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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 1, 2005

Odd-numbered long-chain fatty acids in erythrocyte phospholipids as long-term follow-up parameter in propionic acidemia

  • Thomas Meissner , Michael Leichsenring and Ertan Mayatepek


Odd-numbered long-chain fatty acids (OLCFAs) increase in total erythrocyte lipids or plasma in patients with propionic acidemia and have been proposed as a useful parameter of metabolic control. However, up to now no parameter for long-term metabolic control has been available for this disorder. In contrast to previous investigations, we investigated OLCFAs with particular reference to differences for two phospholipid fractions of erythrocyte lipids. The phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) fraction of erythrocyte lipids has a slow turnover rate and might reflect the metabolic propionyl-CoA burden over a period of some weeks. Distinct increases in OLCFA of up to 200% in the phosphatidylcholine fraction were observed after episodes of metabolic decompensation and maximum OLCFA levels were found 3 weeks after the onset of a crisis. As a sign of poor metabolic control, OLCFA levels in PE steadily increased after recurrent episodes of decompensation, but not in clinically stable patients. However, in one patient with clinically good metabolic control, OLCFAs continually increased after the second year of life for an as yet unknown reason. In conclusion, data from this study indicate the usefulness of OLCFA analysis in the PE fraction of erythrocyte lipids, in particular with regard to the need for such a parameter for evidence-based improvement of management strategies in propionic acidemia.

Corresponding author: Dr. Thomas Meissner, MD, Department of General Pediatrics, University Children’s Hospital, Moorenstr. 5, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany. Phone: + 49-211-8117687, Fax: +49-211-8118757, E-mail:


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Received: 2004-5-6
Accepted: 2004-8-20
Published Online: 2005-6-1
Published in Print: 2004-9-1

© Walter de Gruyter

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