Effect of sodium dichloroacetate on human pyruvate metabolism

Brain Dev. 1989;11(3):195-7. doi: 10.1016/s0387-7604(89)80098-1.


Sodium dichloroacetate (DCA) was administered orally at doses of 12.5 to 50 mg/kg body weight twice or three times per day to a patient with mitochondrial encephalomyopathy associated with congenital lactic acidemia. During therapy, the rates of decarboxylation of (1-14C) pyruvate and (3-14C) pyruvate, which represent the activity of the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex and the function of the TCA cycle, respectively, were markedly increased in the platelets and increases in the lactate levels in the blood and urine during exercise were markedly reduced. These results suggest that oral administration of DCA causes significant increases in the activities of the PDH complex and TCA cycle not only in the platelets but also in various tissues of humans, which is important as a pathway for production of energy, resulting in decreases in the lactate and pyruvate levels in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / therapeutic use*
  • Acidosis, Lactic / congenital
  • Acidosis, Lactic / drug therapy
  • Acidosis, Lactic / metabolism*
  • Adolescent
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • Dichloroacetic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscular Diseases / etiology*
  • Muscular Diseases / metabolism
  • Pyruvates / metabolism*
  • Pyruvic Acid


  • Acetates
  • Pyruvates
  • Pyruvic Acid
  • Dichloroacetic Acid