Hyperphenylalaninemia (HPA) is a group of diseases characterized by the persistent elevation of phenylalanine levels in tissues and biological fluids. It is an autosomal recessive disorder affecting 1 in 10,000 individuals in Caucasian populations and about 1 in 6600 in Catalonia. We report the mutational spectrum of phenylalanine hydroxylase deficiency in the population living in Catalonia and the genotype-phenotype correlation. The molecular study was performed in 383 samples corresponding to 115 patients from 99 unrelated families and 268 relatives. We have characterized 90% of the mutant alleles; there were 57 different mutations, 49 of which have previously been described, 8 being novel mutations and two being large deletions. The 57 mutations detected corresponded to: five nonsense, seven frameshift, and eight splice defects, the remainder being missense mutations. These mutations cause 72 different genotypes in the 83 families characterized, confirming the mutational heterogeneity of phenylketonuria (PKU) in the Mediterranean population. According to our biochemical classification, our HPA population is composed of 40 PKU (35%), 36 variant PKU (31%), and 39 non-PKU HPA (34%). Mutations such as IVS10, A403 V,and E390G correlated as expected with the phenotype and the predicted residual activity in vitro. However, in four cases (I65 T, V388 M, R261Q, and Y414 C), the observed metabolic phenotype was not consistent with the predicted genotypic effect. The identification of the mutations in the PAH gene and the genotype-phenotype correlation should facilitate the evaluation of metabolic phenotypes, diagnosis, implementation of optimal dietary therapy, and determination of prognosis in the patients and genetic counselling for the patient's relatives.
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