Essential fructosuria, caused by a lack of the enzyme hepatic fructokinase, is a clinically benign disorder defined by the inadequate metabolism of fructose in the liver, leading to its excretion in urine. Fructokinase (also known as ketohexokinase) is the first enzyme in the liver that converts fructose to fructose-1-phosphate. Fructose is either eliminated unchanged in the urine or converted to fructose-6-phosphate by other pathways in the body, most commonly through hexokinase in adipose tissue and muscle, resulting in minimal clinical signs.
Essential fructosuria is a genetic disorder that is passed down through the generations in an autosomal recessive pattern and hence, is also referred to as Hereditary Fructosuria.
Essential Fructosuria Symptoms
A positive routine test for lowering sugars in the urine is usually used to diagnose essential fructosuria. Because a positive test for reducing sugars is most typically a result of glucosuria owing to diabetes mellitus, an additional test with glucose oxidase must be performed (with a negative result suggesting essential fructosuria). The amount of fructose excreted in the urine is not constant, and it is mostly determined by food intake.
Essential Fructosuria Treatment
Essential fructosuria requires no therapy, and while the severity of the condition is determined by dietary fructose intake, it has no clinical signs. The amount of fructose lost in urine is insignificant. Other fructose metabolism problems are more clinically significant. A lack of aldolase B, the second enzyme involved in fructose metabolism, causes hereditary fructose intolerance, or the presence of fructose in the blood (fructosemia). This enzyme deficit leads to a buildup of fructose-1-phosphate, which slows glucose synthesis and reduces adenosine triphosphate regeneration. Patients with inherited fructose intolerance are far more severely impacted clinically than those with essential fructosuria, with increased uric acid, growth anomalies, and, if left untreated, unconsciousness.
Other Diseases Associated with Fructosemia
1. Hereditary Fructose Intolerance
Hereditary fructose intolerance is caused by a lack of the enzyme aldolase B, which causes an inborn mistake in fructose metabolism. Until they consume fructose, sucrose, or sorbitol, people with HFI are asymptomatic. When fructose is consumed, the enzymatic block at aldolase B results in an accumulation of fructose-1-phosphate, which eventually kills liver cells. This buildup has an impact on gluconeogenesis and adenosine triphosphate regeneration (ATP).
Vomiting, convulsions, irritability, poor feeding as an infant, hypoglycemia, jaundice, bleeding, hepatomegaly, hyperuricemia, and perhaps renal failure are all symptoms of HFI. While HFI is not a life-threatening illness, the metabolic implications of HFI have been linked to mortality in newborns and children. In HFI, death is invariably linked to diagnostic issues.
The severity of the symptoms and the stage of the disease determine how HFI is treated. Dietary planning that avoids fructose and its metabolic precursors are used to treat stable individuals without acute intoxication events. Glucose, maltose, and other sugars are used to substitute fructose in the diet. Dietitians who have a solid understanding of what meals are suitable are frequently involved in the treatment of patients with HFI.
2. Hereditary Fructose-1,6-Bisphosphatase Deficiency (HFBP)
In fructose bisphosphatase insufficiency, there is insufficient fructose bisphosphatase for proper gluconeogenesis. Glycolysis (the breakdown of glucose) will continue to function because this enzyme is not required.
The diagnosis is made by measuring FDPase in cultured cells and then looking for a mutation in FBP1, the gene that codes for FDPase.
People with this enzyme impairment must not require gluconeogenesis to produce glucose in order to be treated. This can be accomplished by consuming high-carbohydrate foods and not fasting for long periods of time. They should avoid foods that contain fructose (as well as sucrose which breaks down to fructose).
There is always hope for genetic therapy, which involves putting a healthy copy of the gene into existing liver cells, as with all single-gene metabolic illnesses.