Dihydropteridine Reductase Deficiency and Treatment with Tetrahydrobiopterin: A Case Report

  • Curtis R. CoughlinII
  • Keith Hyland
  • Rebecca Randall
  • Can FiciciogluEmail author
Case Report
Part of the JIMD Reports book series (JIMD, volume 10)


Dihydropteridine reductase (DHPR) deficiency is a genetic disorder of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) regeneration and may present with hyperphenylalaninemia, microcephaly, hypotonia, mental retardation, and convulsions. BH4 is an essential cofactor for the hydroxylation of aromatic amino acids and a deficiency of BH4 results in decreased synthesis of dopamine and serotonin. We present a 27-month-old female patient with DHPR deficiency who was treated with l-dopa/carbidopa (2 mg/kg, four times per day), 5-hydroxytryptophan (2 mg/kg, four times per day), folinic acid (10 mg/day), and BH4 supplementation (20 mg/kg, twice a day). Although remarkable clinical improvement with normal plasma phenylalanine (Phe) levels and increased phenylalanine tolerance was noted 1 month after the treatment, CSF neurotransmitter metabolites did not improve. BH4 supplementation was increased to 40 mg/kg/day and the CSF study was repeated 1 month later. There was no significant change of CSF neurotransmitters, BH4 or BH2 levels but plasma Phe level was within normal range. Surprisingly, she had developmental improvement noted at 1-month and 3-month visits following an augmented neurotransmitter and BH4 treatment. She was able to pull herself to the standing position and sit down on her own. She was also noted to be more alert and responsive following treatment. Her expressive language did not improve, although her receptive language was markedly improved. The above treatment improved patient’s clinical findings, normalized blood Phe levels, and increased Phe tolerance in the diet, but neither 20 nor 40 mg/kg/day BH4 supplementation corrected neurotransmitter or BH4 levels or increased BH2 level in CSF. Further studies are needed to find the optimal management plan for patients with DHPR deficiency.


Folinic Acid Phenylalanine Level Plasma Phenylalanine Dihydropteridine Reductase Sapropterin Dihydrochloride 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



5-Hydroxyindoleacetic acid






Cerebral spinal fluid


Dihydropteridine reductase


Homovanillic acid


Nitric oxide


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Copyright information

© SSIEM and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Curtis R. CoughlinII
    • 1
    • 2
  • Keith Hyland
    • 3
  • Rebecca Randall
    • 4
  • Can Ficicioglu
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Section of Biochemical GeneticsThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Section of Clinical Genetics and MetabolismUniversity of ColoradoAuroraUSA
  3. 3.Medical NeurogeneticsAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.University of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Section of Biochemical GeneticsThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA

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