The phenotypic spectrum of paediatric neurotransmitter diseases and infantile parkinsonism

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Paediatric neurotransmitter diseases are a group of inherited disorders attributable to a disturbance of neurotransmitter metabolism. The monoamines, catecholamines and serotonin, also called biogenic amines, are neurotransmitters with multiple roles including psychomotor function, hormone secretion, cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal control, sleep mechanisms, body temperature and pain. Given the multiple functions of monoamines, disorders of their metabolism comprise a wide spectrum of manifestations, with motor dysfunction being the most prominent clinical feature. The severity of the clinical manifestations ranges from mild to severe. Patients with severe and intermediate phenotypes may present with infantile parkinsonism that differs in a number of aspects from the parkinsonism in nigrostriatal degeneration. Analysis of monoamine metabolites and pterins in spinal fluid assists in the diagnosis of these disorders. Treatment options include tetrahydrobiopterin supplementation, L-dopa, 5-hydroxytryptophan, and medications that potentiate monoamine transmission. Response to treatment is variable.

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