Metabolism of carnitine in phenylacetic acid-treated rats and in patients with phenylketonuria.


The effect of metabolites accumulating in phenylketonuria (PKU) was investigated on carnitine metabolism in rats and in patients with PKU. Of phenylacetic acid (PEAA), phenylpyruvic acid and homogentisic acid the PEAA was found to be the most effective in inhibiting carnitine biosynthesis in rats. Following 60 min, a single intraperitoneal dose of PEAA the relative conversion rate, i. e. the hydroxylation, of tracer [Me-(3)H]butyrobetaine to [Me-(3)H]carnitine decreased from 62.2+/-6.00% to 39.4+/-5.11% (means+/-S.E.M., P<0.01) in the liver, in the only organ doing this conversion in rats. The conversion of loading amount of unlabeled butyrobetaine to carnitine was also markedly reduced. The impaired hydroxylation of butyrobetaine was reflected by a reduced free and total carnitine levels in the liver and a reduced total carnitine concentration in the plasma. PEAA decreased the hepatic level of glutamic acid and alpha-ketoglutaric acid (alpha-KG), suggesting a mechanism for the reduced flux through the butyrobetaine hydroxylase enzyme, because alpha-KG is an obligatory co-enzyme. In the plasma and urine of PKU patients on unrestricted diet, markedly decreased total carnitine levels were detected. In the liver of PEAA-treated rats and urine of PKU patients, a novel carnitine derivative, phenacetyl-carnitine was verified by HPLC and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

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@article{Fischer2000MetabolismOC, title={Metabolism of carnitine in phenylacetic acid-treated rats and in patients with phenylketonuria.}, author={Gabor M Fischer and Bal{\'a}zs N{\'e}meti and Val{\'e}ria Farkas and Balazs Debreceni and Andrei Laszlo and Z Schaffer and Cs Somogyi and Attila Sandor}, journal={Biochimica et biophysica acta}, year={2000}, volume={1501 2-3}, pages={200-10} }