Changes in DHPR activity in those aged 12 and under with a variety of mental disorders were investigated using dried blood spots on Guthrie cards. DHPR activity was found to be lowered in autism and Rett's syndrome. DHPR activity was unaffected in non specific mental retardation suggesting that the deficit seen in autism and Rett's syndrome does not arise secondary to the mental dysfunction. In Down's syndrome blood biopterin levels correlated with blood spot DHPR activity. Human brain BH4 synthetic activity was investigated in aging and senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (SDAT). BH4 synthetic activity and DHPR activity decline with age in non-demented controls. In SDAT, decreases in BH4 synthetic activity were seen in temporal and visual cortices and locus coeruleus. The site of the defect is probably at 6-pyruvoyl-tetrahydropterin synthase. Aluminium inhibits human brain BH4 synthesis in vitro and produces an `Alzheimeresque' pattern of abnormalities in rats chronically exposed to the acetate salt in drinking water. Aluminium appears to chiefly affect enzymes requiring a metal ion cofactor. Aluminium induced inhibition of BH4 synthesis can be reversed by treatment with transferrin, an aluminium chelator. Transferrin treatment improves BH4 synthetic activity in SDAT brains whilst having no effect on controls, further implicating aluminium as the key neurotoxin in SDAT. Lithium inhibits human brain BH4 synthesis in vitro and lowers rat brain total biopterins and inhibits rat brain BH4 synthesis on chronic exposure to the carbonate salt in drinking water. A possible mechanism for the anti-manic actions of lithium is suggested. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors decrease human brain BH4 synthetic activity in vitro. 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate had no effect on human brain BH4 synthesis in vitro but methionine increased BH4 synthesis in vitro. Oxotremorine is a potent inhibitor of BH4 synthesis in man and the rat. This may prove useful as a tool for modelling BH4 deficiency.
|Date of Award||1989|
- Tetrahydrobiopterin metabolism
- mental disorders