Electroclinical features and phenotypic differences in adenylosuccinate lyase deficiency: Long-term follow-up of seven patients from four families and appraisal of the literature

Epilepsia Open. 2024 Feb;9(1):106-121. doi: 10.1002/epi4.12837. Epub 2023 Nov 27.


Objective: Adenylosuccinate lyase (ADSL) deficiency is a rare inherited metabolic disorder with a wide phenotypic presentation, classically grouped into three types (neonatal, type I, and type II). We aim to better delineate the pathological spectrum, focusing on the electroclinical characteristics and phenotypic differences of patients with ADSL deficiency.

Patients and methods: Seven patients, from four different families, underwent serial electroencephalogram (EEG), clinical assessment, and neuroimaging. We also performed a systematic review of the cases published in the literature, summarizing the available clinical, neurophysiological, and genetic data.

Results: We report seven previously unreported ADSL deficiency patients with long-term follow-up (10-34 years). From the literature review, we collected 81 previously reported cases. Of the included patient population, 58 % (51/88) were classified as having ADSL deficiency type I, 28% (25/88) as having type II, and 14% (12/88) as having neonatal. The most frequently reported pathogenic variants are p.R426H homozygous (19 patients), p.Y114H in compound heterozygosity (13 patients), and p.D430N homozygous (6 patients). In the majority (89.2%), disease onset was within the first year of life. Epilepsy is present in 81.8% of the patients, with polymorphic and often intractable seizures. EEG features seem to display common patterns and developmental trajectories: (i) poor general background organization with theta-delta activity; (ii) hypsarrhythmia with spasms, usually adrenocorticotropic hormone-responsive; (iii) generalized epileptic discharges with frontal or frontal temporal predominance; and (iv) epileptic discharge activation in sleep with an altered sleep structure. Imaging features present consistent findings of cerebral atrophy with frontal predominance, cerebellar atrophy, and white matter abnormalities among the three types.

Significance: ADSL deficiency presents variable phenotypic expression, whose severity could be partially attributed to residual activity of the mutant protein. Although a precise phenotype-genotype correlation was not yet feasible, we delineated a common pattern of clinical, neuroradiological, and neurophysiological features.

Keywords: ADSL deficiency; EEG patterns; epilepsy; genotype-phenotype correlation; monogenic diseases.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenylosuccinate Lyase* / chemistry
  • Adenylosuccinate Lyase* / genetics
  • Atrophy
  • Autistic Disorder* / genetics
  • Epilepsy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Purine-Pyrimidine Metabolism, Inborn Errors*


  • Adenylosuccinate Lyase

Supplementary concepts

  • Adenylosuccinate lyase deficiency