Recommendations for diagnosing and managing individuals with glutaric aciduria type 1: Third revision

J Inherit Metab Dis. 2023 May;46(3):482-519. doi: 10.1002/jimd.12566. Epub 2022 Nov 17.


Glutaric aciduria type 1 is a rare inherited neurometabolic disorder of lysine metabolism caused by pathogenic gene variations in GCDH (cytogenic location: 19p13.13), resulting in deficiency of mitochondrial glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase (GCDH) and, consequently, accumulation of glutaric acid, 3-hydroxyglutaric acid, glutaconic acid and glutarylcarnitine detectable by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (organic acids) and tandem mass spectrometry (acylcarnitines). Depending on residual GCDH activity, biochemical high and low excreting phenotypes have been defined. Most untreated individuals present with acute onset of striatal damage before age 3 (to 6) years, precipitated by infectious diseases, fever or surgery, resulting in irreversible, mostly dystonic movement disorder with limited life expectancy. In some patients, striatal damage develops insidiously. In recent years, the clinical phenotype has been extended by the finding of extrastriatal abnormalities and cognitive dysfunction, preferably in the high excreter group, as well as chronic kidney failure. Newborn screening is the prerequisite for pre-symptomatic start of metabolic treatment with low lysine diet, carnitine supplementation and intensified emergency treatment during catabolic episodes, which, in combination, have substantially improved neurologic outcome. In contrast, start of treatment after onset of symptoms cannot reverse existing motor dysfunction caused by striatal damage. Dietary treatment can be relaxed after the vulnerable period for striatal damage, that is, age 6 years. However, impact of dietary relaxation on long-term outcomes is still unclear. This third revision of evidence-based recommendations aims to re-evaluate previous recommendations (Boy et al., J Inherit Metab Dis, 2017;40(1):75-101; Kolker et al., J Inherit Metab Dis 2011;34(3):677-694; Kolker et al., J Inherit Metab Dis, 2007;30(1):5-22) and to implement new research findings on the evolving phenotypic diversity as well as the impact of non-interventional variables and treatment quality on clinical outcomes.

Keywords: glutaric aciduria type 1; glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase; guideline; management; monitoring; newborn screening; therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors* / diagnosis
  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors* / genetics
  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors* / therapy
  • Brain Diseases, Metabolic* / diagnosis
  • Brain Diseases, Metabolic* / genetics
  • Brain Diseases, Metabolic* / therapy
  • Glutarates / metabolism
  • Glutaryl-CoA Dehydrogenase
  • Humans
  • Lysine / metabolism


  • Glutaryl-CoA Dehydrogenase
  • Lysine
  • Glutarates

Supplementary concepts

  • Glutaric Acidemia I