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Mol Genet Metab. 2000 Aug;70(4):261-71.

Apparent galactose appearance rate in human galactosemia based on plasma [(13)C]galactose isotopic enrichment.

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Department of Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Determination of endogenous galactose formation in galactosemic subjects provides important information in understanding the etiology of the long-term complications. To accomplish this task a sensitive method for measurement of isotopic enrichment of plasma galactose was developed. The aldononitrile pentaacetate derivative of galactose was utilized for gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis. Using a phenyl-methylsilicone capillary column, adequate separation of galactose from glucose was obtained by temperature programming of the chromatography. The specific fragmentation pattern of m/z 212, 225, 314 from d-[(12)C]galactose and m/z 213, 226, 315 from l-[(13)C]galactose was used for the galactose enrichment measurement by atom percent excess (APE). There was good correlation between expected enrichment and determined APEs at galactose concentrations of 1, 2, and 5 micromol/L with a coefficient of variation ranging from 0.22 to 7.17%. The method provides an accurate estimation of plasma [(13)C]galactose enrichment from which the galactose production rate can be calculated. The steady-state plasma l-[(13)C]galactose isotopic enrichment of three individuals with galactosemia, two males ages 33 and 13, and one female age 9, during constant infusion of l-[(13)C]galactose was 55, 41, and 55%, allowing the estimation of the apparent galactose appearance rate of 0.62, 1.09, and 0.82 mg/kg/h, respectively. The reanalysis of three previous studies by the present method found that APE values determined by the method then employed, butylboronate acetate derivatization, were systemically lower than those determined with aldononitrile pentaacetate derivatization, making for an overestimation of the apparent galactose appearance rate. The small plasma sample volumes needed make it feasible to perform these studies in infants and young children with galactosemia.

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