L-2-Hydroxyglutaric aciduria: clinical, genetic, and brain MRI characteristics in two adult sisters

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Abstract

L-2-Hydroxyglutaric (L-2-HG) aciduria is a rare inherited metabolic disease usually observed in children. Patients present a very slowly progressive deterioration with cerebellar ataxia, mild or severe mental retardation, and various other clinical signs including extrapyramidal and pyramidal symptoms, and seizures. The disease is characterized by increased levels of L-2-HG in body fluids such as urine and cerebrospinal fluid. We report on two sisters from consanguineous parents, in whom L-2-HG aciduria was diagnosed at an adult age. Although magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopic findings were severely abnormal in both, they experienced a different clinical course. The older sister presented with severe mental retardation, recurrent epileptic seizures, and progressive deterioration in her ability to walk and to talk; she is now confined to a wheelchair with severe speech deficit. In contrast, the younger sister only had a few epileptic seizures in childhood and moderate mental retardation, is still able to walk, and performs manual work, and has a social life in a specialized institution for moderately mentally handicapped persons. For the two patients, a complete deletion of exon 9 was demonstrated in a gene located on chromosome 14q22.1, which most probably encodes for L-2-hydroxyglutarate dehydrogenase. The pathological findings observed in this metabolic disorder could therefore be related to a toxic effect of L-2-hydroxyglutarate on the central nervous system, although the presence of other toxic metabolites cannot be excluded.

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