Glutaric aciduria type 1 (GA1) is a rare metabolic disorder caused by a deficiency of glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase. The typical clinical onset features an acute encephalopathic crisis developed in early childhood, causing irreversible striatal injury. Recently, tandem mass spectrometry of spots of dried blood has allowed pre-symptomatic detection of GA1 in newborns. Early treatment can prevent irreversible neurological injury. We report the case of a girl with GA1 who exhibited a characteristic reversible change upon brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). She was diagnosed with GA1 as a newborn. She commenced dietary carnitine and her intake of lysine and tryptophan were reduced at the age of 4 weeks. After treatment commenced, her mean glutarylcarnitine level was lower than that in the previous reports. The plasma lysine and tryptophan levels were maintained below the normal ranges. At 4 months, brain MRI revealed a widened operculum with dilatation of the subarachnoid spaces surrounding the atrophic bilateral frontotemporal lobes; this is typical of GA1 patients. However, at 17 months, MRI revealed that the atrophic lesion had disappeared and she subsequently underwent normal maturation. She has never suffered a metabolic decompensation episode. At 26 months, her development and brain MRI were normal. The present reversible brain atrophy in a patient with GA1 indicates that early dietary modifications with a lower level of glutarylcarnitine and administration of carnitine can lead to normal development.
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