J Inherit Metab Dis 2017 05 21;40(3):377-383. Epub 2017 Mar 21.
Reference Centre for Inborn Errors of Metabolism, Robert Debré University Hospital, APHP, 48 boulevard Sérurier, 75019, Paris, France.
Maple syrup urine disease (MSUD), an inborn error of amino acids catabolism is characterized by accumulation of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine, valine and their corresponding alpha-ketoacids. Impact on the cognitive development has been reported historically, with developmental delays of varying degree. Currently, earlier diagnosis and improved management allow a better neurodevelopment, without requirement of special education. However, specific impairments can be observed, and so far, results of detailed neurocognitive assessments are not available. The aim of this study was to analyse neurocognitive profiles of French MSUD patients. This was a multicentre retrospective study on MSUD patients who underwent neurocognitive evaluation at primary school age. Twenty-one patients with classical neonatal onset MSUD were included. The patients' mean age at the time of evaluation was 8.7 years. The mean intellectual quotient (IQ) score was in the normal range (95.1 ± 12.6). In a subset of eight patients, a consistent developmental pattern of higher verbal than performance IQ was observed (mean of the difference 25.7 ± 8.7, p < 0.0001). No correlation could be established between this pattern and long-term metabolic balance (BCAA blood levels), or severity of acute metabolic imbalances, or leucine blood levels at diagnosis and time to toxin removal procedure. These data show that some MSUD patients may exhibit an abnormal neurocognitive profile with higher verbal than performance abilities. This might suggest an executive dysfunction disorder that would need to be further investigated by specialized testing. This pattern is important to detect in MSUD, as appropriate neuropsychological treatment strategies should be proposed.