Type I glutaric aciduria, part 1: natural history of 77 patients

Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2003 Aug 15;121C(1):38-52. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.c.20007.


Type I glutaric aciduria (GA1) results from mitochondrial matrix flavoprotein glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency and is a cause of acute striatal necrosis in infancy. We present detailed clinical, neuroradiologic, molecular, biochemical, and functional data on 77 patients with GA1 representative of a 14-year clinical experience. Microencephalic macrocephaly at birth is the earliest sign of GA1 and is associated with stretched bridging veins that can be a cause of subdural hematoma and acute retinal hemorrhage. Acute striatal necrosis during infancy is the principal cause of morbidity and mortality and leads to chronic oromotor, gastroesophageal, skeletal, and respiratory complications of dystonia. Injury to the putamen is heralded by abrupt-onset behavioral arrest. Tissue degeneration is stroke-like in pace, radiologic appearance, and irreversibility. It is uniformly symmetric, regionally selective, confined to children under 18 months of age, and occurs almost always during an infectious illness. Our knowledge of disease mechanisms, though incomplete, is sufficient to allow a rational approach to management of encephalopathic crises. Screening of asymptomatic newborns with GA1 followed by thoughtful prospective care reduces the incidence of radiologically and clinically evident basal ganglia injury from approximately 90% to 35%. Uninjured children have good developmental outcomes and thrive within Amish and non-Amish communities.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Diseases, Metabolic, Inborn / complications*
  • Brain Diseases, Metabolic, Inborn / diet therapy
  • Brain Diseases, Metabolic, Inborn / drug therapy
  • Brain Diseases, Metabolic, Inborn / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 19 / genetics
  • Dystonia / complications
  • Glutarates / urine
  • Glutaryl-CoA Dehydrogenase
  • Humans
  • Lysine / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Necrosis
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors / deficiency*
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors / genetics*
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors / metabolism
  • Putamen / blood supply
  • Putamen / pathology*
  • Tryptophan / metabolism


  • Glutarates
  • Tryptophan
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors
  • Glutaryl-CoA Dehydrogenase
  • Lysine