Phenylketonuria: an inborn error of phenylalanine metabolism

Clin Biochem Rev. 2008 Feb;29(1):31-41.


Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an autosomal recessive inborn error of phenylalanine (Phe) metabolism resulting from deficiency of phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH). Most forms of PKU and hyperphenylalaninaemia (HPA) are caused by mutations in the PAH gene on chromosome 12q23.2. Untreated PKU is associated with an abnormal phenotype which includes growth failure, poor skin pigmentation, microcephaly, seizures, global developmental delay and severe intellectual impairment. However, since the introduction of newborn screening programs and with early dietary intervention, children born with PKU can now expect to lead relatively normal lives. A better understanding of the biochemistry, genetics and molecular basis of PKU, as well as the need for improved treatment options, has led to the development of new therapeutic strategies.