The pediatric neurotransmitter disorders

J Child Neurol. 2007 May;22(5):606-16. doi: 10.1177/0883073807302619.


The pediatric neurotransmitter disorders represent an enlarging group of neurological syndromes characterized by abnormalities of neurotransmitter synthesis and breakdown. The disorders of dopamine and serotonin synthesis are aromatic amino acid decarboxylase deficiency, tyrosine hydroxylase deficiency, and disorders of tetrahydrobiopterin synthesis. Amino acid decarboxylase, tyrosine hydroxylase, sepiapterin reductase, and guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase (Segawa disease) deficiencies do not feature elevated serum phenylalanine and require cerebrospinal fluid analysis for diagnosis. Segawa disease is characterized by dramatic and lifelong responsiveness to levodopa. Glycine encephalopathy is typically manifested by refractory neonatal seizures secondary to a defect of the glycine degradative pathway. gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) metabolism is associated with several disorders, including glutamic acid decarboxylase deficiency with nonsyndromic cleft lip/ palate, GABA-transaminase deficiency, and succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency. The latter is characterized by elevated gamma-hydroxybutyric acid and includes a wide range of neuropsychiatric symptoms as well as epilepsy. Pyridoxine-dependent seizures have now been associated with deficiency of alpha-aminoadipic semialdehyde dehydrogenase, as well as a new variant requiring therapy with pyridoxal-5-phosphate, the biologically active form of pyridoxine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain Diseases, Metabolic, Inborn*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Nervous System Diseases*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / deficiency
  • Pediatrics*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents