Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Modified amino acid acetyl-dl-leucine and Niemann-Pick type C

Bremova T, Malinová V, Amraoui Y, Mengel E, Reinke J, Kolníková M, Strupp M.
Acetyl-dl-leucine in Niemann-Pick type C: A case series. Neurology. 2015 Oct



To assess the effects of the modified amino acid acetyl-dl-leucine (AL) on cerebellar ataxia, eye movements, and quality of life of patients with Niemann-Pick type C (NP-C) disease.


Twelve patients with NP-C disease were treated with AL 3 g/d for 1 week and then with 5 g/d for 3 weeks with a subsequent washout period of 1 month. The Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA), the Spinocerebellar Ataxia Functional Index (SCAFI), the modified Disability Rating Scale (mDRS), EuroQol 5Q-5D-5L, and the visual analog scale (VAS) were administered. Measurements took place at baseline, after 1 month of therapy, and after 1 month of washout.


The SARA score changed from the baseline (median [±SD, interquartile range]) of 10.8 (11.2, 8-24.6) to 7.0 (10.7, 5.6-19.6) on medication (difference: 3.8 points) and 10.5 (11.5, 7.1-23.9) after washout (difference: 3.5 points) (p = 0.000412; post hoc p = 0.003 between baseline and on medication, and on medication and washout p = 0.005). The SCAFI subscore 9-Hole Peg Test for dominant hand, mDRS score, and VAS score also improved on medication. No side effects except transient dizziness in one patient were reported.


Treatment with AL improved ataxic symptoms in patients with NP-C without relevant side effects, thus showing a reasonable risk-benefit profile.


This study provides Class IV evidence that AL improves cerebellar symptoms and quality of life in patients with NP-C.

1 comment:

  1. Feil K, Bremova T, Muth C, Schniepp R, Teufel J, Strupp M. Update on the
    Pharmacotherapy of Cerebellar Ataxia and Nystagmus. Cerebellum. 2015 Oct 30.
    [Epub ahead of print]


    Pharmacological treatment of cerebellar ataxias and cerebellar nystagmus still remains difficult. The efficacy of most of the agents recommended in the past for symptomatic or even causative therapy could not be proven in larger state-of-the art clinical trials. Exceptions are (a) 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) for episodic ataxia type 2 (EA2): one observational and one randomized controlled trial showed a significant effect on the number of attacks of ataxia and quality of life; (b) aminopyridines in cerebellar downbeat nystagmus (DBN): two randomized controlled trials and several observational studies demonstrate a significant improvement of the intensity of DBN, visual acuity, and postural imbalance. In both diseases the sustained-release form is evidently also efficient; (c) 4-AP in cerebellar gait ataxia: evidence comes from two observational studies. (d) chlorzoxazone in DBN which, however, was so far demonstrated in only one observational study; (e) the modified amino acid acetyl-DL-leucine: evidently effective in cerebellar ataxias, shown in three observational studies, one on patients with Niemann-Pick type C; its mode of action has to be evaluated in animal models and on a cellular/electrophysiological level. There are ongoing randomized placebo-controlled trials on EA2 with 4-AP versus acetazolamide (EAT-2-TREAT), cerebellar gait ataxia with 4-AP (FACEG), and a multinational trial on cerebellar ataxia with acetyl-DL-leucine (ALCAT).