A Study of the Treatment of Rett Syndrome With Folate and Betaine

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.
Journal of child neurology (Impact Factor: 1.72). 02/2009; 24(5):551-6. DOI: 10.1177/0883073808327827
Source: PubMed


We tested the hypothesis that increasing methyl-group pools might promote transcriptional repression by other methyl-binding proteins or by mutant methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 with altered affinity, ameliorating the clinical features of Rett syndrome. A 12-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled folate-betaine trial enrolled 73 methylCpG-binding protein 2 mutation positive female participants meeting consensus criteria for Rett syndrome. Participants were randomized as young (< age 5 years) or old (>or= age 5 years). Structured clinical assessments occurred at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months. Primary outcome measures included quantitative evaluation of breathing and hand movements during wakefulness, growth, anthropometry, motor/behavioral function, and qualitative evaluations from electroencephalograms and parent questionnaires. In all, 68 participants completed the study. Objective evidence of improvement was not found. Subjective improvement from parent questionnaires was noted for the <5 years group. This study should inform future treatment trials regarding balancing participants with specific mutations and comparable severity to minimize selection bias.

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    • "aimed to increase DNA methylation by supplying folate and betaine. No objective evidence of clinical improvement was found, although plasma levels of homocysteine declined and those of methionine rose (Glaze et al 2009 "
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    ABSTRACT: Rett syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by cognitive and locomotor regression and stereotypic hand movements. The disorder is caused by mutations in the X chromosomal MECP2 a gene encoding methyl CpG-binding protein. It has been associated with disturbances of cerebral folate homeostasis, as well as with speculations on a compromised DNA-methylation. Folinic acid is the stable form of folate. Its derived intermediate 5-MTHF supports the conversion of homocysteine to methionine, the precursor of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). This in turn donates its methyl group to various acceptors, including DNA, thereby being converted to S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH). The SAM/SAH ratio reflects the methylation potential. The goal of our study was to influence DNA methylation processes and ameliorate the clinical symptoms in Rett syndrome. Therefore we examined the hypothesis that folinic acid supplementation, besides increasing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) 5-MTHF (p = 0.003), influences SAM and SAH and their ratio. In our randomized, double-blind crossover study on folinic acid supplementation, ten female Rett patients received both folinic acid and placebo for 1 year each. It was shown that both SAM and SAH levels in the CSF remained unchanged following folinic acid administration (p = 0.202 and p = 0.097, respectively) in spite of a rise of plasma SAM and SAH (p = 0.007; p = 0.009). There was no significant change in the SAM/SAH ratio either in plasma or CSF. The apparent inability of Rett patients to upregulate SAM and SAH levels in the CSF may contribute to the biochemical anomalies of the Rett syndrome. Our studies warrant further attempts to promote DNA methylation in the true region of interest, i.e. the brain.
    Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease 02/2013; 36(6). DOI:10.1007/s10545-013-9590-6 · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    • "To date, only three controlled clinical trials in RTT individuals have been reported, and all studies showed some, but no dramatic, effects. These trials involved the administration of the opioid antagonist naltrexone (Percy et al., 1994), the amino acid Lcarnitine important in fatty acid metabolism (Ellaway et al., 1999), and folate-betaine which increases the available pool of methyl-donors (Glaze et al., 2009). Here, we discuss some areas of research in the field that could potentially lead to the development of promising beneficial therapies. "

    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 06/2011; 31(22):7951-9. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0169-11.2011 · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rett syndrome (RTT) is a severe postnatal neurological disorder caused by mutations in the methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2) gene. In affected children, most biological parameters, including brain structure, are normal (although acquired microcephaly is usually present). However, in recent years, a deficit in bioaminergic metabolism has been identified at the cellular and molecular levels, in more than 200 patients. Recently available transgenic mouse strains with a defective Mecp2 gene also show abnormalities, strongly suggesting that there is a direct link between the function of the MECP2 protein and the metabolism of biogenic amines. Biogenic amines appear to have an important role in the pathophysiology of Rett syndrome, for several reasons. Firstly, biogenic amines modulate a large number of autonomic and cognitive functions. Secondly, many of these functions are affected in RTT patients. Thirdly, biogenic amines are the only neurotransmitters that have repeatedly been found to be altered in RTT patients. Importantly, pharmacological interventions can be envisaged to try to counteract the deficits observed. Here, we review the available human and mouse data and present how they have been and could be used in the development of pharmacological treatments for children affected by the syndrome. Given our current knowledge and the tools available, modulating biogenic amine metabolism may prove to be the most promising strategy for improving the life quality of Rett syndrome patients in the short term.
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