, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 749-754

Content of phenylalanine, tyrosine and their metabolites in CSF in phenylketonuria

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By using ion-exchange chromatography and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, the content of phenylalanine, tyrosine and their metabolites typical of phenylketonuria (PKU) was determined in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 8 untreated children with classical PKU and 9 controls. At the same time, plasma and urine were analysed. In PKU the content of phenylalanine is increased on average 23 times in plasma and CSF. The content of phenylalanine and tyrosine in CSF is about 4 times less as compared with plasma. The phenylalanine-to-tyrosine ratio is approximately the same for these fluids both in control and in PKU. This indicates that the transport of phenylalanine and tyrosine through the blood-brain barrier is not disturbed in PKU.

Phenylpyruvate and 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate are either not detected or present in very low concentrations in the CSF of children with PKU; their derivatives, phenyllactate and 4-hydroxyphenyllactate, are present in relatively higher concentrations. This indicates increased metabolic conversion in brain tissues.