Sepiapterin reductase deficiency an autosomal recessive DOPA-responsive dystonia

Mol Genet Metab. 2006 Sep-Oct;89(1-2):116-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2006.03.010. Epub 2006 May 2.


The diagnosis of a 14-year-old girl with a new homoallelic mutation in the sepiapterin reductase (SR) gene is reported. Initially she presented at the age of 2 with hypotonia and mild cognitive developmental delay, and was diagnosed as having mild methylmalonic aciduria, which was recently identified as methylmalonylCoA racemase deficiency, a new defect in valine-isoleucine metabolism. After a 12-year progression of her neurologic condition, which had made her wheelchair-bound at the age of 6, dystonia with diurnal variation had become apparent. At the age of 14 this finding led to rapid diagnosis of SR deficiency. The diagnostic approach with CSF neurotransmitter and pterins analysis and combined phenylalanine/BH(4) loading test, and finally measurement of sepiapterin in CSF is illustrative for the diagnosis of SR deficiency. As in all other patients with this new defect, very low levels of homovanillic acid and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid and high levels of biopterin and sepiapterin in the CSF are the diagnostic hallmark. The girl improved dramatically on treatment with L-DOPA and 5-hydroxytryptophan. The initial diagnosis of methylmalonic aciduria may afterwards be considered to have not significantly contributed to her clinical condition and only has led to a long delay of the clinically relevant diagnosis of SR deficiency. Although the clinical condition of this recently recognized autosomal recessive defect in pterin metabolism is complex and many symptoms can occur in variable severity and time of onset, dystonia with diurnal variation is a characteristic finding, as shown in nearly all patients described so far. The rapid and favourable response on treatment with L-DOPA warrants the classification of SR deficiency as another autosomal recessive type of DOPA-responsive dystonia (DRD). This classification is important to improve the awareness of clinicians that more than one metabolic defect can underlie the phenotype of a DOPA-responsive dystonic disorder and that dystonia should always trigger a rapid diagnosis of the underlying neurotransmitter synthesis defect, in view of the excellent treatability of a DRD.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / deficiency
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Biopterins / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Consanguinity
  • Dystonia / diagnosis*
  • Dystonia / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Genes, Recessive*
  • Homovanillic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use*


  • Biomarkers
  • Biopterins
  • Levodopa
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • sepiapterin reductase
  • Homovanillic Acid