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Ethylmalonic-Adipic Aciduria: IN VIVO AND IN VITRO STUDIES INDICATING DEFICIENCY OF ACTIVITIES OF MULTIPLE ACYL-CoA DEHYDROGENASES

Stephanos Mantagos, Myron Genel and Kay Tanaka

Department of Human Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510

Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510

Published December 1, 1979

The mechanisms underlying ethylmalonic-adipic aciduria were studied in a 5-yr-old girl. Oxidation of radioactive substrates by cultured skin fibroblasts from the proband and asymptomatic family members was also determined and compared to that by normal fibroblasts and that by cells from a patient with glutaric aciduria type II.

Feeding medium-chain triglycerides promptly induced vomiting and lethargy accompanied by a pronounced increase of urinary ethylmalonate. Significant increases of serum isovalerate and urinary isovalerylglycine were observed after leucine feeding, but urinary glutarate increased only slightly after lysine feeding. Thus, the results from clinical investigation remained equivocal as to whether pathways other than fatty acid oxidation were blocked in our patient.

Oxidation of [1-14C]butyrate by cultured skin fibroblasts from the proband was reduced to 14% of control. In vitro oxidation of [2-14C]lysine and [2-14C]leucine was also reduced to 28 and 23% of control, respectively. Much more severe reduction in oxidation of these three substrates (3, 9, and 9%, respectively) was observed in glutaric aciduria type II cells.

These results indicated that in the proband, degradative pathways of fatty acids, lysine, and leucine are blocked at the steps of butyryl-CoA, glutaryl-CoA, and isovaleryl-CoA dehydrogenases, respectively, as in the case of glutaric aciduria type II. Because activities of multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenases are reduced, a deficiency of electron-transferring flavoprotein, which serves as a hydrogen-acceptor for these dehydrogenases, is postulated as the underlying mechanisms of these two diseases, but a genetic heterogeneity was indicated by significant differences in the residual activities in these two types of cells. The hypothesis of more than one mutant allele of an autosomal recessive gene was also suggested by the study on cells from asymptomatic members of the family.

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