Glutaric aciduria type 1 in South Africa-high incidence of glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency in black South Africans

Mol Genet Metab. 2010 Oct-Nov;101(2-3):178-82. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2010.07.018. Epub 2010 Aug 3.


Glutaric Aciduria type 1 (GA 1) is an inherited disorder of lysine and tryptophan catabolism that typically manifests in infants with acute cerebral injury associated with intercurrent illness. We investigated the clinical, biochemical and molecular features in 14 known GA 1 patients in South Africa, most of whom were recently confirmed following the implementation of sensitive urine organic acid screening at our laboratory. Age at diagnosis ranged from 3days to 5years and poor clinical outcome reflected the delay in diagnosis in all but one patient. Twelve patients were unrelated black South Africans of whom all those tested (n=11) were found homozygous for the same A293T mutation in the glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase (GCDH) gene. Excretion of 3-hydroxyglutarate (3-OHGA) was >30.1μmol/mmol creatinine (reference range <2.5) in all cases but glutarate excretion varied with 5 patients considered low excretors (glutarate <50μmol/mmol creatinine). Fibroblast GCDH activity was very low or absent in all of five cases tested. Heterozygosity for the A293T mutation was found 1 in 36 (95% CI; 1/54 - 1/24) unrelated black South African newborns (n=750) giving a predicted prevalence rate for GA 1 of 1 in 5184 (95% CI; 1/11664 - 1/2304) in this population. GA 1 is a treatable but often missed inherited disorder with a previously unrecognised high carrier frequency of a single mutation in the South African black population.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / epidemiology
  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics
  • Blacks / genetics
  • Brain Diseases, Metabolic / epidemiology
  • Brain Diseases, Metabolic / genetics
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Glutaryl-CoA Dehydrogenase / deficiency*
  • Glutaryl-CoA Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • South Africa / epidemiology


  • Glutaryl-CoA Dehydrogenase

Supplementary concepts

  • Glutaric Acidemia I