Phenylketonuria is an autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in the gene coding for phenylalanine hydroxylase (chromosome 12q). Phenylalanine hydroxylase deficiency produces elevated phenylalanine concentrations in plasma, CSF, and urine as a direct result of the inability to convert phenylalanine to tyrosine. Mutations in the gene for PAH result in either failure to produce a PAH enzyme or production of an enzyme with decreased catalytic activity. This leads to an elevation of the blood phenylalanine (phe) level and to increased transport of phe into the brain. Phe itself is thought to be a direct cause of neurotoxicity in PKU. Neurotransmitter deficiency and decreased protein synthesis in the brain may be other mechanisms of neurotoxicity. Inhibition of the enzyme tyrosinase by elevated phe levels leads to decreased melanin synthesis in an untreated patient, resulting in hypo-pigmentation.
People with PKU need to follow a diet that limits foods with phenylalanine. The diet should be followed carefully and be started as soon after birth as possible. Food mainly suggested are Milk and cheese, Eggs, Nuts, Soybeans, Beans, Chicken, beef, or pork, Fish, Peas, Beer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved the drug sapropterin dihydrochloride (Kuvan®) for the treatment of PKU. These treatments include large neutral amino acid supplementation, which may help prevent phenylalanine from entering the brain, and enzyme replacement therapy, which uses a substance similar to the enzyme that usually breaks down phenylalanine.
Project like ‘Requirements for a minimum standard of care for phenylketonuria: the patients’ perspective’ in progress. Treatments and drugs By Mayo Clinic Staff. European Society for Phenylketonuria (E.S.PKU) also undertakes projects. The present work underscores the notion that the relationship between an individual's genotype and biochemical and clinical phenotype is complex.
IVS12nt1 was a rare mutation in the Hispanic population, although it is present in nearly 10% of European PKU patients. Their birth prevalence is: PKU 1/30,000. Congenital/genetic disorders was 24.7 %; and among children under 5, 21. 8 %. Predicted phenotype in 79% of the cases, correlation was not present in 21% of cases.