Clinical presentation and long-term follow-up of dopamine beta hydroxylase deficiency

Tessa Wassenberg, Jaap Deinum, Frans J. van Ittersum, Erik-Jan Kamsteeg, Maartje Pennings, Marcel M. Verbeek, Ron A. Wevers, Mirjam E. van Albada, Ido P. Kema, Jorie Versmissen, Ton van den Meiracker, Jacques W. M. Lenders, Leo Monnens, Michèl A. Willemsen

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Dopamine beta hydroxylase (DBH) deficiency is an extremely rare autosomal recessive disorder with severe orthostatic hypotension, that can be treated with L-threo-3,4-dihydroxyphenylserine (L-DOPS). We aimed to summarize clinical, biochemical, and genetic data of all world-wide reported patients with DBH-deficiency, and to present detailed new data on long-term follow-up of a relatively large Dutch cohort. We retrospectively describe 10 patients from a Dutch cohort and 15 additional patients from the literature. We identified 25 patients (15 females) from 20 families. Ten patients were diagnosed in the Netherlands. Duration of follow-up of Dutch patients ranged from 1 to 21 years (median 13 years). All patients had severe orthostatic hypotension. Severely decreased or absent (nor)epinephrine, and increased dopamine plasma concentrations were found in 24/25 patients. Impaired kidney function and anemia were present in all Dutch patients, hypomagnesaemia in 5 out of 10. Clinically, all patients responded very well to L-DOPS, with marked reduction of orthostatic complaints. However, orthostatic hypotension remained present, and kidney function, anemia, and hypomagnesaemia only partially improved. Plasma norepinephrine increased and became detectable, while epinephrine remained undetectable in most patients. We confirm the core clinical characteristics of DBH-deficiency and the pathognomonic profile of catecholamines in body fluids. Impaired renal function, anemia, and hypomagnesaemia can be part of the clinical presentation. The subjective response to L-DOPS treatment is excellent and sustained, although the neurotransmitter profile in plasma does not normalize completely. Furthermore, orthostatic hypotension as well as renal function, anemia, and hypomagnesaemia improve only partially.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-565
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Inherited Metabolic Disease
Issue number3
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • L-DOPS
  • dopamine beta hydroxylase (DBH) deficiency
  • epinephrine
  • hypomagnesaemia
  • neurogenic orthostatic hypotension
  • neurotransmitter disorders
  • norepinephrine

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