail, as well as the relative frequencies of the MHP mutations identified. From the total pool of mutations, 27 can be considered severe, 18 can be defined as mild and 13 as associated with MHP. The prevalent mutations correspond to one severe mutation (IVS10nt-11), one MHP mutation (A403V) and two mild mutations (165T and V388M). The high frequency of mutations with a low degree of severity can explain the relatively higher prevalence of MHP and mild PKU phenotypes in Spain compared with NOrthern European populations. We have looked at the geographical distribution in Spain of the more common mutations, finding evidence of local mutation clustering, which could be the result of differences in the ethnic background and/or of genetic drift within each region.  (+info)

(8/423) Review: emotional and behavioral functioning in phenylketonuria.

OBJECTIVE: To examine 17 studies of the psychological sequelae of early-treated phenylketonuria (PKU) with emphasis on the impact of dietary control on functioning. Two questions are addressed: (1) What is the typical psychological profile associated with PKU? (2) Is emotional and behavioral disturbance more prevalent in PKU-affected individuals compared to appropriate controls? METHOD: Computerized searches of PsycINFO identified studies using behavioral, personality, and diagnostic measures. RESULTS: Findings converge upon a profile including attentional difficulties, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Methodological constraints limit conclusions regarding the nature and severity of observed difficulties. A single study has used comparison groups appropriate for the simultaneous examination of the questions posed (Waisbren and Levy, 1991). CONCLUSIONS: We discuss results using a biopsychosocial framework, addressing the factors and processes that may influence emotional and behavioral functioning in this neurodevelopmental disorder. We outline potential lines of new investigation that address critical methodological factors.  (+info)