Isovaleric and α-Methylbutyric Acidemias Induced by Hypoglycin A: Mechanism of Jamaican Vomiting Sickness

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Science  07 Jan 1972:
Vol. 175, Issue 4017, pp. 69-71
DOI: 10.1126/science.175.4017.69


Hypoglycin A, the causative agent of the Jamaican vomiting sickness, produced a marked increase in concentration of isovaleric acid in the plasma of rats, when administered in a single dose. α-Methylbutyric acid, a position isomer, also accumulated. The use of hypoglycin A reproduced some features of human isovaleric acidemia. Accumulation of these branched pentanoic acids may be another factor contributing to the pathogenesis of the Jamaican vomiting sickness.