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[Hartnup disease (report of 2 cases in one family)].

INTRODUCTION: The Hartnup mutation affects the amino acid transport system of the intestine and kidney used by a large group of neutral amino acids (monoamino-monocarboxylic acids) resulting in a characteristic pattern of neutral aminoaciduria [2, 5, 6].

METHODS AND PATIENTS: In this research clinical and neurological methods and a great number of laboratory tests were used. Patient 1. A 16-year-old girl, born in 1972, was a full-term newborn. Her psychomotor development was normal. She is the eldest of three children in the family. Till the age of 10 the girl was healthy, except for the mild skin disorders on uncovered parts of the body, face and hands, occurring in springtime almost every year. She had had two exacerbations of the disease. The first exacerbation lasted between the end of April and August 22, 1982. The second began in the middle of November 1987 and finished on May 31, 1988. A changeable and severe clinical feature in this girl was characterized by polymorphic, transient mainly cerebral symptoms, papilloedema with peripapillary haemorrhage and pellagra-like skin rash. At the beginning of the disease the left spastic haemiplegia with bilateral Babinski's reflex and diffuse brain oedema were observed. Signs of the upper motor neurone lesion and myoclonic jerks of limbs and face were most persistent during the first and second exacerbation of the disease. Dysinhibition phenomenon: mandibular, snout and palmomental reflexes were sometimes positive. Mental states at the time of hospitalization were changed and characterized by bradypsychic, torpid, disoriented in time and confused at the beginning of the disease. She had severe psychotic episodes during the second relapse of the disease. The symptoms and signs of the disease as well as pellagra-like skin rash resolved with nicotinamide therapy. Patient 2. A 38-year-old man; clinically healthy, with no skin lesions. A gross aminoaciduria was found in this case. However, the amino acids pattern was atypical.

DISCUSSION: This new, rare disease was described [1] with complex and variable clinical symptoms, intermittent course, permanent aminoaciduria and other biochemical features. In our symptomatic patient diagnosis of Hartnup disease was established during the second exacerbation of the disease.

CONCLUSION: Two cases of Hartnup disease, one symptomatic and one asymptomatic, were diagnosed in a five member family. A child in this family died at the age of 3.5 probably from Hartnup disease.

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