Effects of ascorbic acid in alkaptonuria: alterations in benzoquinone acetic acid and an ontogenic effect in infancy

Pediatr Res. 1989 Aug;26(2):140-4. doi: 10.1203/00006450-198908000-00015.


The effects of ascorbic acid on the excretion of homogentisic acid and its derivative benzoquinone acetic acid were studied in two adults and three infants. The administration of relatively large amounts of ascorbic acid to the adults was followed by a disappearance of benzoquinone acetic acid from the urine, whereas the level of excretion of homogentisic acid did not change. This could have relevance to the pathogenesis of ochronotic arthritis. In the 4-mo-old infant and the 5-mo-old infant ascorbic acid in the urine may have doubled the amount of homogentisic acid, presumably through an effect on the immature p-hydroxyphenylpyruvic acid oxidase. Dietary reduction of the intake of tyrosine and phenylalanine substantially reduced the excretion of homogentisic acid.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alkaptonuria / blood
  • Alkaptonuria / drug therapy*
  • Alkaptonuria / urine
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Ascorbic Acid / urine
  • Benzoquinones*
  • Homogentisic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Homogentisic Acid / blood*
  • Homogentisic Acid / urine*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quinones / blood*
  • Quinones / urine*


  • Benzoquinones
  • Quinones
  • quinone
  • Homogentisic Acid
  • Ascorbic Acid