Neurological aspects of biopterin metabolism.
Plasma total biopterin concentration was measured by bioassay in 59 infants with hyperphenylalaninaemia and in 50 children with developmental regression and or movement disorder with normal plasma phenylalanine concentrations. In infants with raised phenylalanine concentrations plasma biopterin concentrations were significantly raised in proportion to the phenylalanine values. Five patients had plasma biopterin concentrations at the extremes of the range, and of these two had defective biopterin metabolism. One with low plasma biopterin concentration apparently had a partial defect of biopterin synthesis but died before investigations were complete. One with high plasma biopterin concentration, even when phenylalanine concentrations had fallen to the normal range, had dihydropteridine reductase deficiency. In this patient concentrations of homovanillic acid and 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were severely reduced. In children without hyperphenylalaninaemia plasma biopterin concentrations were normal. Twenty two patients were subjected to lumbar puncture, of whom six with developmental regression without movement disorder had normal CSF biopterin concentrations, and 11 with movement disorder other than torsion dystonia had significantly lower CSF biopterin concentrations. Five patients with torsion dystonia had normal biopterin concentrations.