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Novel ETHE1 mutation in a carrier couple having prior offspring affected with ethylmalonic encephalopathy: Genetic analysis, clinical management and reproductive outcome

The Sims Institute/Sims International Fertility Clinic, Dublin 14, Ireland.
Molecular Medicine Reports (Impact Factor: 1.48). 03/2010; 3(2):223-6. DOI: 10.3892/mmr_00000243
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ethylmalonic encephalopathy (EE) is an autosomally recessive inherited disorder with a relentlessly progressive decline in neurological function, usually fatal by the age of ten. It is characterised by generalised hypotonia, psychomotor regression, spastic tetraparesis, dystonia, seizures and, eventually, global neurological failure. Approximately 50 reports have been published worldwide describing this devastating disease, most involving patients of Mediterranean or Arab origin. The fundamental defect in EE likely involves the impairment of a mitochondrial sulphur dioxygenase coded by the ETHE1 gene responsible for the catabolism of sulphide, which subsequently accumulates to toxic levels. A diagnosis of EE should initiate careful genetic evaluation and counselling, particularly if the parents intend to have additional offspring. The present report describes the diagnosis of EE in a reproductive endocrinology context, where both members of a non-consanguineous couple were confirmed to be carriers of an identical A↷G mutation. This previously unknown mutation at nucleotide position c.494 resulted in an amino acid substitution, p.Asp165Gly. Although consideration was given to in vitro fertilisation, embryo biopsy and single gene pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, the couple decided to first utilise a less aggressive therapeutic approach with donor sperm insemination. Pregnancy with a low risk of EE was indeed achieved; however, the infant was affected with a different anomaly (hypoplastic left heart). As this case demonstrates, prior to the initiation of fertility therapy, genetic analysis may be used to provide a confirmatory diagnosis when EE is suspected.

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    ABSTRACT: Deficiency of the sulfide metabolizing protein ETHE1 is the cause of ethylmalonic encephalopathy (EE), an inherited and severe metabolic disorder. To study the molecular effects of EE, we performed a proteomics study on mitochondria from cultured patient fibroblast cells. Samples from six patients were analyzed and revealed seven differentially regulated proteins compared with healthy controls. Two proteins involved in pathways of detoxification and oxidative/reductive stress were underrepresented in EE patient samples: mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (SOD2) and aldehyde dehydrogenase X (ALDH1B). Sulfide:quinone oxidoreductase (SQRDL), which takes part in the same sulfide pathway as ETHE1, was also underrepresented in EE patients. The other differentially regulated proteins were apoptosis inducing factor (AIFM1), lactate dehydrogenase (LDHB), chloride intracellular channel (CLIC4) and dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase 1 (DDAH1). These proteins have been reported to be involved in encephalopathy, energy metabolism, ion transport, and nitric oxide regulation, respectively. Interestingly, oxidoreductase activity was overrepresented among the regulated proteins indicating that redox perturbation plays an important role in the molecular mechanism of EE. This observation may explain the wide range of symptoms associated with the disease, and highlights the potency of the novel gaseous mediator sulfide.
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