To examine cognitive functioning in patients with tyrosinemia type I treated with nitisinone and a protein-restricted diet.
We performed a cross-sectional study to establish cognitive functioning in children with tyrosinemia type I compared with their unaffected siblings. Intelligence was measured using age-appropriate Wechsler Scales. To assess cognitive development over time, we retrieved sequential IQ scores in a single-center subset of patients. We also evaluated whether plasma phenylalanine and tyrosine levels during treatment was correlated with cognitive development.
Average total IQ score in 10 patients with tyrosinemia type I receiving nitisinone was significantly lower compared with their unaffected siblings (71 ± 13 vs 91 ± 13; P = .008). Both verbal and performance IQ subscores differed (77 ± 14 vs 95 ± 11; P < .05 and 70 ± 11 vs 87 ± 15; P < .05, respectively). Repeated IQ measurements in a single-center subset of 5 patients revealed a decline in average IQ score over time, from 96 ± 15 to 69 ± 11 (P < .001). No significant association was found between IQ score and either plasma tyrosine or phenylalanine concentration.
Patients with tyrosinemia type I treated with nitisinone are at risk for impaired cognitive function despite a protein-restricted diet.