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Mol Genet Metab. 2010;100 Suppl 1:S31-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2010.01.012. Epub 2010 Jan 29.

Guanidino compound levels in blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and post-mortem brain material of patients with argininemia.

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Department of Pathology, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


The paucity of hyperammonemic crises together with spasticity, only seen in human arginase I deficient patients and not in patients with other urea cycle disorders, forces a search for candidates other than ammonia to associate with the pathophysiology and symptomatology. Therefore, we determined arginine together with some catabolites of arginine in blood and cerebrospinal fluid of these patients as well as in extremely rare post-mortem brain material of two patients with argininemia. The levels of alpha-keto-delta-guanidinovaleric acid, argininic acid and alpha-N-acetylarginine correlate with the arginine levels in blood and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with imposed or spontaneous protein restriction. The levels in blood are higher than the upper limit of normal in all studied patients. In addition to the highly increased levels of these same compounds in blood of a child with argininemia, the increase of guanidinoacetic acid, 24h before death, is remarkable. However, the manifest increases of these studied catabolites of arginine are not seen in post-mortem brain material of the same pediatric patient. Otherwise a clear increase of guanidinoacetic acid in post-mortem brain material of an adult patient was shown. A similar, comparable increase of homoarginine in both studied post-mortem brain materials is observed. Therefore the study of the pathobiochemistry of arginine in argininemia must be completed in the future by the determination of the end catabolites of the nitric oxide and agmatine biosynthesis pathways in the knockouts as well as in the patients to evaluate their role, together with the here studied catabolites, as candidates for association with pathophysiology and symptomatology.

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