Biochemical, pathologic and behavioral analysis of a mouse model of glutaric acidemia type 1

David M. Koeller, Michael Woontner, Linda S. Crnic, Bette Kleinschmidt-Demasters, Janet Stephens, Edgar L. Hunt, Stephen I. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Glutaric acidemia type I (GA-I) is an autosomal recessive disorder of amino acid metabolism resulting from a deficiency of glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase (GCDH). Patients accumulate glutaric acid (GA) and 3-OH glutaric acid (3-OHGA) in their blood, urine and CSF. Clinically, GA-I is characterized by macrocephaly, progressive dystonia and dyskinesia. Degeneration of the caudate and putamen of the basal ganglia, widening of the Sylvian fissures, fronto-temporal atrophy and severe spongiform change in the white matter are also commonly observed. In this report we describe the phenotype of a mouse model of GA-I generated via targeted deletion of the Gcdh gene in embryonic stem cells. The Gcdh-/- mice have a biochemical phenotype very similar to human GA-I patients, including elevations of GA and 3-OHGA at levels similar to those seen in GA-I patients. The affected mice have a mild motor deficit but do not develop the progressive dystonia seen in human patients. Pathologically, the Gcdh-/- mice have a diffuse spongiform myelinopathy similar to that seen in GA-I patients. However, unlike in human patients, there is no evidence of neuron loss or astrogliosis in the striatum. Subjecting the Gcdh-/- mice to a metabolic stress, which often precipitates an encephalopathic crisis and the development of dystonia in GA-I patients, failed to have any neurologic effect on the mice. We hypothesize that the lack of similarity in regards to the neurologic phenotype and striatal pathology of GA-I patients, as compared with the Gcdh-/- mice, is due to intrinsic differences between the striata of mice and men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-357
Number of pages11
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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