Background: Sepiapterin reductase (SR) deficiency is a rare inherited disorder of neurotransmitter metabolism; less than 25 cases have been described in the literature so far.
Methods: We describe the clinical history and extensive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and urine examination of two Greek siblings with the diagnosis of SR deficiency. The diagnosis was confirmed by enzyme activity measurement in cultured fibroblasts and by mutation analysis.
Results: Both patients suffered from a progressive and complex L-dopa responsive movement disorder. Very low concentrations of the neurotransmitter metabolites homovanillic acid (HVA), 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid (5-HIAA) and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylethyleneglycol (MHPG) were observed in CSF. CSF neopterin and biopterin concentrations were abnormal in one case only, whereas in both cases sepiapterin concentrations were abnormally high and 5-hydroxytryptophan was undetectable. Urine concentrations of HVA, 5-HIAA and vanillyl mandelic acid (VMA) were decreased in both cases. Both patients had no detectable SR enzyme activity in primary dermal fibroblasts, and upon analysis of genomic DNA revealed the same homozygous point mutation introducing a premature stop codon into the reading frame of the SPR gene (mutant allele K251X).
Conclusions: Our cases illustrate that, apart from HVA and 5-HIAA analysis, the specific quantification of sepiapterin in CSF, rather than neopterin and biopterin alone, is crucial to the final diagnosis of SR deficiency. In addition, urinary concentrations of neurotransmitter metabolites may be abnormal in SR deficiency and may provide an initial indication of SR deficiency before CSF analysis is performed. The known, impressive beneficial response of SR deficient patients to treatment with L-dopa, is illustrated again in our cases.