The urinary excretion of glutarylcarnitine is an informative tool in the biochemical diagnosis of glutaric acidemia type I

S. Tortorelli, S. H. Hahn, T. M. Cowan, T. G. Brewster, P. Rinaldo, D. Matern

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42 Scopus citations


Glutaric acidemia type I (GA-1) is a progressive neurodegenerative inborn error of metabolism that typically manifests acutely in infants during an intercurrent illness. The diagnosis is established biochemically by the detection of glutaric acid and 3-hydroxy glutaric acid in urine and glutarylcarnitine in plasma. However, some patients excrete only small amounts of glutaric acid and may be overlooked, especially if the plasma concentration of glutarylcarnitine is not elevated. To test the hypothesis that measuring the excretion of glutarylcarnitine may improve the recognition of GA-1 patients without significant glutaric aciduria, urine glutarylcarnitine was analyzed in 14 cases. Five of them lacked significant glutaric aciduria, 9 (of 10 available) had a normal plasma glutarylcarnitine concentration. As controls, we also evaluated 54 subjects with glutaric aciduria secondary to other causes (16-7509 mmol/mol creatinine; reference range: <15; no significant amounts of 3-hydroxy glutaric acid detectable). The excretion of glutarylcarnitine was significantly elevated in all GA-1 patients (14-522 mmol/mol creatinine; reference range: <5.2) and in none of the controls with glutaric aciduria. These findings suggest that the urinary excretion of glutarylcarnitine is a specific biochemical marker of GA-1 which could be particularly useful in the work up of patients with suggestive clinical manifestations but without glutaric aciduria and with normal plasma acylcarnitine profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-143
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular genetics and metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Acylcarnitine analysis
  • Biochemical genetics
  • Glutaric acidemia type I
  • Organic acid analysis
  • Organic aciduria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology


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