NKH IN TWO SIBLINGSal, 2000). Correct diagnosis and treatment of        rior fontanel, 3x3 cm. Chest, abdominal andpyridox...
SOUTHEAST ASIAN J TROP MED PUBLIC HEALTHan increase in both reactive and gliotic astro-    vation in ammonia level in pati...
NKH IN TWO SIBLINGSweeks of life. Approximately 30% of cases die         These include NMDA antagonists: ketamine,in the n...
SOUTHEAST ASIAN J TROP MED PUBLIC HEALTHin enzyme values (Applegarth et al, 2000).                  agnosis of nonketotic ...
NKH IN TWO SIBLINGS     pathogenesis. Pediatr Neurol 1991; 7:65-8.                Med 1969; 98: 289-96.Shiffmann R, Boneh ...
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Nonketotic hyperglycinemia in two siblings with neonatal seizures


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Nonketotic hyperglycinemia in two siblings with neonatal seizures

  1. 1. SOUTHEAST ASIAN J TROP MED PUBLIC HEALTH NONKETOTIC HYPERGLYCINEMIA IN TWO SIBLINGS WITH NEONATAL SEIZURES Duangrurdee Wattanasirichaigoon1, Anannit Visudtibhan1, Suchart Phudhichareonrat2, Surang Chiemchanya1, Preeya Leelahagul3, Kannika Suwan3 and Sarayut Supapannachart1 1 Department of Pediatrics, 3Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital,Mahidol University, Bangkok; 2Prasat Neurological Institute, Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Public Health, Bangkok, Thailand Abstract. Seizures are a common problem in neonates. Differential diagnoses include infection, trauma, hypoxia and congenital metabolic disorders. Among these, congenital metabolic disorder is less familiar to general pediatricians. We report two patients with nonketotic hyperglycinemia (NKH), a rare and lethal congenital metabolic disease. Transient hyperammonemia and transient hypouricemia, uncommon features found in NKH, were detected in one patient. High doses of sodium benzoate and dextromethorphan failed to modify the clinical course. Neuropathology denoted characteristic diffuse vacuolization and changes in reactive and gliotic astrocytes. The clinical course, biochemical findings, diagnostic approaches and diagnostic tests are discussed in detail. Recent modalities of treatment are reviewed. Because of its rarity and rapidly progres- sive course, it maybe underdiagnosed resulting in death before being recognized. Awareness of the possibility of congenital metabolic disorder in early neonatal catastrophe will increase the diagnostic rate. INTRODUCTION is accumulated in large amounts in body fluids, especially in the brain, leading to NKH (Hamosh Neonatal seizure is a common condition and Johnston, 2001). Clinically, NKH is clas-in general practice. Etiologies are heteroge- sified into three subtypes: neonatal onset, lateneous, including structural malformation of the onset, and transient form (Tada 1987; Tada etbrain, electrolyte disturbances, CNS infection, al, 1992).hypoxic insult, and a number of hereditary Most patients have the neonatal pheno-metabolic diseases (Lyon et al, 1996). Prompt type, presenting in the first few days of life,recognition is essential to successful medical with lethargy, hypotonia and myoclonic jerks,intervention. It is important to establish a correct progressing to respiratory arrest and often death.diagnosis, as therapies and prognoses are dra- For those who survive, intractable seizure andmatically different. Diagnostic failure may lead severe psychomotor retardation death, or to life-long impairment of cog-nition and motor development. Only a few patients have been described with transient NKH. Biochemically and clini- Nonketotic hyperglycinemia (NKH) is a cally, these patients are indistinguishable fromrare genetic disease, inherited as an autosomal patients with neonatal NKH. By two to eightrecessive trait. Tada et al (1969) first described weeks of age, their glycine levels return toa primary defect in the glycine degradation normal. Four out of five have no apparentsystem (glycine cleavage system), which is neurologic sequelae. The transient nature isconfined to the mitochondria. As a result, glycine believed to be related to the immaturity of the glycine system in both the liver and the brain.Correspondence: Duangrurdee Wattanasirichaigoon, Recurrence has not been reported (Tada, 1987;Department of Pediatrics, Ramathibodi Hospital, Tada et al, 1992; Homosh and Johnston, 2001).Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand. Pyridoxine-dependent seizures associated withE-mail: transient NKH have been reported (Maeda et202 Vol 34 No. 1 March 2003
  2. 2. NKH IN TWO SIBLINGSal, 2000). Correct diagnosis and treatment of rior fontanel, 3x3 cm. Chest, abdominal andpyridoxine-dependent seizures are essential for genital and extremity examinations were withina dramatically different neurologic outcome. normal limits. Decreased muscle tone was believed secondary to deep sedation. The repeat In this report, we describe two brothers biochemical profile showed normal levels ofwith classic NKH. One patient was treated electrolytes, Na 141, K 4.7, Cl 109, CO2 24,with sodium benzoate, dextromethorphan and and blood glucose 137 mg/dl. Other findingssupportive therapies. Progressive neurological were NH3 levels of 23 and 30 µmol/l (normaldevastation was inevitable. The clinical ap- range 9-33), lactate level 1.5 mmol/l (normalproach, recent progress and management are range 0.5-2.0). Initial uric acid level was lowreviewed. at 1.6 mg/dl, and a subsequent level was nor-Case 1 mal at 3.5 mg/dl. PM was a 14 day-old male neonate, born EEG revealed a diffused low-voltaged back-at 33 weeks gestation, to a G2P1, 32 year-old ground. Burst suppression pattern was notwoman, by cesarean section for fetal distress. observed. Computed tomography of the brainApgar scores were 7 and 8 at 1 and 5 minutes, revealed a diffuse low density of white matterrespectively. Body weight was 2,180 g and in the cerebral hemisphere and cerebellum,head circumference 32 cm. pachygyria at both frontal lobes, and ventricles normal in appearance. Family history revealed a non-consanguin-eous couple of Thai descendant. The father Given a classic pattern of intractablewas aged 32 and the mother 31. The couple’s myoclonic seizure, with hiccuping and apneicfirst child had seizures as a neonate, and died episodes, normoglycemia and normal acid baseof aspiration pneumonia at age three weeks. balance, nonketotic hyperglycinemia (NKH) was strongly suspected. To determine a definite Four hours after birth, grunting and sub- diagnosis of NKH, simultaneous samples ofcostal retraction was observed. Generalized myo- CSF and plasma were obtained (Cohen et al,clonic seizures and hiccups occurred suddenly, 1989; Tanphaichitr et al, 2000). CSF glycinenecessitating intubation of an endotracheal tube and plasma glycine levels were 125 (normaland mechanical ventilation. Initial investiga- range 5 ± 2) and 1,500 µmol/l (normal rangetions included normal blood glucose 72 mg/ 120-560), giving a CSF-plasma glycine ratiodl, Ca 8.9 mg/dl, Na 137 mmol/l, K 4.4 mmol/ value of 0.082, which was diagnostic for NKH.l, Cl 104 mmol/l, CO2 14 mmol/l, serum AST41 U/dl, serum ALT 11 U/dl, and normal Dextromethorphan (35 mg/kg/day) dividedcomplete blood count. Ammonia level was 359 into four doses per day, and sodium benzoateµmol/l with a lactate level of 1.3 mmol/l. (250 mg/kg/day) were given as an adjunctUrinalysis was normal with ketone absent. Lum- therapy to phenobarbital, phenytoin, and ben-bar puncture revealed clear CSF, RBC 4/mm3, zodiazepines. Despite the treatment, the myo-WBC 4/mm3, glucose 66 mg/dl, and protein clonic jerk continued. Hiccuping became more78 mg/dl. Subsequently, blood and CSF cul- frequent and strong, until the 23rd day of life,tures were reported negative for organisms. A when PM was mostly in an apneic condition,combination of phenobarbital and phenytoin, during a few days later.and high dose (100 mg) of vitamin B6 failed An autopsy was performed that revealedto control his seizures. Symptomatic therapy changes in the respiratory system secondary toincluded anticonvulsant drugs, intravenous fluid chronic assisted ventilation. The brain wasinfusion and respiratory support. grossly unremarkable. Histologic examination On day 4, PM was referred to our hos- could not confirm the presence of pachygyriapital. Physical examination revealed a as seen in antemortem CT findings. However,nondysmorphic infant with non-bulging ante- extensive tissue rarefaction, vacuolization andVol 34 No. 1 March 2003 203
  3. 3. SOUTHEAST ASIAN J TROP MED PUBLIC HEALTHan increase in both reactive and gliotic astro- vation in ammonia level in patient 1, a primarycytes were found in the white matter, espe- defect of the urea cycle and transientcially the deep white matter of all regions. In hyperammonemia associated with prematurityaddition, microcalcifications were noted in some should be warranted. The high ammonia con-areas of the white matter. centration spontaneously subsided, suggesting a transient elevation of ammonia level. TheCase 2 present patient, together with those of previous SM was an older sibing of PM. He was reports, amount to at least five patients withdescribed as a former full-term, normal-ap- NKH and transient hyperammonemia (Shiffmannpearing male infant. SM was born with a birth et al, 1992; Lu et al, 1999). Whether or notweight of 3,400 g and normal Apgar scores a correlation between hyperammonemia andof 9, 10 at 1, 5 minutes. At 3 hours of life, NKH exists, or it was an incidental finding,myoclonic seizures developed. Basic investi- remains to be determined.gations including serum Na, Ca, Mg, P, and Due to the low uric acid level, molybde-blood glucose levels were reportedly normal. num cofactor deficiency, another distinct dis-Spinal tap for CSF cell counts, protein and order causing neonatal seizure, was also con-sugar levels were within normal ranges. Sei- cerned. This condition was ruled out by azures continued and did not respond to any subsequent normalization of uric acid level.kind of anti-epileptic treatment. CT scan of the Two high doses of vitamin B6 failed to over-brain revealed delayed myelination for age come epileptic activities, making the diagnosiswith no structural abnormality. At 23 days, SM of pyridoxine-dependent seizures unlikely.died of uncontrolled seizures and complicatedpneumonia. The etiology of the seizures was In NKH, glycine cleavage activity isnot established at that time. Autopsy was not decreased in liver and brain tissues; in ketoticattempted. hyperglycinemia, only activity in hepatic tis- sues is affected as a result of the secondary suppression of abnormal metabolite in patients DISCUSSION with organic acidemia. Thus the absence of ketoacidosis and the normal profile of organic Two infants with myoclonic seizures at 3 acid in urine is supporting evidence of NKH.and 4 hours of life were characterized. In Transient elevation of plasma glycine, but normalpatient 1, the diagnosis of NKH was initially CSF glycine, can be found in patients receiv-made by clinical recognition of seizure pattern, ing anticonvulsant valproate (Belkinsopp andcomprising of myoclonic jerk, frequent and DuPont, 1997). A possible explanation is thatsevere hiccuping and episodes of apnea . The fatty acid dipropylactate inhibits hepatic gly-supporting evidence was a CSF-plasma gly- cine metabolism (Belkinsopp and DuPont, 1977).cine ratio greater than 0.08, diagnostic for The diagnosis of NKH cannot be establishedNKH (Tada and Kure, 1993; Hamosh and in the presence of valproate therapy (BelkinsoppJohnston, 2001). The diagnosis in patient 2 and DuPont, 1977).was made retrospectively, based on clinical The onset of symptoms in NKH usuallygrounds and being a sibling of patient 1. Both occurs between six hours to eight days, withneonates were extremely severe NKH cases. 66% of patients being symptomatic by 48 hoursAlthough measuring the activity of the glycine (Lyon et al, 1996; Hamosh and Johnston, 2001).cleavage complex in frozen liver tissue is rec- Lethargy and profound hypotonia and feedingommended, it was not performed in our cases difficulties are the first signs. Most patientsdue to lack of feasibility (Kure et al, 1998). have normal to increased DTR. As the course From the clinical point of view, other of the illness progresses, they develop myo-differential diagnoses of congenital metabolic clonic jerks, apneic episodes and hiccups. Mostdisorders should be mentioned. Given the ele- infants require assisted ventilation in the first204 Vol 34 No. 1 March 2003
  4. 4. NKH IN TWO SIBLINGSweeks of life. Approximately 30% of cases die These include NMDA antagonists: ketamine,in the neonatal period. Those who survive tryptophan and dextromethorphan. Sodiumusually regain spontaneous respiration by three benzoate could lower glycine levels by beingweeks of age and can live for several months. conjugated with glycine to form hippurate,Untreated patients develop refractory seizure, which is excreted in urine (Wolff et al, 1986;usually after three months of age (Tada and Shiffmann et al, 1992; Hamosh and Johnston,Kure, 1993). 2001). Some success has been observed in decreasing seizures and improvement of con- In the first two weeks of life, the EEG sciousness, spontaneous breathing, muscle toneis characterized by a burst-suppression pattern. and feeding, but the neurological impairmentHowever, this pattern is not diagnostic, but it is irreversible (Tada et al, 1992; Lyon et al,is highly suggestive. On the other hand, as 1996; Hamosh and Johnston, 2001). Neubergerseen in our patients, absence of the typical et al (2000) reported a mild atypical NKH inEEG can not exclude NKH. Neuroimaging has a 6-month-old girl who experienced seizureusually revealed nonspecific progressive atro- with continuously progressing psychomotor de-phy and delayed myelination (Hamosh and velopment after initiation of sodium benzoateJohnston, 2001). Acute hydrocephalus, a and dextromethorphan treatment.megacisterna magna or posterior fossa cyst inMRI, were also described (Van Hove et al, The glycine cleavage system is a group2000). of complex enzymes composed of 4 sub-units: P- protein (periodical phosphate-dependent gly- Glycine is a neurotransmitter. It has both cine decarboxylase), H-protein (a lipoic acid-inhibitory and exhibitory effects. Its inhibitory containing protein), T-protein (a tetrahydrofolate-role in the spinal cord and brain stem is probably requiring enzyme), L-protein (lipoamide dehy-responsible for the apnea and hiccuping seen drogenase) (Kikuchi, 1973). The gene for thein this disorder. Glycine has an excitatory role human P protein maps to chromosome 9p13,in the cortex at N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and consists of 25 exons, encoding a proteinreceptor of glutamine, widely distributed in the of 1,020 amino acids. Several point mutationsbrain (Ohya et al, 1991). This action may and frame shift mutations have been identified.explain the intractable seizures and the brain The majority of Finnish patient has a commondamage in this condition. mutation G to T substitution, causing a serine There is evidence that glycine toxicity is to isoleucine change at codon 564 (Kure et al,of prenatal onset. Mothers of infants with NKH 1992). Overall, more than 80% of patients hadfrequently report abnormal fetal movements, defects in the P-protein, and 15% in the T-which are reported as persistent intrauterine protein, and a few families had defects in thehiccups. Dysgenesis of the corpus callosum H-protein (Tada and Kure, 1993; Kure et al,frequently found in CT or autopsy (corpus 1998). L-protein mutation has not been iden-callosum develops between 11 and 20 weeks tified in NKH patients.of gestation) suggest early in utero insult and Prenatal diagnosis is possible by measur-may indicate difficulty in treating this condi- ing glycine cleavage activity by chorionic villustion. In addition, diffuse vacuolization and the sampling at 8-16 weeks’ gestation (Hayasakapathological changes of the white matter seen et al, 1990; Kure et al, 1992; Toone et al,in patient 1 are similar to those previously 1992). Enzyme analysis is applicable to bothdescribed in cases of nonketotic hyperglycinemia P-protein and T-protein deficiencies. However,(Shuman et al, 1978; Kaluza et al, 1999). it is difficult to perform and may occasionally No effective therapy exists, but several give a borderline result (Toone et al, 1994).experimental therapies directed at decreasing There is an approximately 1% chance of athe glycine concentration and blocking its effect pregnancy with a normal CVS activity result-at the NMDA receptor are under investigation. ing in an affected child, due to a grey zoneVol 34 No. 1 March 2003 205
  5. 5. SOUTHEAST ASIAN J TROP MED PUBLIC HEALTHin enzyme values (Applegarth et al, 2000). agnosis of nonketotic hyperglycinemia: enzy-Amniocytes do not have glycine cleavage system matic analysis of the glycine cleavage system inactivity, so they can not be used for prenatal chorionic villi. J Pediatr 1990; 116: 444-5.enzyme analysis (Hayasaka et al, 1990). Kaluza J, Marszal E, Jamroz E, Pietruszewski J. Vari-Measurements of amniotic fluid glycine and ability of localization and intensity of damage ofserine ratios were used in the past, but there the white matter of the brain and cerebellum inis a significant overlap of values between genetically conditioned diseases. Folia Neuropathol 1999; 37: 217-9.affected fetuses and controls, so this methodis discouraged (Mesavage et al, 1983). DNA Kikuchi G. The glycine cleavage system: Composi-diagnosis is feasible in families where the tion, reaction mechanism, and physiologic sig-specific mutation is known (Tada and Kure, nificance. Mol Cell Biochem 1973; 1: 169-87.1993; Kure et al, 1999a). An advantage of Kure S, Mandel H, Rolland MO, et al. A missenseDNA-based diagnosis becomes more impor- mutation (His42Arg) in the T-protein gene fromtant when enzyme activity testing becomes a large Israeli-Arab kindred with nonketotic hyperglycinemia. Hum Genet 1998; 102: 430-4.problematic with ambiguous results (Kure etal, 1999b). Kure S, Rolland MO, Leisti J, et al. Prenatal diagnosis of non-ketotic hyperglycinaemia: enzymatic di- agnosis in 28 families and DNA diagnosis detect- ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ing prevalent Finnish and Israeli-Arab mutations. Prenat Diagn 1999a; 19: 717-20. This study was partly supported by grants Kure S, Tada K, Narisawa K. Nonketoticfrom the Thai Research Fund (RA/12/2544). hyperglycinemia: biochemical, molecular, andWe appreciate PM’s family cooperation in the neurological aspects. Jpn J Hum Genet 1999b; We are also grateful to Prof VoranuntSuphiphat, Director of the Research Center Kure S, Takayanagi M, Narisawa K, Tada K, Leisti J.and Prof Vichai Tanphaichitr for facilitating all Identification of a common mutation in Finnish patients with nonketotic hyperglycinemia. J Clintechnical support. Invest 1992; 90: 160-4. Lu FL, Wang PJ, Hwu WL, Tsou Yau KI, Wang TR. REFERENCES Neonatal type of nonketotic hyperglycinemia. Pediatr Neurol 1999; 20: 295-300.Applegarth DA, Toone JR, Rolland MO, Black SH, Lyon G, Adams RD, Kolodny EH. Neurology of he- Yim DK, Bemis G. Non-concordance of CVS reditary metabolic diseases of children. New and liver glycine cleavage enzyme in three fami- York: McGraw-Hill, 1996. lies with non-ketotic hyperglycinaemia (NKH) Maeda T, Inutsuka M, Goto K, Izumi T. Transient leading to false negative prenatal diagnoses. nonketotic hyperglycinemia in an asphyxiated Prenat Diagn 2000; 20: 367-70. patient with pyridoxine-dependent seizures.Belkinsopp WK, DuPont PA. Dipropylacetate Pediatr Neurol 2000; 22: 225-7. (valproate)and glycine metabolism. Lancet 1997; Mesavage C, Nance CS, Flannery DB, Weiner DL, 2: 617. Suchy SF, Wolf B. Glycine/serine ratios in am-Cohen SA, Meys T, Tarvin TL. The Pico Tag Method: niotic fluid: an unreliable indicator for the pre- manual of advanced techniques for amino acid natal diagnosis of nonketotic hyperglycine- analysis. Milford: Waters Division of Millipore, mia. Clin Genet 1983; 23: 354-8. 1989. Neuberger JM, Schweitzer S, Rolland MO, BurghardHamosh A, Johnston MV. Nonketotic hyperglycine- R. Effect of sodium benzoate in the treatment of mia. In: Scriver CR, Beaudet AL, Sly WS, Valle atypical nonketotic hyperglycinaemia. J Inherit D, eds. The metabolic and molecular bases of in- Metab Dis 2000; 23: 22-6. herited disease. Vol 2. New York: McGraw-Hill, Ohya Y, Ochi N, Mizutani N, Hayakawa C, Watanabe 2001: 2065-78. K. Nonketotic hyperglycinemia: treatment withHayasaka K, Tada K, Fueki N, Aikawa J. Prenatal di- NMDA antagonist and consideration of neuro-206 Vol 34 No. 1 March 2003
  6. 6. NKH IN TWO SIBLINGS pathogenesis. Pediatr Neurol 1991; 7:65-8. Med 1969; 98: 289-96.Shiffmann R, Boneh A, Ergaz Z, Glick B. Nonketotic Tanphaichitr V, Leelahagul P, Suwan K. Plasma amino hyperglycinemia presenting with pin-point pupils acid patterns and visceral protein status in users and hyperammonemia. Isr J Med Sci 1978; and nonusers of monosodium glutamate. J Nutr 28:91-3. 2000; 130:1005s-1006s.Shuman RM, Leech RW, Scott CR. The neuropathol- Toone JR, Applegarth DA, Levy HL. Prenatal diagno- ogy of the nonketotic hyperglycinemia: three sis of non-ketotic hyperglycinemia. J Inher cases. Neurology 1978; 28:139-46. Metab Dis 1992; 15: 713-9.Tada K. Nonketotic hyperglycinemia: clinical and Toone JR, Applegarth DA, Levy HL. Prenatal diagno- metabolic aspects. Enzyme 1987; 38: 27-35. sis of non-ketotic hyperglycinemia: experienceTada K, Kure S. Non-ketotic hyperglycinaemia: mo- in50 at-risk pregnancies. J Inher Metab Dis lecular lesion, diagnosis and pathophysiology. J 1994; 17: 342-4. Inherit Metab Dis 1993; 16: 691-703. Van Hove JL, Kishnani PS, Demaerel P, et al. AcuteTada K, Kure S, Takayanagi M, Kume A, Narisawa K. hydrocephalus in nonketotic hyperglycemia. Non-ketotic hyperglycinemia: a life-threatening Neurology 2000; 54: 754-6. disorder in the neonate. Early Hum Dev 1992; Wolff JA, Kulovich S, Yu AL, Qiao CN, Nyhan WL. 29:75-81. The effectiveness of benzoate in the managementTada K, Narisawa K, Yoshida T. Hyperglycinemia: A of seizures in nonketotic hyperglycinemia. Am J defect in glycine cleavage reaction. Tohoku J Exp Dis Child 1986; 140: 596-602.Vol 34 No. 1 March 2003 207