Congenital dopamine-beta-hydroxylase deficiency. A novel orthostatic syndrome

Lancet. 1987 Jan 24;1(8526):183-8. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(87)90002-x.


A woman was referred with severe orthostatic hypotension at the age of 21. Ptosis, skeletal muscle hypotonia, and recurrent hypoglycaemia had been noticed in early childhood. There was noradrenergic denervation and adrenomedullary failure but baroreflex afferents, cholinergic innervation, and adrenocortical function were intact. Noradrenaline and adrenaline were undetectable in plasma, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), but dopamine was 7-fold to 12-fold normal in plasma, 4-fold normal in urine, and 20-fold normal in CSF. Measurements of catecholamine metabolites showed further evidence for impairment of noradrenaline and adrenaline biosynthesis due to deficient dopamine-beta-hydroxylation. Dopamine-beta-hydroxylase was undetectable in plasma and CSF. Physiological and pharmacological stimuli of sympathetic neurotransmitter release caused increases in plasma dopamine rather than plasma noradrenaline.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / congenital*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase / analysis
  • Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase / deficiency*
  • Epinephrine / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / congenital*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norepinephrine / analysis
  • Syndrome


  • Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine