Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Methylmalonic acidemia


Abstract Background: Methylmalonic aciduria and homocystinuria type C (cblC), a disorder of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) metabolism caused by mutations in the MMACHC gene, presents with many systemic symptoms, including neurological, cognitive, psychiatric, and thromboembolic events. Retinal phenotypes, including maculopathy, pigmentary retinopathy, and optic atrophy are common in early onset form of the disease but are rare in adult onset forms. Materials and Methods: An adult Hispanic female presented with decreased central vision, bilateral pericentral ring scotomas and bull’s eye-appearing macular lesions at 28 years of age. Her medical history was otherwise unremarkable except for iron deficiency anemia and both urinary tract and kidney infections. Screening of the ABCA4 gene, mutations in which frequently cause bull’s eye maculopathy, was negative. Subsequently, analysis with whole exome sequencing was performed. Results: Whole exome sequencing discovered compound heterozygous mutations in MMACHC, c.G482A:p.Arg161Gln and c.270_271insA:p.Arg91Lysfs*14, which segregated with the disease in the family. The genetic diagnosis was confirmed by biochemical laboratory testing, showing highly elevated urine methylmalonic acid/creatinine and homocysteine levels, and suggesting disease management with hydroxycobalamin injections and carnitine supplementation. Conclusions: In summary, a unique case of an adult patient with bull’s eye macular lesions and no clinically relevant systemic symptoms was diagnosed with cblC by genetic screening and follow-up biochemical laboratory tests.

Concepts: Methylmalonic acid, Genetics, Anemia, Iron deficiency anemia, Folic acid, Genetic disorders, Methylmalonic acidemia, Vitamin B12


Methylmalonic and propionic acidemia (MMA/PA) are inborn errors of metabolism characterized by accumulation of propionic acid and/or methylmalonic acid due to deficiency of methylmalonyl-CoA mutase (MUT) or propionyl-CoA carboxylase (PCC). MMA has an estimated incidence of¿~¿1: 50,000 and PA of¿~¿1:100¿000 -150,000. Patients present either shortly after birth with acute deterioration, metabolic acidosis and hyperammonemia or later at any age with a more heterogeneous clinical picture, leading to early death or to severe neurological handicap in many survivors. Mental outcome tends to be worse in PA and late complications include chronic kidney disease almost exclusively in MMA and cardiomyopathy mainly in PA. Except for vitamin B12 responsive forms of MMA the outcome remains poor despite the existence of apparently effective therapy with a low protein diet and carnitine. This may be related to under recognition and delayed diagnosis due to nonspecific clinical presentation and insufficient awareness of health care professionals because of disease rarity.These guidelines aim to provide a trans-European consensus to guide practitioners, set standards of care and to help to raise awareness. To achieve these goals, the guidelines were developed using the SIGN methodology by having professionals on MMA/PA across twelve European countries and the U.S. gather all the existing evidence, score it according to the SIGN evidence level system and make a series of conclusive statements supported by an associated level of evidence. Although the degree of evidence rarely exceeds level C (evidence from non-analytical studies like case reports and series), the guideline should provide a firm and critical basis to guide practice on both acute and chronic presentations, and to address diagnosis, management, monitoring, outcomes, and psychosocial and ethical issues. Furthermore, these guidelines highlight gaps in knowledge that must be filled by future research. We consider that these guidelines will help to harmonize practice, set common standards and spread good practices, with a positive impact on the outcomes of MMA/PA patients.

Concepts: Propionic acidemia, Methylmalonic acid, Inborn error of metabolism, Methylmalonyl-CoA mutase, Metabolism, Methylmalonic acidemia, Vitamin B12, Propionyl-CoA


Abstract Methylmalonic acidemia (MMA) is one of the most frequently encountered forms of branched-chain organic acidemias. Biochemical abnormalities seen in some MMA patients, such as lactic acidemia and increased tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediate excretion, suggest mitochondrial dysfunction. In order to investigate the possibility of mitochondrial involvement in MMA, we examined liver tissue for evidence of mitochondrial ultrastructural abnormalities. Five explanted livers obtained from MMA mut(0) patients undergoing liver transplantation were biopsied. All patients had previous episodes of metabolic acidosis, lactic acidemia, ketonuria, and hyperammonemia. All biopsies revealed a striking mitochondriopathy by electron microscopy. Mitochondria were markedly variable in size, shape, and conformation of cristae. The inner matrix appeared to be greatly expanded and the cristae were diminutive and disconnected. No crystalloid inclusions were noted. This series clearly documents extensive mitochondrial ultrastructure abnormalities in liver samples from MMA patients undergoing transplantation, providing pathological evidence for mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathophysiology of MMA mut(0). Considering the trend to abnormally large mitochondria, the metabolic effects of MMA may restrict mitochondrial fission or promote fusion. The correlation between mitochondrial dysfunction and morphological abnormalities in MMA may provide insights for better understanding and monitoring of optimized or novel therapeutic strategies.

Concepts: Propionic acidemia, Bacteria, Methylmalonic acidemia, Liver, Adenosine triphosphate, Metabolism, Cellular respiration, Mitochondrion


Neurologic regression in a previously healthy child may be caused by metabolic or neurodegenerative disorders, many of which have no definitive treatment. We report a case of a previously healthy 8-year-old boy who presented with a month-long history of waxing and waning encephalopathy and acute regression, followed by seizures. Evaluation for a metabolic disorder revealed methylmalonic acidemia and hyperhomocysteinemia of the cobalamin C type due to a single, presumed homozygous pathogenic c.394 C>T mutation in the MMACHC gene. With the appropriate diet restrictions and vitamin replacement, he improved significantly and returned to his premorbid level of behavior. This case illustrates an unusual presentation of a treatable metabolic disorder and highlights the need to consider cobalamin defects in the differential diagnosis of healthy children with neurologic regression.

Concepts: Medical diagnosis, Electroencephalography, Differential diagnosis, Metabolism, Medicine, Methylmalonic acidemia, Nutrition, Neurology


Methylmalonyl-CoA epimerase (MCE) converts d-methylmalonyl-CoA epimer to l-methylmalonyl-CoA epimer in the propionyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA pathway. Only seven cases of MCE deficiency have been described. In two cases, MCE deficiency was combined with sepiapterin reductase deficiency. The reported clinical pictures of isolated MCE are variable, with two asymptomatic patients and two other patients presenting with metabolic acidosis attacks. For combined MCE and sepiapterin reductase deficiency, the clinical picture is dominated by neurologic alterations. We report isolated MCE deficiency in a boy who presented at five years of age with acute metabolic acidosis. Metabolic investigations were consistent with propionic aciduria (PA). Unexpectedly, propionyl-CoA carboxylase activity was within the reference range. Afterward, apparently intermittent and mild excretion of methylmalonic acid (MMA) was discovered. Methylmalonic pathway gene set analysis using the next-generation sequencing approach allowed identification of the common homozygous nonsense pathogenic variant (c.139C > T-p.Arg47*) in the methylmalonyl-CoA epimerase gene (MCEE). Additional cases of MCE deficiency may help provide better insight regarding the clinical impact of this rare condition. MCE deficiency could be considered a cause of mild and intermittent increases in methylmalonic acid.

Concepts: Metabolic acidosis, Methylmalonic acidemia, Methylmalonyl-CoA, Propionyl-CoA


To deepen our understanding of Methylmalonic aciduria (MMA) associated pulmonary hypertension (PH) by analyzing the characteristics of clinical presentation, pulmonary high resolusion CT(HRCT), treatment response and gene mutation.

Concepts: Methylmalonic acidemia, Genetics, Pulmonary artery


Increased propionylcarnitine levels in newborn screening are indicative for a group of potentially severe disorders including propionic acidemia (PA), methylmalonic acidemias and combined remethylation disorders (MMACBL). This alteration is relatively non-specific, resulting in the necessity of confirmation and differential diagnosis in subsequent tests. Thus, we aimed to develop a multiplex approach for concurrent determination of 3-hydroxypropionic acid, methylmalonic acid and methylcitric acid from the same dried blood spot (DBS) as in primary screening (second-tier test). We also set out to validate the method using newborn and follow-up samples of patients with confirmed PA or MMACBL.

Concepts: Spot, Confirmation, Lactic acid, Medical diagnosis, Differential diagnosis, PH, Medical terms, Methylmalonic acidemia


Vitamin B12 (cobalamin, Cbl), in the cofactor forms methyl-Cbl and adenosyl-Cbl, is required for the function of the essential enzymes methionine synthase and methylmalonyl-CoA mutase, respectively. Cbl enters mammalian cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis of protein-bound Cbl followed by lysosomal export of free Cbl to the cytosol, and further processing to these cofactor forms. The integral membrane proteins LMBD1 and ABCD4 are required for lysosomal release of Cbl, and mutations in the genes LMBRD1 and ABCD4 result in the cobalamin metabolism disorders cblF and cblJ. We report a new (fifth) patient with the cblJ disorder, who presented at 7 days of age with poor feeding, hypotonia, methylmalonic aciduria, and elevated plasma homocysteine and harbored the mutations c.1667_1668delAG [p.Glu556Glyfs*27] and c.1295G>A [p.Arg432Gln] in the ABCD4 gene. Cbl cofactor forms are decreased in fibroblasts from this patient, but could be rescued by over-expression of either ABCD4 or, unexpectedly, LMBD1. Utilizing a sensitive live-cell FRET assay, we demonstrated selective interaction between ABCD4 and LMBD1, and decreased interaction when ABCD4 harbored the patient mutations p.Arg432Gln or p.Asn141Lys, or artificial mutations disrupting the ATPase domain. Finally, we showed that ABCD4 lysosomal targeting depends on co-expression of, and interaction with, LMBD1. These data broaden the patient and mutation spectrum of cblJ deficiency, establish a sensitive live-cell assay to detect the LMBD1-ABCD4 interaction, and confirm the importance of this interaction for proper intracellular targeting of ABCD4 and cobalamin cofactor synthesis.

Concepts: Metabolism, Cell membrane, Methylmalonic acidemia, Vitamin, Methylmalonyl-CoA mutase, Methionine, Protein, Vitamin B12


Autosomal recessive or X-linked inborn errors of intracellular cobalamin metabolism can lead to methylmalonic aciduria and homocystinuria. In neonates, both increased cerebrospinal fluid glycine and cerebrospinal fluid/plasma glycine ratio are biochemical features of nonketotic hyperglycinemia.

Concepts: Inborn errors of metabolism, Protein, Inborn error of metabolism, Methylmalonic acid, Sex linkage, Genetic disorders, Amino acid, Methylmalonic acidemia


To describe the retinal structure of a group of patients affected by methylmalonic aciduria with homocystinuria cblC type, caused by mutations in the MMACHC gene, using spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT).

Concepts: Organism, DNA, Optical coherence tomography, Biology, Optics, Species, Evolution, Methylmalonic acidemia