Pharmacokinetics of orally administered tetrahydrobiopterin in patients with phenylalanine hydroxylase deficiency

Zurflüh, M. ; Fiori, L. ; Fiege, B. ; Ozen, I. ; Demirkol, M. ; Gärtner, K. ; Thöny, B. ; Giovannini, M. ; Blau, N.

In: Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease, 2006, vol. 29, no. 6, p. 725-731

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    Summary: The oral loading test with tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) is used to discriminate between variants of hyperphenylalaninaemia and to detect BH4-responsive patients. The outcome of the loading test depends on the genotype, dosage of BH4, and BH4 pharmacokinetics. A total of 71 patients with hyperphenylalaninaemia (mild to classic) were challenged with BH4 (20 mg/kg) according to different protocols (1 × 20 mg or 2 × 20 mg) and blood BH4 concentrations were measured in dried blood spots at different time points (T0, T2, T4, T8, T12, T24, T32 and T48 h). Maximal BH4 concentrations (median 22.69 nmol/g Hb) were measured 4 h after BH4 administration in 63 out of 71 patients. Eight patients presented with maximal BH4 concentrations ∼44% higher at 8 h than at 4 h. After 24 h, BH4 blood concentrations dropped to 11% of maximal values. This profile was similar using different protocols. The following pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated for BH4 in blood: t max = 4 h, AUC (T0−32) = 370 nmol × h/g Hb, and t 1/2 for absorption (1.1 h), distribution (2.5 h), and elimination (46.0 h) phases. Maximal BH4 blood concentrations were not significantly lower in non-responders and there was no correlation between blood concentrations and responsiveness. Of mild PKU patients, 97% responded to BH4 administration, while one was found to be a non-responder. Only 10/19 patients (53%) with Phe concentrations of 600-1200 μmol/L responded to BH4 administration, and of the patients with the severe classical phenotype (blood Phe > 1200 μmol/L) only 4 out of 17 patient responded. An additional 36 patients with mild hyperphenylalaninaemia (HPA) who underwent the combined loading test with Phe+BH4 were all responders. Slow responders and non-responders were found in all groups of HPA