L-Carnitine supplementation decreases DNA damage in treated MSUD patients.Mutat Res. 2015 May; 775:43-7.MR
Maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) is an inherited disorder caused by severe deficient activity of the branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase complex involved in the degradation pathway of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and their α-ketoacid derivatives. MSUD patients generally present ketoacidosis, poor feeding, ataxia, coma, psychomotor delay, mental retardation and brain abnormalites. Treatment consists of dietary restriction of the BCAA (low protein intake) supplemented by a BCAA-free amino acid mixture. Although the mechanisms of brain damage in MSUD are poorly known, previous studies have shown that oxidative stress may be involved in the neuropathology of this disorder. In this regard, it was recently reported that MSUD patients have deficiency of l-carnitine (l-car), a compound with antioxidant properties that is used as adjuvant therapy in various inborn errors of metabolism. In this work, we investigated DNA damage determined by the alkaline comet assay in peripheral whole blood leukocytes of MSUD patients submitted to a BCAA-restricted diet supplemented or not with l-car. We observed a significant increase of DNA damage index (DI) in leukocytes from MSUD patients under BCAA-restricted diet as compared to controls and that l-car supplementation significantly decreased DNA DI levels. It was also found a positive correlation between DI and MDA content, a marker of lipid peroxidation, and an inverse correlation between DI and l-car levels. Taken together, our present results suggest a role for reactive species and the involvement of oxidative stress in DNA damage in this disorder. Since l-car reduced DNA damage, it is presumed that dietary supplementation of this compound may serve as an adjuvant therapeutic strategy for MSUD patients in addition to other therapies.