Biochemical phenotyping unravels novel metabolic abnormalities and potential biomarkers associated with treatment of GLUT1 deficiency with ketogenic diet

Gerarda Cappuccio, Michele Pinelli, Marianna Alagia, Taraka Donti, Debra-Lynn Day-Salvatore, Pierangelo Veggiotti, Valentina De Giorgis, Simona Lunghi, Maria Stella Vari, Pasquale Striano, Nicola Brunetti-Pierri, Adam D Kennedy, Sarah H Elsea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Global metabolomic profiling offers novel opportunities for the discovery of biomarkers and for the elucidation of pathogenic mechanisms that might lead to the development of novel therapies. GLUT1 deficiency syndrome (GLUT1-DS) is an inborn error of metabolism due to reduced function of glucose transporter type 1. Clinical presentation of GLUT1-DS is heterogeneous and the disorder mirrors patients with epilepsy, movement disorders, or any paroxysmal events or unexplained neurological manifestation triggered by exercise or fasting. The diagnostic biochemical hallmark of the disease is a reduced cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)/blood glucose ratio and the only available treatment is ketogenic diet. This study aimed at advancing our understanding of the biochemical perturbations in GLUT1-DS pathogenesis through biochemical phenotyping and the treatment of GLUT1-DS with a ketogenic diet. Metabolomic analysis of three CSF samples from GLUT1-DS patients not on ketogenic diet was feasible inasmuch as CSF sampling was used for diagnosis before to start with ketogenic diet. The analysis of plasma and urine samples obtained from GLUT1-DS patients treated with a ketogenic diet showed alterations in lipid and amino acid profiles. While subtle, these were consistent findings across the patients with GLUT1-DS on ketogenic diet, suggesting impacts on mitochondrial physiology. Moreover, low levels of free carnitine were present suggesting its consumption in GLUT1-DS on ketogenic diet. 3-hydroxybutyrate, 3-hydroxybutyrylcarnitine, 3-methyladipate, and N-acetylglycine were identified as potential biomarkers of GLUT1-DS on ketogenic diet. This is the first study to identify CSF, plasma, and urine metabolites associated with GLUT1-DS, as well as biochemical changes impacted by a ketogenic diet. Potential biomarkers and metabolic insights deserve further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0184022
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Biomarkers
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism, Inborn Errors
  • Diet, Ketogenic
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fatty Acids
  • Humans
  • Metabolomics
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Phenotype
  • Journal Article


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