Tiglyglycine (TG), an intermediate product of the catabolism of isoleucine, is increased in the urine of patients with beta-ketothiolase deficiency or with disorders of propionate metabolism. It is also implicated as a useful diagnostic marker in disorders of the respiratory chain. We present a method for the synthesis of TG and tiglyl[13C, 15N]glycine and the development of a stable isotope dilution mass spectrometric assay for TG. We compare data from controls with that from subjects with beta-ketothiolase deficiency and propionyl-CoA carboxylase deficiency, and with six patients with enzyme-confirmed disorders of the respiratory chain. TG was increased in the urine from all of the patient groups. The increased TG excretion did not persist in one patient with a respiratory chain defect, which suggests that, in some patients, multiple sample analysis may be necessary to identify a respiratory chain defect. This is the first urinary compound to be implicated as a potential marker of disorders of the respiratory chain.