In this rapid radiochemical assay for 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A lyase (I) activity in cell extracts, DL-3[glutaryl-3-14C]hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A is used as substrate and the radiochemical product, [3-14C]acetoacetic acid, is converted to the more stable [3-14C]-3-hydroxybutyric acid in the presence of added NADH and 3-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase. Substrate and product are separated and quantified by thin-layer chromatography on cellulose (solvent system: butanol/water/formic acid, 77:13:10 by vol). All reagents for the assay are commercially available. No detailed column chromatography or spectrophotometry is required. Thus the assay is suited for any clinical laboratory. Using this procedure, we studied cultured fibroblasts or lymphocytes isolated from whole blood from five patients in whom the urinary organic acid profile was suggestive of deficiency of I. Three patients had ≤18% of control I activity in fibroblast or lymphocyte extracts. The other two had activity within the normal range. In one of the latter cases, urinary excretion of three of the characteristic acids disappeared with age, and 3-hydroxyisovaleric acid excretion was within normal limits. The other case presented with urinary excretion of moderate amounts of all four metabolites and the characteristic absence of urinary ketone bodies. Evidently, confirmatory enzyme studies should be undertaken, even when the profile of urinary organic acids appears definitive for this deficiency.
- 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaric aciduria
- heritable disorders
- leucine catabolism
- urinary organic acids