|Inborn error of metabolism|
Classification and external resources|
Inborn errors of metabolism comprise a large class of genetic diseases involving disorders of metabolism. The majority are due to defects of single genes that code for enzymes that facilitate conversion of various substances (substrates) into others (products). In most of the disorders, problems arise due to accumulation of substances which are toxic or interfere with normal function, or to the effects of reduced ability to synthesize essential compounds. Inborn errors of metabolism are now often referred to as congenital metabolic diseases or inherited metabolic diseases.
The term inborn error of metabolism was coined by a British physician, Inborn Errors of Metabolism was published in 1923.
Major categories of inherited metabolic diseases
Traditionally the inherited metabolic diseases were categorized as disorders of carbohydrate metabolism, amino acid metabolism, organic acid metabolism, or lysosomal storage diseases. In recent decades, hundreds of new inherited disorders of metabolism have been discovered and the categories have proliferated. Following are some of the major classes of congenital metabolic diseases, with prominent examples of each class. Many others do not fall into these categories. ICD-10 codes are provided where available.
In a study in British Columbia, the overall incidence of the inborn errors of metabolism were estimated to be 70 per 100,000 live births or 1 in 1,400 births, overall representing more than approximately 15% of single gene disorders in the population.
Manifestations and presentations
Because of the enormous number of these diseases and wide range of systems affected, nearly every "presenting complaint" to a doctor may have a congenital metabolic disease as a possible cause, especially in childhood. The following are examples of potential manifestations affecting each of the major organ systems: many manifestations may develop
- Growth failure, failure to thrive, weight loss
- Ambiguous genitalia, delayed puberty, precocious puberty
- Developmental delay, seizures, dementia, encephalopathy, stroke
- Deafness, blindness, pain agnosia
- Skin rash, abnormal pigmentation, lack of pigmentation, excessive hair growth, lumps and bumps
- Dental abnormalities
- Immunodeficiency, thrombocytopenia, anemia, enlarged spleen, enlarged lymph nodes
- Many forms of cancer
- Recurrent vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
- Excessive urination, renal failure, dehydration, edema
- Hypotension, heart failure, enlarged heart, hypertension, myocardial infarction
- Hepatomegaly, jaundice, liver failure
- Unusual facial features, congenital malformations
- Excessive breathing (hyperventilation), respiratory failure
- Abnormal behavior, depression, psychosis
- Joint pain, muscle weakness, cramps
- Hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, hypogonadism, diabetes mellitus
Dozens of congenital metabolic diseases are now detectable by newborn screening tests, especially the expanded testing using mass spectrometry. This is an increasingly common way for the diagnosis to be made and sometimes results in earlier treatment and a better outcome. There is a revolutionary GC/MS based technology with an integrated analytics system, which has now made it possible to test a newborn for over 100 genetic metabolic disorders.
Because of the multiplicity of conditions, many different diagnostic tests are used for screening. An abnormal result is often followed by a subsequent "definitive test" to confirm the suspected diagnosis.
Common screening tests used in the last sixty years:
Specific diagnostic tests (or focused screening for a small set of disorders):
In the middle of the 20th century the principal treatment for some of the amino acid disorders was restriction of dietary protein and all other care was simply management of complications. In the past twenty years, enzyme replacement, gene transfer, and organ transplantation have become available and beneficial for many previously untreatable disorders. Some of the more common or promising therapies are listed:
- Dietary restriction
- E.g., reduction of dietary protein remains a mainstay of treatment for phenylketonuria and other amino acid disorders
- Dietary supplementation or replacement
- Intermediary metabolites, compounds, or drugs that facilitate or retard specific metabolic pathways
- Enzyme replacement E.g. Acid-alpha glucosidase for Pompe disease
- Gene transfer
- Bone marrow or organ transplantation
- Treatment of symptoms and complications
- Prenatal diagnosis and avoidance of pregnancy or abortion of an affected fetus
For clinicians and scientists in the field of inborn errors of metabolism, good resources include books by Scriver,).
For patients, their families or other individuals seeking good information and support groups, the genetic education center at the KUMC has many more useful links.
|Hexose → glucose|
|Glucose ⇄ glycogen|
|Glucose ⇄ CAC|
|Pentose phosphate pathway|
of amino acid metabolism
IE of RTT
hepatic and erythropoietic
of purine-pyrimidine metabolism