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Indian J Clin Biochem. 2007 Sep;22(2):158-61. doi: 10.1007/BF02913337.

Alkaptonuric ochronosis: Report of a case and brief review.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, SS Institute of Medical Sciences & Research, Davangere.


Alkaptonuria, a metabolic disorder characterized by a triad of homogentisic aciduria, arthritis and ochronosis is one of the first conditions in the charter of group of inborn errors of metabolism proposed to have Mendelian recessive inheritance. It is due to the deficiency of the enzyme homogentisic acid oxidase which catalyzes the conversion of homogentisic acid to maleylacetoacetic acid in the catabolism of tyrosine. Homogentisic acid thus accumulates in cells and body fluids and its oxidized polymers bind to collagen, leading to progressive deposition of grey to bluish black pigment resulting in degenerative changes in cartilage, intervertebral disc and other connective tissues, leading to arthritis which is the only disabling effect in an affected older individual. However the diagnosis can be made in neonates when blackish stain is noticed in an unwashed diaper. Alkaptonuria is treated symptomatically, surgical intervention necessitates in advanced stages, treatment with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and dietary restrictions of food containing phenylalanine and tyrosine have proved to be successful in alleviating the symptoms.


Alkaptonuria; Ochronosis; Ochronotic arthritis

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