Deficiency of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (CoA) lyase affects the metabolism of leucine as well as ketogenesis. This disorder is one of an increasing list of inborn errors of metabolism that presents clinically like Reye's Syndrome or nonketotic hypoglycemia. Four patients with proven 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA lyase deficiency were shown to excrete a new diagnostically specific metabolite. The technique of fast atom bombardment and tandem mass spectrometry revealed that only 3-methylglutaryl-CoA is a substrate for acylcarnitine formation. Neither 3-methylglutaconyl-CoA nor 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA are excreted as acylcarnitines. The excretion of 3-methylglutarylcarnitine may explain, in part, the apparent secondary carnitine deficiency in this disorder. Carnitine supplementation with moderate dietary restrictions may be a useful treatment strategy for this disorder.
C R Roe, D S Millington, D A Maltby