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Article abstract: Inborn errors of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) are associated with lactic acidosis, neuroanatomic defects, developmental delay, and early death. PDC deficiency is a clinically heterogeneous disorder, with most mutations located in the coding region of the X-linked [alpha] subunit of the first catalytic component, pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1). Treatment of E1 deficiency has included cofactor replacement, activation of PDC with dichloroacetate, and ketogenic diets. In this report, we describe the outcome of ketogenic diet treatment in seven boys with E1 deficiency. These patients were divided into two groups based on their mutations (R349H, three patients; and R234G, four patients, two sibling pairs). All seven patients received ketogenic diets with varying degrees of carbohydrate restriction. Clinical outcome was compared within each group and between siblings as related to the intensity and duration of dietary intervention. Subjects who either had the diet initiated earlier in life or who were placed on greater carbohydrate restriction had increased longevity and improved mental development. Based on the improved outcomes of patients with identical mutations, it appears that a nearly carbohydrate-free diet initiated shortly after birth may be useful in the treatment of E1 deficiency.

(C) 1997 American Academy of Neurology