Combined malonic and methylmalonic aciduria with normal malonyl-coenzyme A decarboxylase activity: a case supporting multiple aetiologies

J Inherit Metab Dis. 1998 Jun;21(4):382-90. doi: 10.1023/a:1005302607897.


We identified a patient who excreted large amounts of methylmalonic acid and malonic acid. In contrast to other patients who have been described with combined methylmalonic and malonic aciduria, our patient excreted much larger amounts of methylmalonic acid than malonic acid. Since most previous patients with this biochemical phenotype have been reported to have deficiency of malonyl-CoA decarboxylase, we assayed malonyl-CoA decarboxylase activity in skin fibroblasts derived from our patient and found the enzyme activity to be normal. We examined four isocaloric (2000 kcal/day) dietary regimes administered serially over a period of 12 days with 3 days devoted to each dietary regimen. These diets were high in carbohydrate, fat or protein, or enriched with medium-chain triglycerides. Diet-induced changes in malonic and methylmalonic acid excretion became evident 24-36 h after initiating a new diet. Total excretion of malonic and methylmalonic acid was greater (p < 0.01) during a high-protein diet than during a high-carbohydrate or high-fat diet. A high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet was associated with the lowest levels of malonic and methylmalonic acid excretion. Perturbations in these metabolites were most marked at night. On all dietary regimes, our patient excreted 3-10 times more methylmalonic acid than malonic acid, a reversal of the ratios reported in patients with malonyl-CoA decarboxylase deficiency. Our data support a previous observation that combined malonic and methylmalonic aciduria has aetiologies other than malonyl-CoA decarboxylase deficiency. The malonic acid to methylmalonic acid ratio in response to dietary intervention may be useful in identifying a subgroup of patients with normal enzyme activity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / urine*
  • Carboxy-Lyases / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Diet
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malonates / urine*
  • Methylmalonic Acid / urine*


  • Malonates
  • Methylmalonic Acid
  • malonic acid
  • Carboxy-Lyases
  • malonyl-CoA decarboxylase