Publications by authors named "Esther M Maier"

42 Publications

Subcutaneous vitamin B12 administration using a portable infusion pump in cobalamin-related remethylation disorders: a gentle and easy to use alternative to intramuscular injections.

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2021 May 12;16(1):215. Epub 2021 May 12.

Department of Inborn Errors of Metabolism, Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Lindwurmstr. 4, 80337, Munich, Germany.

Background: Cobalamin (cbl)-related remethylation disorders are a heterogeneous group of inherited disorders comprising the remethylation of homocysteine to methionine and affecting multiple organ systems, most prominently the nervous system and the bone marrow. To date, the parenteral, generally intramuscular, lifelong administration of hydroxycobalamin (OHCbl) is the mainstay of therapy in these disorders. The dosage and frequency of OHCbl is titrated in each patient to the minimum effective dose in order to account for the painful injections. This may result in undertreatment, a possible risk factor for disease progression and disease-related complications.

Results: We describe parenteral administration of OHCbl using a subcutaneous catheter together with a portable infusion pump in a home therapy setting in four pediatric patients with remethylation disorders, two patients with cblC, one patient with cblG, and one patient with cblE deficiency, in whom intramuscular injections were not or no longer feasible. The placement of the subcutaneous catheters and handling of the infusion pump were readily accomplished and well accepted by the patients and their families. No adverse events occurred. The use of a small, portable syringe driver pump allowed for a most flexible administration of OHCbl in everyday life. The concentrations of total homocysteine levels were determined at regular patient visits and remained within the therapeutic target range. This approach allowed for the continuation of OHCbl therapy or the adjustment of therapy required to improve metabolic control in our patients.

Conclusions: Subcutaneous infusion using a subcutaneous catheter system and a portable pump for OHCbl administration in combined and isolated remethylation disorders is safe, acceptable, and effective. It decreases disease burden in preventing frequent single injections and providing patient independence. Thus, it may promote long-term adherence to therapy in patients and parents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-021-01847-9DOI Listing
May 2021

Newborn screening and disease variants predict neurological outcome in isovaleric aciduria.

J Inherit Metab Dis 2021 Jan 25. Epub 2021 Jan 25.

Division of Child Neurology and Metabolic Medicine, Center for Child and Adolescent Medicine and Dietmar Hopp Metabolic Center, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Isovaleric aciduria (IVA), a metabolic disease with severe (classic IVA) or attenuated phenotype (mild IVA), is included in newborn screening (NBS) programs worldwide. The long-term clinical benefit of screened individuals, however, is still rarely investigated. A national, prospective, observational, multi-center study of individuals with confirmed IVA identified by NBS between 1998 and 2018 was conducted. Long-term clinical outcomes of 94 individuals with IVA were evaluated, representing 73.4% (for classic IVA: 92.3%) of the German NBS cohort. In classic IVA (N = 24), NBS prevented untimely death except in one individual with lethal neonatal sepsis (3.8%) but did not completely prevent single (N = 10) or recurrent (N = 7) metabolic decompensations, 13 of them occurring already neonatally. IQ (mean ± SD, 90.7 ± 10.1) was mostly normal but below the reference population (P = .0022) and was even lower in individuals with severe neonatal decompensations (IQ 78.8 ± 7.1) compared to those without crises (IQ 94.7 ± 7.5; P = .01). Similar results were obtained for school placement. In contrast, individuals with mild IVA had excellent neurocognitive outcomes (IQ 105.5 ± 15.8; normal school placement) and a benign disease course (no metabolic decompensation, normal hospitalization rate), which did not appear to be impacted by metabolic maintenance therapy. In conclusion, NBS reduces mortality in classic IVA, but does not reliably protect against severe neonatal metabolic decompensations, crucial for favorable neurocognitive outcome. In contrast, individuals with mild IVA had excellent clinical outcomes regardless of metabolic maintenance therapy, questioning their benefit from NBS. Harmonized stratified therapeutic concepts are urgently needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jimd.12364DOI Listing
January 2021

Impact of interventional and non-interventional variables on anthropometric long-term development in glutaric aciduria type 1: A national prospective multi-centre study.

J Inherit Metab Dis 2021 May 15;44(3):629-638. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Division of Child Neurology and Metabolic Medicine, Centre for Child and Adolescent Medicine, University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany.

Glutaric aciduria type 1 (GA1) is a rare neurometabolic disorder, caused by inherited deficiency of glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase, mostly affecting the brain. Early identification by newborn screening (NBS) significantly improves neurologic outcome. It has remained unclear whether recommended therapy, particular low lysine diet, is safe or negatively affects anthropometric long-term outcome. This national prospective, observational, multi-centre study included 79 patients identified by NBS and investigated effects of interventional and non-interventional parameters on body weight, body length, body mass index (BMI) and head circumference as well as neurological parameters. Adherence to recommended maintenance and emergency treatment (ET) had a positive impact on neurologic outcome and allowed normal anthropometric development until adulthood. In contrast, non-adherence to ET, resulting in increased risk of dystonia, had a negative impact on body weight (mean SDS -1.07; P = .023) and body length (mean SDS -1.34; P = -.016). Consistently, longitudinal analysis showed a negative influence of severe dystonia on weight and length development over time (P < .001). Macrocephaly was more often found in female (mean SDS 0.56) than in male patients (mean SDS -0.20; P = .049), and also in individuals with high excreter phenotype (mean SDS 0.44) compared to low excreter patients (mean SDS -0.68; P = .016). In GA1, recommended long-term treatment is effective and allows for normal anthropometric long-term development up to adolescence, with gender- and excreter type-specific variations. Delayed ET and severe movement disorder result in poor anthropometric outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jimd.12335DOI Listing
May 2021

Clinical disease progression and biomarkers in Niemann-Pick disease type C: a prospective cohort study.

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2020 11 23;15(1):328. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Orphazyme A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC) is a rare, progressive, neurodegenerative disease associated with neurovisceral manifestations resulting from lysosomal dysfunction and aberrant lipid accumulation. A multicentre, prospective observational study (Clinical Trials.gov ID: NCT02435030) of individuals with genetically confirmed NPC1 or NPC2 receiving routine clinical care was conducted, to prospectively characterize and measure NPC disease progression and to investigate potential NPC-related biomarkers versus healthy individuals. Progression was measured using the abbreviated 5-domain NPC Clinical Severity Scale (NPCCSS), 17-domain NPCCSS and NPC clinical database (NPC-cdb) score. Cholesterol esterification and heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) levels were assessed from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), cholestane-3β,5α-,6β-triol (cholestane-triol) from serum, and unesterified cholesterol from both PBMCs and skin biopsy samples. The inter- and intra-rater reliability of the 5-domain NPCCSS was assessed by 13 expert clinicians' rating of four participants via video recordings, repeated after ≥ 3 weeks. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated.

Results: Of the 36 individuals with NPC (2-18 years) enrolled, 31 (86.1%) completed the 6-14-month observation period; 30/36 (83.3%) were receiving miglustat as part of routine clinical care. A mean (± SD) increase in 5-domain NPCCSS scores of 1.4 (± 2.9) was observed, corresponding to an annualized progression rate of 1.5. On the 17-domain NPCCSS, a mean (± SD) progression of 2.7 (± 4.0) was reported. Compared with healthy individuals, the NPC population had significantly lower levels of cholesterol esterification (p < 0.0001), HSP70 (p < 0.0001) and skin unesterified cholesterol (p = 0.0006). Cholestane-triol levels were significantly higher in individuals with NPC versus healthy individuals (p = 0.008) and correlated with the 5-domain NPCCSS (Spearman's correlation coefficient = 0.265, p = 0.0411). The 5-domain NPCCSS showed high ICC agreement in inter-rater reliability (ICC = 0.995) and intra-rater reliability (ICC = 0.937).

Conclusions: Progression rates observed were consistent with other reports on disease progression in NPC. The 5-domain NPCCSS reliability study supports its use as an abbreviated alternative to the 17-domain NPCCSS that focuses on the most relevant domains of the disease. The data support the use of cholestane-triol as a disease monitoring biomarker and the novel methods of measuring unesterified cholesterol could be applicable to support NPC diagnosis. Levels of HSP70 in individuals with NPC were significantly decreased compared with healthy individuals.

Trial Registration: CT-ORZY-NPC-001: ClincalTrials.gov NCT02435030, Registered 6 May 2015, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02435030 ; EudraCT 2014-005,194-37, Registered 28 April 2015, https://www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu/ctr-search/trial/2014-005194-37/DE . OR-REL-NPC-01: Unregistered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-020-01616-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7684888PMC
November 2020

Biallelic MADD variants cause a phenotypic spectrum ranging from developmental delay to a multisystem disorder.

Brain 2020 08;143(8):2437-2453

Department of Medical Genetics, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.

In pleiotropic diseases, multiple organ systems are affected causing a variety of clinical manifestations. Here, we report a pleiotropic disorder with a unique constellation of neurological, endocrine, exocrine, and haematological findings that is caused by biallelic MADD variants. MADD, the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activating death domain protein, regulates various cellular functions, such as vesicle trafficking, activity of the Rab3 and Rab27 small GTPases, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)-induced signalling and prevention of cell death. Through national collaboration and GeneMatcher, we collected 23 patients with 21 different pathogenic MADD variants identified by next-generation sequencing. We clinically evaluated the series of patients and categorized the phenotypes in two groups. Group 1 consists of 14 patients with severe developmental delay, endo- and exocrine dysfunction, impairment of the sensory and autonomic nervous system, and haematological anomalies. The clinical course during the first years of life can be potentially fatal. The nine patients in Group 2 have a predominant neurological phenotype comprising mild-to-severe developmental delay, hypotonia, speech impairment, and seizures. Analysis of mRNA revealed multiple aberrant MADD transcripts in two patient-derived fibroblast cell lines. Relative quantification of MADD mRNA and protein in fibroblasts of five affected individuals showed a drastic reduction or loss of MADD. We conducted functional tests to determine the impact of the variants on different pathways. Treatment of patient-derived fibroblasts with TNF-α resulted in reduced phosphorylation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2, enhanced activation of the pro-apoptotic enzymes caspase-3 and -7 and increased apoptosis compared to control cells. We analysed internalization of epidermal growth factor in patient cells and identified a defect in endocytosis of epidermal growth factor. We conclude that MADD deficiency underlies multiple cellular defects that can be attributed to alterations of TNF-α-dependent signalling pathways and defects in vesicular trafficking. Our data highlight the multifaceted role of MADD as a signalling molecule in different organs and reveal its physiological role in regulating the function of the sensory and autonomic nervous system and endo- and exocrine glands.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa204DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7447524PMC
August 2020

Diagnostic Challenges Using a 2-Tier Strategy for Methylmalonic Acidurias: Data from 1.2 Million Dried Blood Spots.

Ann Nutr Metab 2020 17;76(4):268-276. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

Department of Inborn Errors of Metabolism, Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany,

Background: The detection of methylmalonic acid (MMA) by second-tier analysis has been shown to reduce the number of false positives in newborn screening (NBS) for genetically determined methylmalonic acidurias (MMAuria). In addition to genetic conditions, MMA is an indicator of vitamin B12 status, thus applicable to detect maternal vitamin B12 deficiency in the newborns screened.

Methods: Biochemical and clinical follow-up data of a 7.5-year pilot study with 1.2 million newborns screened were reviewed.

Results: Among 1,195,850 NBS samples, 3,595 (0.3%) fulfilled criteria for second-tier analysis of MMA. In 37 (0.003%; 1/32,000) samples, elevated concentrations of MMA were detected, resulting in diagnostic workup at a metabolic center in 21 newborns. In 6 infants (1/199,000), genetic conditions were established, 1 infant with cobalamin C deficiency (CblC) showed only a moderate elevation of MMA. The remaining 15 newborns (1/79,000) displayed significantly lower concentrations of MMA and were evaluated for maternal vitamin B12 deficiency. In 9 mothers, vitamin B12 deficiency was verified, and 6 showed no indication for vitamin B12 deficiency. Treatment with vitamin B12 normalized biochemical parameters in all 15 infants.

Conclusions: Applying a 2-tier strategy measuring MMA in NBS identified genetic conditions of MMAuria. It was possible to separate severe, early-onset phenotypes from maternal vitamin B12 deficiency. However, the detection of CblC deficiency with mildly elevated MMA interferes with impaired vitamin B12 status of unknown relevance and thus burdens possibly healthy newborns. Regarding maternal vitamin B12 deficiency, testing and supplementing mothers-to-be is preferable. This might decrease straining follow-up of newborns and improve quality and overall perception of NBS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000508838DOI Listing
July 2020

[Dietary treatment of inborn errors of metabolism-a balancing act between indulgence and therapy].

Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz 2020 Jul;63(7):864-871

Abteilung für angeborene Stoffwechselerkrankungen, Kinderklinik und Kinderpoliklinik im Dr. von Haunerschen Kinderspital der LMU München, Lindwurmstr. 4, 80337, München, Deutschland.

For many inborn metabolic diseases, a lifelong diet is a crucial part of the therapy since pharmacological therapy is available for only a few conditions and patients. The implementation of a low natural protein diet with a reduced intake of natural protein and the complementary use of synthetic amino acid mixtures is described using the examples of phenylketonuria and urea cycle disorders focusing on children and adolescents. For phenylketonuria, the amino acid supplement is free of phenylalanine whereas for urea cycle disorders, it exclusively consists of essential amino acids. The dietary treatment aims to maintain metabolic stability and to prevent accumulation of toxic metabolites. At the same time, the nutritional requirements to ensure growth and development must be met. Therefore, patients need to follow strict rules regarding the choice of food products. This restrictive therapy interferes with the desire for autonomy and the joy of eating and often results in a reduced quality of life.Following the diet is crucial for a favorable outcome. To meet its requirements, patients and their families are provided with training. It is a great challenge not only to support the patients and their families in all practical aspects of dietary management, but also to motivate them to lifelong adherence in order to ensure the best possible outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00103-020-03168-xDOI Listing
July 2020

Retinal axonal degeneration in Niemann-Pick type C disease.

J Neurol 2020 Jul 28;267(7):2070-2082. Epub 2020 Mar 28.

Department of Neurology, Ludwig-Maximilians University München, Marchioninistr. 15, 81377, Munich, Germany.

Objective: Niemann-Pick disease type C1 (NPC1) is a rare autosomal-recessive lysosomal storage disorder presenting with a broad clinical spectrum ranging from a severe infantile-onset neurovisceral disorder to late-onset neurodegenerative disease. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is established to detect retinal degeneration in vivo. We examined NPC1-patients (NPC1-P), clinically asymptomatic NPC1-mutation carriers (NPC1-MC), and healthy controls (HC) to (1) identify retinal degeneration in NPC1-disease and (2) to investigate possible subclinical retinal degeneration in NPC1-MC.

Methods: Fourteen NPC1-P, 17 NPC1-MC, and 31 age-matched HC were examined using spectral-domain OCT. Neurological examinations, clinical scales [modified Disability Rating Scale (mDRS); Scale for the Rating and Assessment of Ataxia (SARA); Spinocerebellar Ataxia Functional Index (SCAFI)], and video-oculography (VOG) were correlated with OCT data.

Results: Macular retinal nerve fiber layer and volumes of combined ganglion cell and inner plexiform layer were significantly lower in NPC1-P compared to HC [mRNFL (µm):0.13 ± 0.01 vs. 0.14 ± 0.02; p = 0.01; GCIPL (mm):0.60 ± 0.05 vs. 0.62 ± 0.04; p = 0.04]. No significant differences were found in NPC1-MC in comparison to HC. In NPC1-P, the amplitude of upward vertical saccades showed positive associations with peripapillary RNFL (ρ = 0.645; p < 0.05), and thinned GCIP (ρ = 0.609; p < 0.05), but not in NPC1-MC. In NPC1-P correlations between combined outer plexiform layer and outer nuclear layer (OPONL) with mDRS (r = - 0.617; p < 0.05) and GCIP with SARA (r = - 0.622; p < 0.05) were observed. Furthermore, in NPC1-MC, motor scores were negatively associated with pRNFL (ρ = - 0.677; p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Using OCT, we showed retinal degeneration in NPC1-P and significant correlation between retinal neuroaxonal degeneration with clinical measurements. We observed a non-significant trend of retinal degeneration in NPC1-MC correlating with subclinical motor abnormalities. Based on these preliminary data, OCT may be an important marker of neurodegeneration in NPC1-disease after onset of clinical symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-020-09796-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7320959PMC
July 2020

Management of three preterm infants with phenylketonuria.

Nutrition 2020 03 17;71:110619. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital, Department of Inborn Errors of Metabolism, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany. Electronic address:

Providing adequate amounts of protein in preterm infants suffering from a metabolic disease that requires a reduced intake of natural protein is challenging. Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an inborn error of metabolism affecting the enzymatic conversion of phenylalanine to tyrosine. The dietary treatment of PKU aims to lower phenylalanine concentrations in the blood by implementing a low-phenylalanine diet restrictive in natural protein. We describe the nutritional management of three preterm infants, two with very low birth weight, with PKU detected by newborn screening. All three infants tolerated high amounts of phenylalanine; two were breastfed unrestrictedly during late prematurity. We show that nutrition of preterm infants with PKU according to recommendations of early and intensive nutrition with a high intake of protein is feasible even in infants with impaired enteral feeding. Due to a high phenylalanine tolerance of PKU infants during prematurity, there is no need for a phenylalanine-free parenteral amino acid mixture. During the catabolic state of prematurity preterm infants with PKU have phenylalanine requirements comparable to healthy preterm infants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2019.110619DOI Listing
March 2020

Mutations in PIGB Cause an Inherited GPI Biosynthesis Defect with an Axonal Neuropathy and Metabolic Abnormality in Severe Cases.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 08 27;105(2):384-394. Epub 2019 Jun 27.

Department of Paediatric Neurology, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK.

Proteins anchored to the cell surface via glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) play various key roles in the human body, particularly in development and neurogenesis. As such, many developmental disorders are caused by mutations in genes involved in the GPI biosynthesis and remodeling pathway. We describe ten unrelated families with bi-allelic mutations in PIGB, a gene that encodes phosphatidylinositol glycan class B, which transfers the third mannose to the GPI. Ten different PIGB variants were found in these individuals. Flow cytometric analysis of blood cells and fibroblasts from the affected individuals showed decreased cell surface presence of GPI-anchored proteins. Most of the affected individuals have global developmental and/or intellectual delay, all had seizures, two had polymicrogyria, and four had a peripheral neuropathy. Eight children passed away before four years old. Two of them had a clinical diagnosis of DOORS syndrome (deafness, onychodystrophy, osteodystrophy, mental retardation, and seizures), a condition that includes sensorineural deafness, shortened terminal phalanges with small finger and toenails, intellectual disability, and seizures; this condition overlaps with the severe phenotypes associated with inherited GPI deficiency. Most individuals tested showed elevated alkaline phosphatase, which is a characteristic of the inherited GPI deficiency but not DOORS syndrome. It is notable that two severely affected individuals showed 2-oxoglutaric aciduria, which can be seen in DOORS syndrome, suggesting that severe cases of inherited GPI deficiency and DOORS syndrome might share some molecular pathway disruptions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.05.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6698938PMC
August 2019

Fatal pitfalls in newborn screening for mitochondrial trifunctional protein (MTP)/long-chain 3-Hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) deficiency.

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2018 07 20;13(1):122. Epub 2018 Jul 20.

Department of Inborn Errors of Metabolism, Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Lindwurmstr. 4, 80337, Munich, Germany.

Background: Mitochondrial trifunctional protein (MTP) and long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) deficiency are long-chain fatty acid oxidation disorders with particularly high morbidity and mortality. Outcome can be favorable if diagnosed in time, prompting the implementation in newborn screening programs. Sporadic cases missed by the initial screening sample have been reported. However, little is known on pitfalls during confirmatory testing resulting in fatal misconception of the diagnosis.

Results: We report a series of three patients with MTP and LCHAD deficiency, in whom diagnosis was missed by newborn screening, resulting in life-threatening metabolic decompensations within the first half year of life. Two of the patients showed elevated concentrations of primary markers C16-OH and C18:1-OH but were missed by confirmatory testing performed by the maternity clinic. A metabolic center was not consulted. Confirmatory testing consisted of analyses of acylcarnitines in blood and organic acids in urine, the finding of normal excretion of organic acids led to rejection and underestimation of the diagnosis, respectively. The third patient, a preterm infant, was not identified in the initial screening sample due to only moderate elevations of C16-OH and C18:1-OH and normal secondary markers and analyte ratios.

Conclusion: Our observations highlight limitations of newborn screening for MTP/LCHAD deficiency. They confirm that analyses of acylcarnitines in blood and organic acids in urine alone are not suitable for confirmatory testing and molecular or functional analysis is crucial in diagnosing MTP/LCHAD deficiency. Mild elevations of primary biomarkers in premature infants need to trigger confirmatory testing. Our report underscores the essential role of specialized centers in confirming or ruling out diagnoses in suspicious screening results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-018-0875-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6053800PMC
July 2018

Neurological Sequelae due to Inborn Metabolic Diseases in Pediatric Refugees: Challenges in Treating the Untreated.

Neuropediatrics 2018 12 28;49(6):363-368. Epub 2018 Jun 28.

Department of Inborn Errors of Metabolism, Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital, Munich, Germany.

In the 2015 mass migration from Syria and neighboring countries, Germany received an unprecedented number of 4,76,649 asylum applications. As many of the refugees arrived in Southern Germany via the Austrian border, the city of Munich was faced with the majority of Germany's inflow of war refugees and their complex health issues. Among the refugees were a high number of children. Their main health issues were infectious diseases and surgical procedures due to trauma, but we also encountered complex chronic diseases. This report describes clinical history, signs and symptoms, diagnostics, and treatment of six pediatric patients with untreated inborn errors of metabolism (IEM): phenylketonuria, biotinidase deficiency, HMG-CoA lyase deficiency, mucopolysaccharidosis type II, and mucopolysaccharidosis type VI. Since early diagnosis and treatment is essential in IEM, both delayed diagnosis and inadequate therapy in refugee children may lead to significant brain injury, organ damage, and even death. Severe neurological sequelae in both phenylketonuria and HMG-CoA lyase deficiency could have been prevented by newborn screening. Screening programs are necessary to improve the prognoses for refugee children. European Union governments and involved health care systems should pursue early diagnosis and treatment in pediatric refugees regarding IEM to prevent neurological long-term sequelae.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0038-1661415DOI Listing
December 2018

Newborn screening: A disease-changing intervention for glutaric aciduria type 1.

Ann Neurol 2018 05 30;83(5):970-979. Epub 2018 Apr 30.

Division of Child Neurology and Metabolic Medicine, Center for Child and Adolescent Medicine, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Objective: Untreated individuals with glutaric aciduria type 1 (GA1) commonly present with a complex, predominantly dystonic movement disorder (MD) following acute or insidious onset striatal damage. Implementation of GA1 into newborn screening (NBS) programs has improved the short-term outcome. It remains unclear, however, whether NBS changes the long-term outcome and which variables are predictive.

Methods: This prospective, observational, multicenter study includes 87 patients identified by NBS, 4 patients missed by NBS, and 3 women with GA1 identified by positive NBS results of their unaffected children.

Results: The study population comprises 98.3% of individuals with GA1 identified by NBS in Germany during 1999-2016. Overall, cumulative sensitivity of NBS is 95.6%, but it is lower (84%) for patients with low excreter phenotype. The neurologic outcome of patients missed by NBS is as poor as in the pre-NBS era, and the clinical phenotype of diagnosed patients depends on the quality of therapeutic interventions rather than noninterventional variables. Presymptomatic start of treatment according to current guideline recommendations clearly improves the neurologic outcome (MD: 7% of patients), whereas delayed emergency treatment results in acute onset MD (100%), and deviations from maintenance treatment increase the risk of insidious onset MD (50%). Independent of the neurologic phenotype, kidney function tends to decline with age, a nonneurologic manifestation not predicted by any variable included in this study.

Interpretation: NBS is a beneficial, disease-changing intervention for GA1. However, improved neurologic outcome critically depends on adherence to recommended therapy, whereas kidney dysfunction does not appear to be impacted by recommended therapy. Ann Neurol 2018;83:970-979.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25233DOI Listing
May 2018

Mutations in the X-linked cause a glycosylation disorder with autophagic defects.

J Exp Med 2017 Dec 10;214(12):3707-3729. Epub 2017 Nov 10.

Laboratory of Epithelial Biology and Disease, Imagine Institute, Paris, France

The biogenesis of the multi-subunit vacuolar-type H-ATPase (V-ATPase) is initiated in the endoplasmic reticulum with the assembly of the proton pore V0, which is controlled by a group of assembly factors. Here, we identify two hemizygous missense mutations in the extracellular domain of the accessory V-ATPase subunit ATP6AP2 (also known as the [pro]renin receptor) responsible for a glycosylation disorder with liver disease, immunodeficiency, cutis laxa, and psychomotor impairment. We show that deficiency in the mouse liver caused hypoglycosylation of serum proteins and autophagy defects. The introduction of one of the missense mutations into led to reduced survival and altered lipid metabolism. We further demonstrate that in the liver-like fat body, the autophagic dysregulation was associated with defects in lysosomal acidification and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling. Finally, both mutations impaired protein stability and the interaction with ATP6AP1, a member of the V0 assembly complex. Collectively, our data suggest that the missense mutations in lead to impaired V-ATPase assembly and subsequent defects in glycosylation and autophagy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1084/jem.20170453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5716037PMC
December 2017

Proposed recommendations for diagnosing and managing individuals with glutaric aciduria type I: second revision.

J Inherit Metab Dis 2017 01 16;40(1):75-101. Epub 2016 Nov 16.

Centre for Child and Adolescent Medicine, Department of General Paediatrics, Division of Neuropaediatrics and Metabolic Medicine, University Hospital Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 430, D-69120, Heidelberg, Germany.

Glutaric aciduria type I (GA-I; synonym, glutaric acidemia type I) is a rare inherited metabolic disease caused by deficiency of glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase located in the catabolic pathways of L-lysine, L-hydroxylysine, and L-tryptophan. The enzymatic defect results in elevated concentrations of glutaric acid, 3-hydroxyglutaric acid, glutaconic acid, and glutaryl carnitine in body tissues, which can be reliably detected by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (organic acids) and tandem mass spectrometry (acylcarnitines). Most untreated individuals with GA-I experience acute encephalopathic crises during the first 6 years of life that are triggered by infectious diseases, febrile reaction to vaccinations, and surgery. These crises result in striatal injury and consequent dystonic movement disorder; thus, significant mortality and morbidity results. In some patients, neurologic disease may also develop without clinically apparent crises at any age. Neonatal screening for GA-I us being used in a growing number of countries worldwide and is cost effective. Metabolic treatment, consisting of low lysine diet, carnitine supplementation, and intensified emergency treatment during catabolism, is effective treatment and improves neurologic outcome in those individuals diagnosed early; treatment after symptom onset, however, is less effective. Dietary treatment is relaxed after age 6 years and should be supervised by specialized metabolic centers. The major aim of this second revision of proposed recommendations is to re-evaluate the previous recommendations (Kölker et al. J Inherit Metab Dis 30:5-22, 2007b; J Inherit Metab Dis 34:677-694, 2011) and add new research findings, relevant clinical aspects, and the perspective of affected individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10545-016-9999-9DOI Listing
January 2017

Haploinsufficiency of KMT2B, Encoding the Lysine-Specific Histone Methyltransferase 2B, Results in Early-Onset Generalized Dystonia.

Am J Hum Genet 2016 Dec 10;99(6):1377-1387. Epub 2016 Nov 10.

Institut für Neurogenomik, Helmholtz Zentrum München, 85764 Munich, Germany; Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurologie, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, 81675 Munich, Germany; Institut für Humangenetik, Technische Universität München, 81675 Munich, Germany; Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology, SyNergy, 81377 Munich, Germany. Electronic address:

Early-onset generalized dystonia represents the severest form of dystonia, a hyperkinetic movement disorder defined by involuntary twisting postures. Although frequently transmitted as a single-gene trait, the molecular basis of dystonia remains largely obscure. By whole-exome sequencing a parent-offspring trio in an Austrian kindred affected by non-familial early-onset generalized dystonia, we identified a dominant de novo frameshift mutation, c.6406delC (p.Leu2136Serfs17), in KMT2B, encoding a lysine-specific methyltransferase involved in transcriptional regulation via post-translational modification of histones. Whole-exome-sequencing-based exploration of a further 30 German-Austrian individuals with early-onset generalized dystonia uncovered another three deleterious mutations in KMT2B-one de novo nonsense mutation (c.1633C>T [p.Arg545]), one de novo essential splice-site mutation (c.7050-2A>G [p.Phe2321Serfs93]), and one inherited nonsense mutation (c.2428C>T [p.Gln810]) co-segregating with dystonia in a three-generation kindred. Each of the four mutations was predicted to mediate a loss-of-function effect by introducing a premature termination codon. Suggestive of haploinsufficiency, we found significantly decreased total mRNA levels of KMT2B in mutant fibroblasts. The phenotype of individuals with KMT2B loss-of-function mutations was dominated by childhood lower-limb-onset generalized dystonia, and the family harboring c.2428C>T (p.Gln810) showed variable expressivity. In most cases, dystonic symptoms were accompanied by heterogeneous non-motor features. Independent support for pathogenicity of the mutations comes from the observation of high rates of dystonic presentations in KMT2B-involving microdeletion syndromes. Our findings thus establish generalized dystonia as the human phenotype associated with haploinsufficiency of KMT2B. Moreover, we provide evidence for a causative role of disordered histone modification, chromatin states, and transcriptional deregulation in dystonia pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.10.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5142117PMC
December 2016

Clinical outcome, biochemical and therapeutic follow-up in 14 Austrian patients with Long-Chain 3-Hydroxy Acyl CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency (LCHADD).

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2015 Feb 22;10:21. Epub 2015 Feb 22.

Medical University of Innsbruck, Clinic for Pediatrics, Inherited Metabolic Disorders, Anichstrasse 35, 6020, Innsbruck, Austria.

Background: LCHADD is a long-fatty acid oxidation disorder with immediate symptoms and long-term complications. We evaluated data on clinical status, biochemical parameters, therapeutic regimens and outcome of Austrian LCHADD patients.

Study Design: Clinical and outcome data including history, diagnosis, short- and long-term manifestations, growth, psychomotor development, hospitalizations, therapy of 14 Austrian patients with LCHADD were evaluated. Biochemically, we evaluated creatine kinase (CK) and acyl carnitine profiles.

Results: All LCHADD patients are homozygous for the common mutation. Three are siblings. Diagnosis was first established biochemically. Nine/14 (64%) were prematures, with IRDS occurring in six. In nine (64%), diagnosis was established through newborn screening, the remaining five (36%) were diagnosed clinically. Four pregnancies were complicated by HELLP syndrome, one by preeclampsia. In two, intrauterine growth retardation and placental insufficiency were reported. Five were diagnosed with hepatopathy at some point, seven with cardiomyopathy and eight with retinopathy, clinically relevant only in one patient. Polyneuropathy is only present in one. Three patients have a PEG, one is regularly fed via NG-tube. Growth is normal in all, as well as psychomotor development, except for two extremely premature girls. In 11 patients, 165 episodes with elevated creatine kinase concentrations were observed with 6-31 (median 14) per patient; three have shown no elevated CK concentrations. Median total carnitine on therapy was 19 μmol/l (range 11-61). For 14 patients, there have been 181 hospitalizations (median 9 per patient), comprising 1337 in-patient-days. All centres adhere to treatment with a fat-defined diet; patients have between 15% and 40% of their energy intake from fat (median 29%), out of which between 20% and 80% are medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) (median 62%). Four patients have been treated with heptanoate (C7).

Conclusion: Our data show LCHADD outcome can be favourable. Growth and psychomotor development is normal, except in two prematures. Frequency of CK measurements decreases with age, correlating with a decreasing number of hospitalizations. About 50% develop complications affecting different organ systems. There is no relevant difference between the patients treated in the respective centers. Concluding from single case reports, anaplerotic therapy with heptanoate should be further evaluated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-015-0236-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4407779PMC
February 2015

Mutations in TTC19: expanding the molecular, clinical and biochemical phenotype.

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2015 Apr 2;10:40. Epub 2015 Apr 2.

Department of Pediatrics, Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg, Muellner Hauptstr. 48, 5020, Salzburg, Austria.

Background: TTC19 deficiency is a progressive neurodegenerative disease associated with isolated mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) complex III deficiency and loss-of-function mutations in the TT19 gene in the few patients reported so far.

Methods: We performed exome sequencing and selective mutational analysis of TTC19, respectively, in patients from three unrelated families presenting with initially unspecific clinical signs of muscular hypotonia and global developmental delay followed by regression, ataxia, loss of speech, and rapid neurological deterioration. One patient showed severe lactic acidosis at the neonatal age and during intercurrent illness.

Results: We identified homozygous mutations in all three index cases, in two families novel missense mutations (c.544 T > C/p.Leu185Pro; c.917 T > C/p.Leu324Pro). The younger sister of the severely affected patient 3 showed only mild delay of motor skills and muscular hypotonia so far but is also homozygous for the same mutation. Notably, one patient revealed normal activities of MRC complex III in two independent muscle biopsies. Neuroimaging of the severely affected patients demonstrated lesions in putamen and caudate nuclei, cerebellar atrophy, and the unusual finding of hypertrophic olivary nuclei degeneration. Reviewing the literature revealed striking similarities regarding neuroimaging and clinical course in pediatric patients with TTC19 deficiency: patterns consistent with Leigh or Leigh-like syndrome were found in almost all, hypertrophic olivary nucleus degeneration in all patients reported so far. The clinical course in pediatric patients is characterized by an initially unspecific developmental delay, followed by regression, progressive signs and symptoms of cerebellar, basal ganglia and brainstem affection, especially loss of speech and ataxia. Subsequently, neurological deterioration leading to a vegetative state occurs.

Conclusions: Our findings add to the phenotypic, genetic, and biochemical spectrum of TTC19 deficiency. However, TTC19 deficient patients do show characteristic clinical and neuroimaging features, which may facilitate diagnosis of this yet rare disorder. Normal MRC complex III activity does not exclude the diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-015-0254-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4422538PMC
April 2015

The domain-specific and temperature-dependent protein misfolding phenotype of variant medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase.

PLoS One 2014 9;9(4):e93852. Epub 2014 Apr 9.

Department of Molecular Pediatrics, Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.

The implementation of expanded newborn screening programs reduced mortality and morbidity in medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD) caused by mutations in the ACADM gene. However, the disease is still potentially fatal. Missense induced MCADD is a protein misfolding disease with a molecular loss-of-function phenotype. Here we established a comprehensive experimental setup to analyze the structural consequences of eight ACADM missense mutations (p.Ala52Val, p.Tyr67His, p.Tyr158His, p.Arg206Cys, p.Asp266Gly, p.Lys329Glu, p.Arg334Lys, p.Arg413Ser) identified after newborn screening and linked the corresponding protein misfolding phenotype to the site of side-chain replacement with respect to the domain. With fever being the crucial risk factor for metabolic decompensation of patients with MCADD, special emphasis was put on the analysis of structural and functional derangements related to thermal stress. Based on protein conformation, thermal stability and kinetic stability, the molecular phenotype in MCADD depends on the structural region that is affected by missense-induced conformational changes with the central β-domain being particularly prone to structural derangement and destabilization. Since systematic classification of conformational derangements induced by ACADM mutations may be a helpful tool in assessing the clinical risk of patients, we scored the misfolding phenotype of the variants in comparison to p.Lys329Glu (K304E), the classical severe mutation, and p.Tyr67His (Y42H), discussed to be mild. Experiments assessing the impact of thermal stress revealed that mutations in the ACADM gene lower the temperature threshold at which MCAD loss-of-function occurs. Consequently, increased temperature as it occurs during intercurrent infections, significantly increases the risk of further conformational derangement and loss of function of the MCAD enzyme explaining the life-threatening clinical courses observed during fever episodes. Early and aggressive antipyretic treatment thus may be life-saving in patients suffering from MCADD.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0093852PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3981736PMC
January 2015

What are effects of a spaced activation of virtual patients in a pediatric course?

BMC Med Educ 2013 Mar 28;13:45. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

University Children's Hospital Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.

Background: Virtual patients (VPs) have a long tradition in the curriculum of the medical faculty at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich. However, the pediatric VPs were not well integrated into the curriculum and hardly used by students.

Methods: Therefore we created and implemented a self-contained E-learning module based on virtual patients (VPs), which was embedded into the pediatric curriculum.Students taking this course were divided into two groups. For Group A the virtual patients were activated in a timed order ("spaced activation"), whereas Group B could work on all VPs from the beginning.We investigated the performance of these two groups concerning usage pattern including number of sessions and session duration, score on questions integrated into the VP and results of the intermediate exam.

Results: The integration of the VPs into the pediatric course was successful for both groups. The usage pattern for the spaced activation turned out to be more balanced, however we did not find any significant differences in the results of the intermediate exam, the score on questions included in the VPs nor in the time students spent working on the VPs.

Conclusions: Our study showed that the spaced activation led to a more balanced VP usage pattern with a lower peak of sessions at the end of the course. Further studies will have to investigate whether a spaced activation of VPs leads to favorable long-term learning outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6920-13-45DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3639235PMC
March 2013

Low lysine diet in glutaric aciduria type I--effect on anthropometric and biochemical follow-up parameters.

J Inherit Metab Dis 2013 May 13;36(3):525-33. Epub 2012 Sep 13.

Department of General Pediatrics, Division of Inherited Metabolic Diseases, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: Metabolic treatment in glutaric aciduria type I (GA-I) including a low lysine diet with lysine-free, tryptophan-reduced amino acid supplements (AAS), carnitine supplementation and early start of emergency treatment during putatively threatening episodes of intermittent febrile illness dramatically improves the outcome and thus has been recommended by an international guideline group (Kölker et al, J Inherit Metab Dis 30:5-22, 2007). However, possible affection of linear growth, weight gain and biochemical follow-up monitoring has not been studied systematically.

Methods: Thirty-three patients (n = 29 asymptomatic, n = 4 dystonic) with GA-I who have been identified by newborn screening in Germany from 1999 to 2009 were followed prospectively during the first six years of life. Dietary treatment protocols, anthropometrical and biochemical parameters were longitudinally evaluated.

Results: Mean daily intake as percentage of guideline recommendations was excellent for lysine (asymptomatic patients: 101 %; dystonic patients: 103 %), lysine-free, tryptophan-reduced AAS (108 %; 104 %), energy (106 %; 110 %), and carnitine (92 %; 102 %). Low lysine diet did not affect weight gain (mean SDS 0.05) but mildly impaired linear growth in asymptomatic patients (mean SDS -0.38), while dystonic patients showed significantly reduced weight gain (mean SDS -1.32) and a tendency towards linear growth retardation (mean SDS -1.03). Patients treated in accordance with recent recommendations did not show relevant abnormalities of routine biochemical follow-up parameters.

Interpretation: Low lysine diet promotes sufficient intake of essential nutrients and anthropometric development in asymptomatic children up to age 6 year, whereas individualized nutritional concepts are required for dystonic patients. Revised recommendations for biochemical monitoring might be required for asymptomatic patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10545-012-9517-7DOI Listing
May 2013

Complementary dietary treatment using lysine-free, arginine-fortified amino acid supplements in glutaric aciduria type I - A decade of experience.

Mol Genet Metab 2012 Sep 4;107(1-2):72-80. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Department of General Pediatrics, Division of Inherited Metabolic Diseases, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

The cerebral formation and entrapment of neurotoxic dicarboxylic metabolites (glutaryl-CoA, glutaric and 3-hydroxyglutaric acid) are considered to be important pathomechanisms of striatal injury in glutaric aciduria type I (GA-I). The quantitatively most important precursor of these metabolites is lysine. Recommended therapeutic interventions aim to reduce lysine oxidation (low lysine diet, emergency treatment to minimize catabolism) and to enhance physiologic detoxification of glutaryl-CoA via formation of glutarylcarnitine (carnitine supplementation). It has been recently shown in Gcdh(-/-) mice that cerebral lysine influx and oxidation can be modulated by arginine which competes with lysine for transport at the blood-brain barrier and the inner mitochondrial membrane [Sauer et al., Brain 134 (2011) 157-170]. Furthermore, short-term outcome of 12 children receiving arginine-fortified diet showed very promising results [Strauss et al., Mol. Genet. Metab. 104 (2011) 93-106]. Since lysine-free, arginine-fortified amino acid supplements (AAS) are commercially available and used in Germany for more than a decade, we evaluated the effect of arginine supplementation in a cohort of 34 neonatally diagnosed GA-I patients (median age, 7.43 years; cumulative follow-up period, 221.6 patient years) who received metabolic treatment according to a published guideline [Kölker et al., J. Inherit. Metab. Dis. 30 (2007) 5-22]. Patients used one of two AAS product lines during the first year of life, resulting in differences in arginine consumption [group 1 (Milupa Metabolics): mean=111 mg arginine/kg; group 2 (Nutricia): mean=145 mg arginine/kg; p<0.001]. However, in both groups the daily arginine intake was increased (mean, 137 mg/kg body weight) and the dietary lysine-to-arginine ratio was decreased (mean, 0.7) compared to infants receiving human milk and other natural foods only. All other dietary parameters were in the same range. Despite significantly different arginine intake, the plasma lysine-to-arginine ratio did not differ in both groups. Frequency of dystonia was low (group 1: 12.5%; group 2: 8%) compared with patients not being treated according to the guideline, and gross motor development was similar in both groups. In conclusion, the development of complementary dietary strategies exploiting transport competition between lysine and arginine for treatment of GA-I seems promising. More work is required to understand neuroprotective mechanisms of arginine, to develop dietary recommendations for arginine and to evaluate the usefulness of plasma monitoring for lysine and arginine levels as predictors of cerebral lysine influx.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgme.2012.03.021DOI Listing
September 2012

Newborn screening for isovaleric acidemia using tandem mass spectrometry: data from 1.6 million newborns.

Clin Chem 2011 Apr 18;57(4):623-6. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital, Children's Research Centre, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany.

Background: Electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) has been used in the Bavarian newborn screening (NBS) program since 1999. The use of ESI-MS/MS has led to the inclusion of isovaleric acidemia (IVA) into NBS. We retrospectively evaluated data on more than 1.6 million newborns screened during 9.5 years.

Methods: Acylcarnitines from whole blood spotted on filter paper were converted to their corresponding butyl esters, and the samples were analyzed by use of ESI-MS/MS with stable isotope labeled internal standards.

Results: A total of 24 individuals with IVA were detected by use of a multiparametric threshold criteria panel including isovalerylcarnitine (C5) and the ratios of C5 to octanoyl-, butyryl-, and propionylcarnitine. A cutoff set at the 99.99th percentile for isolated C5 or at the 99th percentile for C5 plus at least 2 ratios resulted in a positive predictive value for IVA screening of 7.0% and an overall recall rate of 0.024%. Adjusted reference ranges for age and birth weight were applied, and the incidence of IVA in the study population was calculated to be 1 in 67,000. Missed cases were not brought to our attention. IVA was also detectable in cord blood and early postnatal blood samples.

Conclusions: IVA can be reliably detected in NBS through acylcarnitine analysis in dried blood spots by using multiparametric threshold criteria. Further improvement (positive predictive value 13.0%, recall rate 0.01%) can be achieved by using more stringent recall criteria. In view of the potentially life-threatening natural course of IVA in early life, presymptomatic diagnosis may thus prevent mortality and morbidity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1373/clinchem.2010.151134DOI Listing
April 2011

Use of guidelines improves the neurological outcome in glutaric aciduria type I.

Ann Neurol 2010 Nov;68(5):743-52

Department of General Pediatrics, Division of Inherited Metabolic Diseases, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Objective: To evaluate the effect of treatment according to current evidence-based recommendations on the neurological outcome of patients with glutaric aciduria type I (GA-I).

Methods: Fifty-two patients identified by newborn screening (NBS) in Germany from 1999 to 2009 were followed prospectively. Neurological outcome was assessed by the occurrence of an acute encephalopathic crisis and the severity of a movement disorder (MD) with predominant dystonia superimposing on axial hypotonia. Outcome was evaluated in relation to therapy and therapy-independent parameters.

Results: Outcome was best in GA-I patients who were treated in full accordance with treatment recommendations (n=37; 5% MD). Deviations from recommended basic metabolic treatment (low-lysine diet, carnitine) resulted in an intermediate outcome (n=9; 44% MD), whereas disregard of emergency treatment recommendations was associated with a poor outcome (n=6; 100% MD). Treatment regimens deviating from recommendations significantly increased the risk for MD (odds ratio [OR], 35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.88-208.39) and acute encephalopathic crises (OR, 51.32; 95% CI, 2.65-993.49). Supervision by a metabolic center improved the outcome (18% vs 57% MD; OR, 6.17; 95% CI, 1.15-33.11), whereas migrational background and biochemical phenotype (high versus low excretor status) had no significant effect.

Interpretation: Follow-up of neonatally diagnosed patients with GA-I in Germany clearly demonstrates that the inclusion of this rare disease in the NBS disease panel has significantly improved the neurological outcome of affected individuals. The establishment of and adherence to evidence-based treatment recommendations, and supervision by experienced metabolic centers helps to minimize the number of patients who do not benefit from NBS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.22095DOI Listing
November 2010

Dynamic changes of striatal and extrastriatal abnormalities in glutaric aciduria type I.

Brain 2009 Jul 11;132(Pt 7):1764-82. Epub 2009 May 11.

Department of Neuroradiology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

In glutaric aciduria type I, an autosomal recessive disease of mitochondrial lysine, hydroxylysine and tryptophan catabolism, striatal lesions are characteristically induced by acute encephalopathic crises during a finite period of brain development (age 3-36 months). The frequency of striatal injury is significantly less in patients diagnosed as asymptomatic newborns by newborn screening. Most previous studies have focused on the onset and mechanism of striatal injury, whereas little is known about neuroradiological abnormalities in pre-symptomatically diagnosed patients and about dynamic changes of extrastriatal abnormalities. Thus, the major aim of the present retrospective study was to improve our understanding of striatal and extrastriatal abnormalities in affected individuals including those diagnosed by newborn screening. To this end, we systematically analysed magnetic resonance imagings (MRIs) in 38 patients with glutaric aciduria type I diagnosed before or after the manifestation of neurological symptoms. To identify brain regions that are susceptible to cerebral injury during acute encephalopathic crises, we compared the frequency of magnetic resonance abnormalities in patients with and without such crises. Major specific changes after encephalopathic crises were found in the putamen (P < 0.001), nucleus caudatus (P < 0.001), globus pallidus (P = 0.012) and ventricles (P = 0.001). Analysis of empirical cumulative distribution frequencies, however, demonstrated that isolated pallidal abnormalities did not significantly differ over time in both groups (P = 0.544) suggesting that isolated pallidal abnormalities are not induced by acute crises--in contrast to striatal abnormalities. The manifestation of motor disability was associated with signal abnormalities in putamen, caudate, pallidum and ventricles. In addition, we found a large number of extrastriatal abnormalities in patients with and without preceding encephalophatic crises. These abnormalities include widening of anterior temporal and sylvian CSF spaces, pseudocysts, signal changes of substantia nigra, nucleus dentatus, thalamus, tractus tegmentalis centralis and supratentorial white matter as well as signs of delayed maturation (myelination and gyral pattern). In contrast to the striatum, extrastriatal abnormalities were variable and could regress or even normalize with time. This includes widening of sylvian fissures, delayed maturation, pallidal signal changes and pseudocysts. Based on these results, we hypothesize that neuroradiological abnormalities and neurological symptoms in glutaric aciduria type I can be explained by overlaying episodes of cerebral alterations including maturational delay of the brain in utero, acute striatal injury during a vulnerable period in infancy and chronic progressive changes that may continue lifelong. This may have widespread consequences for the pathophysiological understanding of this disease, long-term outcomes and therapeutic considerations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awp112DOI Listing
July 2009

[Breaking bad news--a video-based training unit for medical students].

Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother 2009 Mar;37(2):139-44

Klinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie, Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie, Klinikum der Universität München.

Objective: In 2002, the Medical Licensing Board prescribed fundamental changes in medical education. The reformed curriculum set its focus on bed-side teaching in small groups, problem-based courses, and training of communication skills. The previous curriculum did not include the teaching of communication skills to future physicians. Physicians thus felt unprepared for the doctor-patient communication.

Method: Within the newly derived Medical Curriculum Munich (MeCuMLMU), the School of Medicine at the Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich implemented in 2005 a teaching unit named "Breaking Bad News" in order to train the students' communication skills. Its main elements are videotaped role-plays and the subsequent video-based analyses. In the role-plays, students experience the parts of a physician and a couple of parents. The task of the physician is to break the news of a severe condition to the parents of a child. The teaching units are held by members of the department of child psychiatry together with fifteen members of the department of paediatrics who had been instructed in analyzing videotaped role-plays. A manual was developed to facilitate a standardized approach.

Results And Conclusions: The teaching units were evaluated by means of questionnaires filled in by students and tutors. The evaluation showed that "Breaking Bad News" was highly appreciated by both students and tutors. Our experience showed that this type of instruction is suitable to improve the communication skills of medical students, and it is feasible despite the relatively extensive technical and personnel resources needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1024/1422-4917.37.2.139DOI Listing
March 2009

Protein misfolding is the molecular mechanism underlying MCADD identified in newborn screening.

Hum Mol Genet 2009 May 18;18(9):1612-23. Epub 2009 Feb 18.

Department of Molecular Pediatrics, Children's Research Center, Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.

Newborn screening (NBS) for medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD) revealed a higher birth prevalence and genotypic variability than previously estimated, including numerous novel missense mutations in the ACADM gene. On average, these mutations are associated with milder biochemical phenotypes raising the question about their pathogenic relevance. In this study, we analyzed the impact of 10 ACADM mutations identified in NBS (A27V, Y42H, Y133H, R181C, R223G, D241G, K304E, R309K, I331T and R388S) on conformation, stability and enzyme kinetics of the corresponding proteins. Partial to total rescue of aggregation by co-overexpression of GroESL indicated protein misfolding. This was confirmed by accelerated thermal unfolding in all variants, as well as decreased proteolytic stability and accelerated thermal inactivation in most variants. Catalytic function varied from high residual activity to markedly decreased activity or substrate affinity. Mutations mapping to the beta-domain of the protein predisposed to severe destabilization. In silico structural analyses of the affected amino acid residues revealed involvement in functionally relevant networks. Taken together, our results substantiate the hypothesis of protein misfolding with loss-of-function being the common molecular basis in MCADD. Moreover, considerable structural alterations in all analyzed variants do not support the view that novel mutations found in NBS bear a lower risk of metabolic decompensation than that associated with mutations detected in clinically ascertained patients. Finally, the detailed insight into how ACADM missense mutations induce loss of MCAD function may provide guidance for risk assessment and counseling of patients, and in future may assist delineation of novel pharmacological strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddp079DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2667288PMC
May 2009

X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy phenotype is independent of ABCD2 genotype.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2008 Dec 1;377(1):176-80. Epub 2008 Oct 1.

Department of Biochemical Genetics and Molecular Biology, Dr von Hauner Children's Hospital, Research Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.

Strikingly variable clinical phenotypes can be found in X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) even with the same ABCD1 mutation. ABCD2 is the closest homolog to ABCD1. Since ABCD2 overexpression complements the loss of ABCD1 in vivo and in vitro, we have investigated the possible role of the ABCD2 gene locus as determinant of X-ALD phenotypes. Sequence and segregation analysis of the ABCD2 gene, in a large X-ALD family with different phenotypes disclosed that the identical ABCD2 alleles were inherited in brothers affected by mild (noncerebral) versus severe (childhood cerebral) X-ALD phenotypes. Moreover, two independent association studies of ABCD2 polymorphisms and clinical phenotypes showed an even allele distribution in different X-ALD phenotypes and controls. Based on these findings ABCD2 can be excluded as a major modifier locus for clinical diversity in X-ALD. These findings are of particular importance for the attempt of pharmacological induction of ABCD2 as a possible therapeutic approach in X-ALD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.09.092DOI Listing
December 2008