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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Jul;87(14):5449-53.

Determination of fructose metabolic pathways in normal and fructose-intolerant children: a 13C NMR study using [U-13C]fructose.

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Department of Isotope Research, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


An inborn deficiency in the ability of aldolase B to split fructose 1-phosphate is found in humans with hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI). A stable isotope procedure to elucidate the mechanism of conversion of fructose to glucose in normal children and in HFI children has been developed. A constant infusion of D-[U-13C]fructose was given nasogastrically to control and to HFI children. Hepatic fructose conversion to glucose was estimated by examination of 13C NMR spectra of plasma glucose. The conversion parameters in the control and HFI children were estimated on the basis of doublet/singlet values of the plasma beta-glucose C-1 splitting pattern as a function of the rate of fructose infusion (0.26-0.5 mg/kg per min). Significantly lower values (approximately 3-fold) for fructose conversion to glucose were obtained for the HFI patients as compared to the controls. A quantitative determination of the metabolic pathways of fructose conversion to glucose was derived from 13C NMR measurement of plasma [13C]glucose isotopomer populations. The finding of isotopomer populations of three adjacent 13C atoms at glucose C-4 (13C3-13C4-13C5) suggests that there is a direct pathway from fructose, by-passing fructose-1-phosphate aldolase, to fructose 1,6-bisphosphate. The metabolism of fructose by fructose-1-phosphate aldolase activity accounts for only approximately 50% of the total amount of hepatic fructose conversion to glucose. It is suggested that phosphorylation of fructose 1-phosphate to fructose 1,6-bisphosphate by 1-phosphofructokinase occurs in human liver (and intestine) when fructose is administered nasogastrically; 47% and 27% of the total fructose conversion to glucose in controls and in HFI children, respectively, takes place by way of this pathway. In view of the marked decline by 67% in synthesis of glucose from fructose in HFI subjects found in this study, the extent of [13C]glucose formation from a "trace" amount (approximately 20 mg/kg) of [U-13C]fructose infused into the patient can be used as a safe and noninvasive diagnostic test for inherent faulty fructose metabolism.

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