The first described patients with pyridox(am)ine 5'-phosphate oxidase deficiency all had neonatal onset seizures that did not respond to treatment with pyridoxine but responded to treatment with pyridoxal 5'-phosphate. Our data suggest, however, that the clinical spectrum of pyridox(am)ine 5'-phosphate oxidase deficiency is much broader than has been reported in the literature. Sequencing of the PNPO gene was undertaken for a cohort of 82 individuals who had shown a reduction in frequency and severity of seizures in response to pyridoxine or pyridoxal 5'-phosphate. Novel sequence changes were studied using a new cell-free expression system and a mass spectrometry-based assay for pyridoxamine phosphate oxidase. Three groups of patients with PNPO mutations that had reduced enzyme activity were identified: (i) patients with neonatal onset seizures responding to pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (n = 6); (ii) a patient with infantile spasms (onset 5 months) responsive to pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (n = 1); and (iii) patients with seizures starting under 3 months of age responding to pyridoxine (n = 8). Data suggest that certain genotypes (R225H/C and D33V) are more likely to result in seizures that to respond to treatment with pyridoxine. Other mutations seem to be associated with infertility, miscarriage and prematurity. However, the situation is clearly complex with the same combination of mutations being seen in patients who responded and did not respond to pyridoxine. It is possible that pyridoxine responsiveness in PNPO deficiency is affected by prematurity and age at the time of the therapeutic trial. Other additional factors that are likely to influence treatment response and outcome include riboflavin status and how well the foetus has been supplied with vitamin B6 by the mother. For some patients there was a worsening of symptoms on changing from pyridoxine to pyridoxal 5'-phosphate. Many of the mutations in PNPO affected residues involved in binding flavin mononucleotide or pyridoxal 5'-phosphate and many of them showed residual enzyme activity. One sequence change (R116Q), predicted to affect flavin mononucleotide binding and binding of the two PNPO dimers, and with high residual activity was found in Groups (ii) and (iii). This sequence change has been reported in the 1000 Genomes project suggesting it could be a polymorphism but alternatively it could be a common mutation, perhaps responsible for the susceptibility locus for genetic generalized epilepsy on 17q21.32 (close to rs72823592). We believe the reduction in PNPO activity and B6-responsive epilepsy in the patients reported here indicates that it contributes to the pathogenesis of epilepsy.
Neonates treated for acute respiratory failure experience episodes of hypoxia. The hippocampus, a structure essential for memory, is particularly vulnerable to such insults. Hence, some neonates undergoing treatment for acute respiratory failure might sustain bilateral hippocampal pathology early in life and memory problems later in childhood. We investigated this possibility in a cohort of 40 children who had been treated neonatally for acute respiratory failure but were free of overt neurological impairment. The cohort had mean hippocampal volumes (HVs) significantly below normal control values, memory scores significantly below the standard population means, and memory quotients significantly below those predicted by their full scale IQs. Brain white matter volume also fell below the volume of the controls, but brain gray matter volumes and scores on nonmnemonic neuropsychological tests were within the normal range. Stepwise linear regression models revealed that the cohorts HVs were predictive of degree of memory impairment, and gestational age at treatment was predictive of HVs: the younger the age, the greater the atrophy. We conclude that many neonates treated for acute respiratory failure sustain significant hippocampal atrophy as a result of the associated hypoxia and, consequently, show deficient memory later in life.
Wernickes encephalopathy is a triad of ophthalmoplegia, ataxia and confusion seen in alcoholics with dietary vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency. A rare genetic defect of thiamine transporter-2 may lead to similar clinical features, biotin-thiamine responsive basal ganglia disease (BTBGD). A 15-year-old girl developed rapid onset ptosis and ophthalmoplegia evolving into a subacute encephalopathy. Neuroimaging demonstrated symmetrical basal ganglia and mid-brain lesions reminiscent of Leighs subacute necrotising encephalomyelopathy. Oral biotin and thiamine were started, and symptoms improved dramatically the next day. The therapeutic response suggested SLC19A3, encoding thiamine transporter-2, as a strong candidate gene and Sanger sequencing revealed a novel homozygous c.517A>G;p.Asn173Asp mutation, which segregated with disease within the family. BTBGD is a potentially treatable neurological disorder and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of Leigh syndrome and Wernickes encephalopathy. Since delayed treatment results in permanent neurological dysfunction or death, prompt diagnosis and early initiation of biotin and thiamine therapy are essential.
We describe a previously unreported syndrome characterized by secondary (post-natal) microcephaly with fronto-temporal lobe hypoplasia, multiple pituitary hormone deficiency, seizures, severe visual impairment and abnormalities of the kidneys and urinary tract in a highly consanguineous family with six affected children. Homozygosity mapping and exome sequencing revealed a novel homozygous frameshift mutation in the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor gene ARNT2 (c.1373_1374dupTC) in affected individuals. This mutation results in absence of detectable levels of ARNT2 transcript and protein from patient fibroblasts compared with controls, consistent with nonsense-mediated decay of the mutant transcript and loss of ARNT2 function. We also show expression of ARNT2 within the central nervous system, including the hypothalamus, as well as the renal tract during human embryonic development. The progressive neurological abnormalities, congenital hypopituitarism and post-retinal visual pathway dysfunction in affected individuals demonstrates for the first time the essential role of ARNT2 in the development of the hypothalamo-pituitary axis, post-natal brain growth, and visual and renal function in humans.
Premature birth may be associated with white matter injury later developing with widening of the ventricles. However, population-based data on normal ventricular size by age are sparse, making the evaluation of possible ventricular dilatation difficult.
CHARGE syndrome is a multisystem disorder that, in addition to Kallmann syndrome/isolated hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism, has been associated with anterior pituitary hypoplasia (APH). However, structural abnormalities such as an ectopic posterior pituitary (EPP) have not yet been described in such patients.
Recently, we reported a previously unrecognized symptom constellation comprising epilepsy, ataxia, sensorineural deafness, and tubulopathy (EAST syndrome) associated with recessive mutations in the KCNJ10 gene. Here, we provide a detailed characterization of the clinical features of the syndrome to aid patient management with respect to diagnosis, prognostic counselling, and identification of best treatment modalities.
Nodding syndrome is a devastating neurological disorder of uncertain aetiology affecting children in Africa. There is no diagnostic test, and risk factors and symptoms that would allow early diagnosis are poorly documented. This study aimed to describe the clinical, electrophysiological and brain imaging (MRI) features and complications of nodding syndrome in Ugandan children.
Minimally invasive autopsy by post mortem magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has been suggested as an alternative for conventional autopsy in view of the declining consented autopsy rates. However, large prospective studies rigorously evaluating the accuracy of such an approach are lacking. We intend to compare the accuracy of a minimally invasive autopsy approach using post mortem MR imaging with that of conventional autopsy in fetuses, newborns and children for detection of the major pathological abnormalities and/or determination of the cause of death.
Molybdenum cofactor deficiency predominantly affects the central nervous system. There are limited data on long-term outcome or brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features. We examined the clinical, brain MRI, biochemical, genetic, and electroencephalographic features and outcome in 8 children with a diagnosis of molybdenum cofactor deficiency observed in our institution over 10 years. Two modes of presentation were identified: early (classical) onset with predominantly epileptic encephalopathy in 6 neonates, and late (atypical) with global developmental impairment in 2 children. Children in both groups had varying degrees of motor, language, and visual impairment. There were no deaths. Brain MRI demonstrated cerebral infarction in all but one child in the atypical group. Distinctive features were best observed on early brain MRI: acute symmetrical involvement of the globus pallidi and subthalamic regions coexisting with older cerebral hemisphere infarction, chronic lesions suggestive of a prenatal insult, pontocerebellar hypoplasia with retrocerebellar cyst, and presence of a distinctive band at the cortical/subcortical white matter. Sequential imaging revealed progressive pontine atrophy and enlargement of retrocerebellar cyst. The brain MRI of one child with atypical presentation (verbal dyspraxia, lens dislocation) showed symmetrical cerebellar deep nuclei signal abnormality without cerebral infarction. Imaging pattern on early brain MRI (<1 week) may prompt the diagnosis, potentially allowing early treatment and disease modifications.
Post-mortem magnetic resonance imaging (PM MRI) of brain is increasingly used in clinical practice; understanding of normal PM contrast to noise ratio (CNR), T1 and T2 values relaxation times is important for optimisation and accurate interpretation of PM MRI.
There remains a misconception that arterial ischaemic stroke (AIS) is a rare childhood disorder. Approximately 2-6/100,000 children are affected annually, and it is one of the top ten causes of childhood death. Following the ictus, up to 25% of children will have a recurrence, and two thirds of children will have a long-term disability with considerable socio-economic burden. The established vascular risk factors seen in adult stroke are rare in children. Instead, childhood AIS is associated with a variety of underlying aetiologies, including cerebral arteriopathies, sickle cell disease, cardio-embolic disease, infection, head and neck trauma, genetic/metabolic disease and prothrombotic abnormalities. Approximately 50% of children will have another recognised medical condition, and many children will have multiple risk factors. Given the complexity of the presentation and the potential ambiguity of the clinical findings, imaging is often the most revealing aspect of the diagnostic workup during both an acute and chronic presentation. This review considers the practical issues related to imaging children and looks at some of the controversies pertaining to aetiology and its implication for stroke management. It aims to give an overview of childhood arterial ischaemic stroke and to highlight the importance of both acute and delayed vascular imaging in the diagnosis, management and stratification of further stroke risk.
Accurate prediction of neurodevelopmental outcome in neonatal encephalopathy (NE) is important for clinical management and to evaluate neuroprotective therapies. We undertook a meta-analysis of the prognostic accuracy of cerebral magnetic resonance (MR) biomarkers in infants with neonatal encephalopathy.
Conventional whole-body MRI at 1.5 T does not provide adequate image quality of small fetuses, thus reducing its potential for use as an alternative to invasive autopsy. High-field whole-body MRI at 9.4 T provides good images of small animals. We therefore compared the diagnostic usefulness of high-field MRI with conventional MRI for post-mortem examination of human fetuses.
Lumbar punctures (LPs) are frequently performed in neonates and often result in traumatic haemorrhagic taps. Knowledge of the distance from the skin to the middle of the spinal canal (mid-spinal canal depth - MSCD) may reduce the incidence of traumatic taps, but there is little data in extremely premature or low birth weight neonates. Here, we determined the spinal canal depth at post-mortem in perinatal deaths using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Environmental manganese (Mn) toxicity causes an extrapyramidal, parkinsonian-type movement disorder with characteristic magnetic resonance images of Mn accumulation in the basal ganglia. We have recently reported a suspected autosomal recessively inherited syndrome of hepatic cirrhosis, dystonia, polycythemia, and hypermanganesemia in cases without environmental Mn exposure. Whole-genome mapping of two consanguineous families identified SLC30A10 as the affected gene in this inherited type of hypermanganesemia. This gene was subsequently sequenced in eight families, and homozygous sequence changes were identified in all affected individuals. The function of the wild-type protein and the effect of sequence changes were studied in the manganese-sensitive yeast strain ?pmr1. Expressing human wild-type SLC30A10 in the ?pmr1 yeast strain rescued growth in high Mn conditions, confirming its role in Mn transport. The presence of missense (c.266T>C [p.Leu89Pro]) and nonsense (c.585del [p.Thr196Profs(?)17]) mutations in SLC30A10 failed to restore Mn resistance. Previously, SLC30A10 had been presumed to be a zinc transporter. However, this work has confirmed that SLC30A10 functions as a Mn transporter in humans that, when defective, causes Mn accumulation in liver and brain. This is an important step toward understanding Mn transport and its role in neurodegenerative processes.
The aim of this study was to determine the yield of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after an episode of childhood convulsive status epilepticus (CSE) and to identify the clinical predictors of an abnormal brain scan.
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