About fructosuria

What is fructosuria?

Fructosuria is a rare but benign inherited metabolic disorder. It is characterized by the excretion of fruit sugar (fructose) in the urine. Normally, no fructose is excreted in the urine. This condition is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme fructokinase in the liver. This enzyme is needed for the synthesis of glycogen (the body's form of stored energy) from fructose. The presence of fructose in the blood and urine may lead to an incorrect diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.

What are the causes for fructosuria?

Essential pentosuria is caused by mutations in the DCXR gene. This gene provides instructions for making a protein called dicarbonyl and L-xylulose reductase (DCXR), which plays multiple roles in the body. One of its functions is to perform a chemical reaction that converts a sugar called L-xylulose to a molecule called xylitol. This reaction is one step in a process by which the body can use sugars for energy.

DCXR gene mutations lead to the production of altered DCXR proteins that are quickly broken down. Without this protein, L-xylulose is not converted to xylitol, and the excess sugar is released in the urine.

While essential pentosuria is caused by genetic mutations, some people develop a non-inherited form of pentosuria if they eat excessive amounts of fruits high in L-xylulose or another pentose called L-arabinose. This form of the condition, which disappears if the diet is changed, is referred to as alimentary pentosuria. Studies show that some drugs can also cause a form of temporary pentosuria called drug-induced pentosuria. These non-inherited forms of the condition also do not cause any health problems.

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