Background: There is increasing evidence that long-term complications in organic acidemias are caused by impaired mitochondrial metabolism. Currently, there is no specific biomarker to monitor mitochondrial dysfunction in organic acidemias. Serum fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF-21) is a biomarker for mitochondrial disease and could be a candidate to monitor mitochondrial function in the deleterious course of disease. Methods: Data of 17 patients with classical organic acidemias (11 propionic acidemia (PA), four methylmalonic acidemia (MMA) and two isovaleric acidemia (IVA) patients) were included. The clinical course was evaluated; metabolic decompensations and long-term complications were correlated with plasma FGF-21 levels. Cardiomyopathy, prolonged QT interval, renal failure, and optic neuropathy were defined as long-term complications. Results: Patients ages ranged from 16 months up to 32 years. Serious long-term complications occurred in eight patients (five PA and three MMA patients). In MMA and PA patients plasma FGF-21 levels during stable metabolic periods were significantly higher in patients with long-term complications (Mdn = 2556.0 pg/ml) compared to patients without (Mdn = 287.0 pg/ml). A median plasma FGF-21 level above 1500 pg/ml during a stable metabolic period, measured before the occurrence of long-term complications, had a positive predictive value of 0.83 and a negative predictive value of 1.00 on long-term complications in MMA and PA patients. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the potential role of FGF-21 as a biomarker for long-term complications in classical organic acidemias, attributed to mitochondrial dysfunction.

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Journal Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease
Molema, F. (F.), Jacobs, E.H. (E. H.), Onkenhout, W, Schoonderwoerd, G.C, Langendonk, J.G, & Williams, M. (Monique). (2018). Fibroblast growth factor 21 as a biomarker for long-term complications in organic acidemias. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease. doi:10.1007/s10545-018-0244-6