MRI characterization of cerebral dysgenesis in maternal PKU.

R. J. Allen, James A Brunberg, E. Schwartz, A. M. Schaefer, G. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


MPKU pregnancies, with or without dietary treatment to reduce maternal plasma phenylalanine (phe), show variable, increased non-physiologic levels, as the putative cause of fetal teratogenicity. Cerebral dysgenesis with clinical neonatal microcephaly and congenital heart disease indicates altered organ morphogenesis. Although there is not an established precise relationship between maternal phe levels and outcome, dietary restriction before or early in gestation is universally advised. Both human experience and animal research have suggested differential organ responses to high and low phe levels. Structural microencephaly may be due to reduced brain volume or abnormal regional brain development. Infants in MPKU are also at risk to develop PKU. Microencephaly was evident by MRI in 8 of 21 infants born to 12 MPKU mothers; 2 infants of one mother developed PKU. All levels of gestational plasma phe were associated with otherwise structurally normal infant microencephalic brains appropriate for age in myelination. CHD occurred in one microencephalic infant of a classic MPKU treated in the first trimester. Maternal, cord and neonatal plasma phenylalanine at delivery did not correlate with teratogenic effects. Only untreated 'classic' MPKU fetal effects appear predictable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-85
Number of pages3
JournalActa paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992). Supplement
StatePublished - Dec 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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