Allopurinol-induced orotidinuria. A test for mutations at the ornithine carbamoyltransferase locus in women.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Ornithine carbamoyltransferase is an X-linked mitochondrial enzyme expressed in hepatocytes and enterocytes. A deficiency of this enzyme results in central nervous system dysfunction, which may be fatal in newborn boys. Milder forms are seen in older boys and girls and in adults. Establishing the carrier status of women at risk for ornithine carbamoyltransferase deficiency is important for determining reproductive and medical risks for affected women. We report a test to establish the carrier status of women at risk for ornithine carbamoyltransferase deficiency. This test relies on the allopurinol-induced accumulation of orotidine, whose synthesis is stimulated by carbamoyl phosphate, a substrate that accumulates in ornithine carbamoyltransferase deficiency. We used anion-exchange, high-performance liquid chromatography to measure urinary orotidine and orotic acid excretion after the administration of a 300-mg oral dose of allopurinol in 25 [corrected] women who were obligate heterozygotes, 13 who were probable heterozygotes, 15 mothers of affected boys from monoplex families (families with only one affected member), 12 mothers of affected girls from monoplex families, and 21 [corrected] normal, unrelated women who were not carriers. Urinary orotidine excretion was increased 3 SD or more above the mean value for the normal women in 95.8 percent of the obligate heterozygotes, 84.6 percent of the probable heterozygotes, 73.3 percent of the mothers of affected boys in monoplex families, and 33.3 percent of the mothers of affected girls in monoplex families, thus establishing that these women were carriers of a mutant ornithine carbamoyltransferase allele. The presence of allopurinol-induced orotic aciduria was not as sensitive or specific an indicator of carrier status as the presence of orotidinuria. We conclude that measurement of urinary orotidine excretion after the administration of allopurinol is a simple and reliable test for the identification of women who are heterozygous for ornithine carbamoyltransferase deficiency.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hauser, ER; Finkelstein, JE; Valle, D; Brusilow, SW

Published Date

  • June 7, 1990

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 322 / 23

Start / End Page

  • 1641 - 1645

PubMed ID

  • 2342523

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0028-4793

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1056/NEJM199006073222305


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States