Clinical, biochemical and molecular characterization of 12 patients with pyruvate carboxylase deficiency treated with triheptanoin

M. Laura Duque Lasio, Angela C. Leshinski, Nicole H. Ducich, Leigh Anne Flore, April Lehman, Natasha Shur, Parul B. Jayakar, Bryan E. Hainline, Alice A. Basinger, William G. Wilson, George A. Diaz, Richard W. Erbe, Dwight D. Koeberl, Jerry Vockley, Jirair K. Bedoyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pyruvate carboxylase (PC) deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive mitochondrial neurometabolic disorder of energy deficit resulting in high morbidity and mortality, with limited therapeutic options. The PC homotetramer has a critical role in gluconeogenesis, anaplerosis, neurotransmitter synthesis, and lipogenesis. The main biochemical and clinical findings in PC deficiency (PCD) include lactic acidosis, ketonuria, failure to thrive, and neurological dysfunction. Use of the anaplerotic agent triheptanoin on a limited number of individuals with PCD has had mixed results. We expand on the potential utility of triheptanoin in PCD by examining the clinical, biochemical, molecular, and health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL) findings in a cohort of 12 individuals with PCD (eight with Type A and two each with Types B and C) treated with triheptanoin ranging for 6 days to about 7 years. The main endpoints were changes in blood lactate and HRQoL scores, but collection of useful data was limited to about half of subjects. An overall trend of lactate reduction with time on triheptanoin was noted, but with significant variability among subjects and only one subject reaching close to statistical significance for this endpoint. Parent reported HRQoL assessments with treatment showed mixed results, with some subjects showing no change, some improvement, and some worsening of overall scores. Subjects with buried amino acids in the pyruvate carboxyltransferase domain of PC that undergo destabilizing replacements may be more likely to respond (with lactate reduction or HRQoL improvement) to triheptanoin compared to those with replacements that disrupt tetramerization or subunit-subunit interface contacts. The reason for this difference is unclear and requires further validation. We observed significant variability but an overall trend of lactate reduction with time on triheptanoin and mixed parent reported outcome changes by HRQoL assessments for subjects with PCD on long-term triheptanoin. The mixed results noted with triheptanoin therapy in this study could be due to endpoint data limitation, variability of disease severity between subjects, limitation of the parent reported HRQoL tool, or subject genotype variability. Alternative designed trials and more study subjects with PCD will be needed to validate important observations from this work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107605
JournalMolecular genetics and metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023


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