Article Text

other Versions

Download PDFPDF
Psychosis, paraplegia and coma revealing methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency in a 56 year-old woman
  1. Jean-Marie Michot (jeanmariemichot{at}
  1. Internal Medicine, Bichat Hospital, Paris-Diderot university, France
    1. Frederic Sedel (frederic.sedel{at}
    1. Federation of Nervous System Diseases , Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France
      1. Stéphane Giraudier (stephane.giraudier{at}
      1. Hematology, Val de Marne University, Henri Mondor Hospital, Créteil, France
        1. Jean-Marie Smiejan (jean-marie.smiejan{at}
        1. Internal Medicine, Bichat Hospital, Paris-Diderot university, France
          1. Thomas Papo (thomas.papo{at}
          1. Internal Medicine, Bichat Hospital, Paris-Diderot university, France


            Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of homocysteine metabolism. Neurologic symptoms usually appear in early life with developmental delay, microcephaly, hypotonia, seizures, apnea and coma. We report on a 56 year-old woman with a history of depression and psychosis, who exhibited acute paraplegia, coma and leukoencephalopathy. High plasma homocysteine with low methionine levels suggested a defect in homocysteine re-methylation. Severe MTHFR deficiency was found, with a new mutation in the MTHFR coding gene. Under treatment consisting of high doses of folinic acid, betaine monohydrate, beflavin and cobalamin, plasma homocysteine normalized with parallel psychiatric, cognitive and brain MRI improvement. Paraplegia remained unchanged. In conclusion, MTHFR deficiency should be considered at any age in patients with an unexplained neuropsychiatric disorder. A simple screening test, such as plasma homocysteine determination, should be performed in order to start treatment before irreversible spinal cord damage has occurred.

            Statistics from

            Request Permissions

            If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.