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Phenylketonuria (PKU), an autosomal-recessive inborn error of phenylalanine (Phe) metabolism is the most prevalent disorder of amino acid metabolism. Currently, clinical follow-up relies on frequent monitoring of Phe levels in blood. We hypothesize that the urine level of phenylacetylglutamine (PAG), a phenyl-group marker, could be used as a non-invasive biomarker. In this cross-sectional study, a validated liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS) method was used for urinary PAG quantification in 35 participants with hyperphenylalaninemia (HPA) and 33 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. We have found that (a) PKU patients present higher urine PAG levels than healthy control subjects, and that (b) there is a significant correlation between urine PAG and circulating Phe levels in patients with HPA. In addition, we show a significant strong correlation between Phe levels from venous blood samples and from capillary finger-prick dried blood spot (DBS) samples collected at the same time in patients with HPA. Further research in order to assess the potential role of urine PAG as a non-invasive biomarker in PKU is warranted.


Fernando Andrade, Ainara Cano, María Unceta Suarez, Arantza Arza, Ana Vinuesa, Leticia Ceberio, Nuria López-Oslé, Gorka de Frutos, Raquel López-Oceja, Elena Aznal, Domingo González-Lamuño, Javier de Las Heras. Urine Phenylacetylglutamine Determination in Patients with Hyperphenylalaninemia. Journal of clinical medicine. 2021 Aug 19;10(16)

PMID: 34441968

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