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Mol Genet Metab. 2006 May;88(1):16-21. Epub 2006 Jan 31.

Quantitative determination of succinylacetone in dried blood spots for newborn screening of tyrosinemia type I.

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Biochemical Genetics Laboratory, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



Tyrosinemia type I (TYR 1) is a severe disorder causing early death if left untreated. While tyrosine can be determined in dried blood spots (DBS), it is not a specific marker for TYR 1 and most often associated with benign transient tyrosinemia of the newborn. Succinylacetone (SUAC) is a specific marker for TYR 1 but not detectable by routine newborn screening. We developed a new assay that determines SUAC in DBS by liquid-chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).


Whole blood is eluted from a 3/16-in. DBS by an aqueous solution containing deuterium labeled SUAC as internal standard (IS). SUAC and IS are oximated, then extracted, butylated, and analyzed by LC-MS/MS. Quantitation is from SUAC spiked calibrator DBS over the range 0-200 microM using selected reaction monitoring of transitions m/z 212 to 156 and m/z 214 to 140 for SUAC and IS, respectively. Analysis time is 5 min. To assess the effectiveness of a two-tier screening approach for TYR 1 we applied this assay to our newborn screening program over the last 15 months.


The intra-assay precision was determined for three different levels of SUAC (5, 20, and 50 micromol/L) and the CV calculated to be 4.7, 2.6, and 3.1%, respectively (n=5). Inter-assay precision CVs were 12.7, 8.2, and 7.8%, respectively on the same samples. SUAC levels in DBS from 10 confirmed TYR 1 cases not treated with 2-(2-nitro-4-trifluoromethylbenzoyl)-1,3-cyclohexanedione (NTBC) were clearly abnormal (16-150 micromol/L; mean: 61 micromol/L; controls: <5 micromol/L). Over a 15-month period, SUAC was determined in newborn screening samples with elevated tyrosine concentrations when applying different cut off values until it was settled at 150 micromol/L. No case of TYR 1 was detected in 124,780 newborns tested.


We have developed a new LC-MS/MS based method for the determination of SUAC in DBS. This assay has the potential to significantly reduce the number of false positive results in newborn screening for TYR 1 and can also be used for the laboratory follow up of patients treated for TYR 1.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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