Update on the phenotypic spectrum of Lesch-Nyhan disease and its attenuated variants

Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2012 Apr;14(2):189-94. doi: 10.1007/s11926-011-0231-5.


Congenital deficiency of the enzyme hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT) results in a spectrum of clinical phenotypes. All of these phenotypes are associated with marked overproduction of uric acid and related problems such as hyperuricemia, urate nephrolithiasis, tophi, and gout. The mildest phenotypes include only problems related to overproduction of uric acid. The most severe phenotype is known as Lesch-Nyhan disease, in which the phenotype also includes severe motor handicap, intellectual disability, and self-injurious behavior. In between these two extremes is a continuous spectrum of phenotypes with varying degrees of motor and cognitive handicap but no self-injurious behavior. The pathogenesis of overproduction of uric acid in HPRT deficiency is well-understood, and treatments are available to control it. The pathogenesis of the neurobehavioral problems is less well-understood, and effective treatments for them are lacking.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Gout / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Hyperuricemia / genetics*
  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase / genetics*
  • Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome / genetics
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / genetics*


  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase