Published in Volume
97, Issue 4
(February 15, 1996)J Clin Invest.
1996, The American Society for
Specific genetic deficiencies of the A and B isoenzymes of monoamine oxidase are characterized by distinct neurochemical and clinical phenotypes.
Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, St. Radboud University Hospital, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Published February 15, 1996
Monoamine oxidase (MAO) exists as two isoenzymes and plays a central role in the metabolism of monoamine neurotransmitters. In this study we compared the neurochemical phenotypes of previously described subjects with genetically determined selective lack of MAO-A or a lack of both MAO-A and MAO-B with those of two subjects with a previously described X chromosome microdeletion in whom we now demonstrate selective MAO-B deficiency. Mapping of the distal deletion breakpoint demonstrates its location in intron 5 of the MAO-B gene, with the deletion extending proximally into the Norrie disease gene. In contrast to the borderline mental retardation and abnormal behavioral phenotype in subjects with selective MAO-A deficiency and the severe mental retardation in patients with combined MAO-A/MAO-B deficiency and Norrie disease, the MAO-B-deficient subjects exhibit neither abnormal behavior nor mental retardation. Distinct neurochemical profiles characterize the three groups of MAO-deficient patients. In MAO-A-deficient subjects, there is a marked decrease in deaminated catecholamine metabolites and a concomitant marked elevation of O-methylated amine metabolites. These neurochemical changes are only slightly exaggerated in patients with combined lack of MAO-A and MAO-B. In contrast, the only biochemical abnormalities detected in subjects with the MAO-B gene deletion are a complete absence of platelet MAO-B activity and an increased urinary excretion of phenylethylamine. The differences in neurochemical profiles indicate that, under normal conditions, MAO-A is considerably more important than MAO-B in the metabolism of biogenic amines, a factor likely to contribute to the different clinical phenotypes.