Enantioselective multidimensional gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (enantio-MDGC-MS) is a valuable tool for the differentiation of enantiomers from complex matrices when present in trace amounts. The separation of chiral compounds provides further information on the diagnosis of diseases, and on normal and abnormal biochemical pathways. The formation of the normal urinary metabolite 3-hydroxy-2-methylbutanoic acid (HMBA), excreted in abnormally high amounts in beta-ketothiolase deficiency, is not absolutely clarified. Metabolic pathways involving this metabolite are isoleucine catabolism, as well as presumably beta-oxidation of fatty acids and ketogenesis. The latter two pathways are distinguishable in their enantioselectivity. Enantioselective analysis gives further information on interfering metabolic pathways and the selectivity of the enzyme(s) forming HMBA. Different ratios of the stereoisomers of HMBA in control urine samples and patients with beta-ketothiolase deficiency were detected. Analogous to HMBA urinary 3-hydroxybutanoic acid (HBA) was investigated in several diseases. The formation of HBA and HMBA is expected to result from the same or similar metabolic pathways. Differences in the enantiomeric ratio of HMBA may originate from the enantioselectivity of different enzyme systems.