Short chain diol metabolism in human disease states

Trends Biochem Sci. 1990 Jan;15(1):26-30. doi: 10.1016/0968-0004(90)90127-w.


Recent clinical studies have shown the presence of two short chain diols, meso-2,3-butanediol and D/L-2,3-butanediol, and in most cases 1,2-propanediol in either serum or urine collected from humans in several apparently unrelated disease states: congenital propionic and methylmalonic acidemia, premature infants, and alcoholics both in the presence and absence of ethanol. In addition 1,2-propanediol has been shown in patients during prolonged starvation, and in patients with diabetic keto-acidosis. No common defect is known to exist in these metabolic states. Understanding how these compounds are produced in clinically well-defined diseases such as methyl malonic and propionic aciduria, however, may help explain how and why these compounds are produced in alcoholics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetoin / metabolism
  • Alcoholism / metabolism
  • Butylene Glycols / metabolism*
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / metabolism
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Propylene Glycols / metabolism*


  • Butylene Glycols
  • Propylene Glycols
  • 2,3-butylene glycol
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Acetoin