Isovaleric acidemia: Therapeutic response to supplementation with glycine, L-carnitine, or both in combination and a 10-year follow-up case study

Yasutsugu Chinen, Sadao Nakamura, Kunihito Tamashiro, Osamu Sakamoto, Kyoko Tashiro, Takahiro Inokuchi, Koichi Nakanishi

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Isovaleric acidemia (IVA) is an organic acid disease caused by a deficiency of isovaleryl-CoA dehydrogenase. Deficiency of this enzyme leads to accumulation of organic acids, such as isovalerylcarnitine and isovalerylglycine. The proposed IVA treatments include leucine restriction and L-carnitine and/or glycine supplementation, which convert isovaleric acid into non-toxic isovalerylcarnitine and isovalerylglycine, respectively. We examined the therapeutic response using the leucine load test and performed a 10-year follow-up in the patient. Methods We evaluated the patient with IVA beginning at 5 years of age, when he presented with a mild to intermediate metabolic phenotype. Ammonia, free carnitine, isovalerylcarnitine, and isovalerylglycine were analyzed in the urine and blood after a meal consisting of 1600 mg leucine with glycine alone (250 mg/kg/day), L-carnitine alone (100 mg/kg/day), or both glycine and L-carnitine for four days each. Results (Leucine load test) Three hours after the meal, serum ammonia levels increased most dramatically with glycine treatment alone, then with both in combination, and least with L-carnitine alone. Urinary isovalerylglycine levels increased 2-fold more with glycine supplementation than those following supplementation with both agents or with L-carnitine alone. Treatment with both agents resulted in a gradual increase in urinary acylcarnitine levels during the 6-h period following the leucine load, reaching concentrations comparable to those observed with L-carnitine alone. (Clinical course) After initiation of both glycine (200 mg/kg/day) and L-carnitine (100 mg/kg/day) supplementation at 5 years of age, doses were gradually reduced to 111.7 mg/kg/day and 55.8 mg/kg/day, respectively, at 15 years of age. His mind and body had developed without any sequelae. Discussion We concluded that L-carnitine conjugated isovaleric acid earlier than glycine. Additionally, during the 10-year follow-up period, the patient displayed no clinical deterioration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-5
Number of pages4
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 1


  • Glycine
  • Isovaleric acidemia
  • Isovalerylcarnitine
  • Isovalerylglycine
  • L-carnitine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology


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