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Autism in patients with propionic acidemia


Abstract

Certain inborn errors of metabolism have been suggested to increase the risk of autistic behavior. In an animal model, propionic acid ingestion triggered abnormal behavior resembling autism. So far only a few cases were reported with propionic acidemia and autistic features. From a series of twelve consecutively diagnosed cases with propionic acidemia, we report on eight patients with autistic features. The patients were followed 2-4 times a year and underwent regular clinical, dietary and laboratory investigations. Psychological evaluation was performed every second to fourth year. All patients were compliant with the standard diet and carnitine supplementation. None of the patients had frequent metabolic decompensations. From the metabolic factors known to impact neuropsychological outcome we detected chronically decreased valine levels and altered valine to leucine ratios in five out of the eight patients. Recurrent lactic acid elevations were present in six out of the eight patients. Five of the eight patients were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, four of them had pathogenic variants in PCCB. Disorder according to DSM-IV and/or DSM-5 criteria. One of the patients diagnosed with propionic acidemia by newborn screening had the most significant behavioral features and another was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder prior to propionic acidemia. We hypothesize that chronic suboptimal intracellular metabolic balance may be responsible for the increased risk for autistic features in propionic acidemia. We propose that patients diagnosed with propionic acidemia should be screened for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Abstract

Certain inborn errors of metabolism have been suggested to increase the risk of autistic behavior. In an animal model, propionic acid ingestion triggered abnormal behavior resembling autism. So far only a few cases were reported with propionic acidemia and autistic features. From a series of twelve consecutively diagnosed cases with propionic acidemia, we report on eight patients with autistic features. The patients were followed 2-4 times a year and underwent regular clinical, dietary and laboratory investigations. Psychological evaluation was performed every second to fourth year. All patients were compliant with the standard diet and carnitine supplementation. None of the patients had frequent metabolic decompensations. From the metabolic factors known to impact neuropsychological outcome we detected chronically decreased valine levels and altered valine to leucine ratios in five out of the eight patients. Recurrent lactic acid elevations were present in six out of the eight patients. Five of the eight patients were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, four of them had pathogenic variants in PCCB. Disorder according to DSM-IV and/or DSM-5 criteria. One of the patients diagnosed with propionic acidemia by newborn screening had the most significant behavioral features and another was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder prior to propionic acidemia. We hypothesize that chronic suboptimal intracellular metabolic balance may be responsible for the increased risk for autistic features in propionic acidemia. We propose that patients diagnosed with propionic acidemia should be screened for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:December 2016
Deposited On:30 Jan 2017 15:58
Last Modified:05 Feb 2017 08:06
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1096-7192
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgme.2016.10.009
PubMed ID:27825584

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