An overview is given of the current knowledge on the human tyrosine hydroxylase gene and on the biochemical aspects of diagnosing defects in this gene. Diagnostic biochemical findings are described in four cases of genetically confirmed tyrosine hydroxylase deficiency. Decreased CSF levels of homovanillic acid (HVA) and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylethyleneglycol (MHPG), together with normal pterin and CSF tyrosine and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) concentrations are the diagnostic hallmarks of tyrosine hydroxylase deficiency. At the metabolite level the diagnosis can only be made reliably in CSF. Strict adherence to a standardized lumbar puncture protocol and adequate reference values are essential for diagnosis of this 'new' treatable neurometabolic disorder. Measurements of HVA, vanillylmandelic acid (VMA) or catecholamines in urine are not relevant for diagnosing tyrosine hydroxylase deficiency. The diagnosis should be considered in all children with unexplained hypokinesia and other extrapyramidal symptoms. Three of our patients are homozygous for a mutation in exon 6 (698G > A) of the tyrosine hydroxylase gene and one patient was compound heterozygous for the same mutation and a novel truncating mutation in exon 3 (291delC).
"Dopa-responsive dystonia (DRD), also known as Segawa’s syndrome, was first reported in 1976 . The clinical manifestations of DRD include postural or motor disturbances, generalized or focal dystonia, abnormal gait, and sometimes tremor or writing disturbance–. A significant therapeutic response to levodopa is a diagnostic hallmark of DRD. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dopa-responsive dystonia (DRD) is a rare inherited dystonia that responds very well to levodopa treatment. Genetic mutations of GTP cyclohydrolase I (GCH1) or tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) are disease-causing mutations in DRD. To evaluate the genotype-phenotype correlations and diagnostic values of GCH1 and TH mutation screening in DRD patients, we carried out a combined study of familial and sporadic cases in Chinese Han subjects. We collected 23 subjects, 8 patients with DRD, 5 unaffected family members, and 10 sporadic cases. We used PCR to sequence all exons and splicing sites of the GCH1 and TH genes. Three novel heterozygous GCH1 mutations (Tyr75Cys, Ala98Val, and Ile135Thr) were identified in three DRD pedigrees. We failed to identify any GCH1 or TH mutation in two affected sisters. Three symptom-free male GCH1 mutation carriers were found in two DRD pedigrees. For those DRD siblings that shared the same GCH1 mutation, symptoms and age of onset varied. In 10 sporadic cases, only two heterozygous TH mutations (Ser19Cys and Gly397Arg) were found in two subjects with unknown pathogenicity. No GCH1 and TH mutation was found in 40 unrelated normal Han Chinese controls. GCH1 mutation is the main etiology of familial DRD. Three novel GCH1 mutations were identified in this study. Genetic heterogeneity and incomplete penetrance were quite common in DRD patients, especially in sporadic cases. Genetic screening may help establish the diagnosis of DRD; however, a negative GCH1 and TH mutation test would not exclude the diagnosis.
PLoS ONE 06/2013; 8(6):e65215. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0065215 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"Tyrosine hydroxylase deficiency has been reported in humans and is characterized by generalized rigidity, hypokinesia, among other symptoms. Low cerebrospinal fluid levels of NA and dopamine metabolites, like HVA and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxy-phenylethylene glycol are observed in humans with tyrosine hydroxylase deficiency (Wevers et al., 1999, Carson and Robertson, 2002). The tyrosine hydroxylase knockout is unviable in mice as they die in the embryonic stage, presumably because catecholamine loss results in altered cardiac function (Zhou et al., 1995). "
"Complete disruption of the TH gene is probably incompatible with life, as indicated by the nonviability of TH-deficient knock-out mice . TH activity can be estimated by the value of HVA in CSF  . Our patient's HVA concentration is approximately 1.5% of the lower limit of the reference range, thus being one of the lowest HVA concentrations reported so far. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive disorder mapped to chromosome 11p15.5. Its clinical expression varies with presentations as dopa-responsive dystonia (recessive Segawa's disease), dopa-responsive infantile parkinsonism, dopa-responsive spastic paraplegia, progressive infantile encephalopathy or dopa-non-responsive dystonia. We describe a 7-year-old boy with progressive infantile encephalopathy and non-responsiveness to dopamine. The patient demonstrated generalized hypotonia, pyramidal tract dysfunction and temperature instability after the second month of life. Dystonia, tremor and oculogyric crises complicated the clinical picture during the following months. Neurotransmitter analysis in CSF disclosed almost undetectable levels of HVA and MHPG, whereas serum prolactin was profoundly increased. Subsequent molecular analysis revealed homozygosity for a missense mutation (c.707T>C) in the TH gene. l-Dopa therapy in both high and low doses resulted in massive hyperkinesias, while substitution with selegiline exerted only a mild beneficial effect. Today, at the age of 7 years, the patient demonstrates severe developmental retardation with marked trunkal hypotonia, hypokinesia and occasionally dystonic and/or hyperkinetic crises. He is the third Greek patient with TH deficiency to be reported. Since all three patients carry the same pathogenetic mutation, a founder effect is suspected.
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