Sepiapterin reductase deficiency: a congenital dopa-responsive motor and cognitive disorder

Brain. 2005 Oct;128(Pt 10):2291-6. doi: 10.1093/brain/awh603. Epub 2005 Jul 27.


This study presents the clinical findings on seven children from Malta (population 385,000). All of them had early motor delay and a significant degree of cognitive impairment. Diurnal variation of the motor impairments was clear in six out of seven of the subjects and oculogyric crises occurred from an early stage also in six out of the seven. Five out of seven had clear evidence of dystonia but the early picture was dominated by hypotonia in five. Two had early Parkinsonian tremor and chorea was seen in four, although in two this was attributable to the use of L-dopa. Three had early bulbar involvement. In all, although minor motor problems persisted, the response to L-dopa was dramatic and there was a need to balance improvement in dystonia against aggravation of chorea. The majority were not able to walk until they were treated. Increased doses of L-dopa were required in hot weather, to which they were sensitive. Despite a good response of improved motor ability and abolition of oculogyric crises, there was no obvious change in cognitive function with learning remaining in the moderate impairment range. This report widens the phenotype of dopa-responsive motor disorders and the range of young children with primary motor delay (cerebral palsy) who need a clinical trial of L-dopa. All of the subjects had the same novel mutation in the tetrahydrobiopterin pathway involving sepiapterin reductase, and no abnormality in the gene encoding guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase 1. Clinically and molecularly the condition shows autosomal recessive inheritance.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / deficiency*
  • Cerebral Palsy / drug therapy
  • Cerebral Palsy / enzymology
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Cognition Disorders / enzymology*
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Developmental Disabilities / drug therapy
  • Developmental Disabilities / enzymology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology
  • Dopamine Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dyskinesias / drug therapy
  • Dyskinesias / enzymology
  • Dyskinesias / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Movement Disorders / drug therapy
  • Movement Disorders / enzymology
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology


  • Dopamine Agents
  • Levodopa
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • sepiapterin reductase