Pyruvate dehydrogenase-E1α deficiency presenting as generalized dystonia: A genetic diagnosis with important clinical implications

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2024 Jun:241:108307. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2024.108307. Epub 2024 Apr 30.


Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) deficiency is a genetic mitochondrial disease mostly associated with severe lactic acidosis, rapid progression of neurological symptoms and death during childhood. We present a 33-year-old male with PDC deficiency caused by a Val262Leu mutation in PDHA1gene. He demonstrated generalized dystonia affecting trunk and upper extremities and paraparesis as the most significant features, with onset of symptoms at age 8. Brain MRI showed bilaterally increased signal within the globus pallidus, typical of Leigh syndrome. A periodic lactate increase in serum and cerebrospinal fluid was detected. We describe a case of pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency being diagnosed only 25 years after the onset of symptoms and highlight PDHC deficiency as a possible cause of treatable dystonia in childhood, which may respond well to thiamine and levodopa treatment.

Keywords: Deep brain stimulation; Dystonia; Pyruvate dehydrogenase-E1α deficiency.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dystonia / etiology
  • Dystonia / genetics
  • Dystonic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Dystonic Disorders / genetics
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase (Lipoamide)* / genetics
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex Deficiency Disease* / complications
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex Deficiency Disease* / genetics


  • pyruvate dehydrogenase E1alpha subunit