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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Prenatal diagnosis of "dihydrobiopterin synthetase" deficiency, a variant form of phenylketonuria.

Amniocentesis was performed at 19 weeks gestation in a mother who had previously delivered a boy with "dihydrobiopterin synthetase" (DHBS) deficiency. The amniotic fluid contained neopterin in high (136 nmol/l) and biopterin in very low concentrations (1.8 nmol/l). The activity of the phosphate-eliminating enzyme ( PEE, also called 6-pyruvoyl tetrahydropterin synthase, substrate: 7,8-dihydroneopterin triphosphate) which is present in liver and erythrocytes and defective in DHBS deficiency, was measured in the erythrocytes of the family members. The fetal sample showed only 2% of the activity of healthy adult controls and was comparable with that of the affected sibling. Obligate heterozygotes had activities around 20% of the controls. Two fetal control samples showed even higher activities than adult erythrocytes, Sepiapterin reductase activities wer normal in all cases. At autopsy, PEE deficiency was confirmed in the liver of the fetus. We concluded that DHBS deficiency (and most probably also GTP cyclohydrolase I deficiency) can be diagnosed by metabolite measurements in amniotic fluid. PEE activity is measurable in erythrocytes, although the assay needs to be improved. Since maternal tetrahydrobiopterin does not cross the placenta, treatment of a tetrahydrobiopterin-deficient fetus with tetrahydrobiopterin in utero is not possible.[1]


  1. Prenatal diagnosis of "dihydrobiopterin synthetase" deficiency, a variant form of phenylketonuria. Niederwieser, A., Shintaku, H., Hasler, T., Curtius, H.C., Lehmann, H., Guardamagna, O., Schmidt, H. Eur. J. Pediatr. (1986) [Pubmed]
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