Millucci L, Bernardini G, Spreafico A et al.
Dipartimento di Biotecnologie, Chimica e Farmacia, Università degli Studi di Siena, Via Aldo Moro 2, 53100, Siena, Italy.
Calcified tissue international. Mar 2017.
Alkaptonuria (AKU) is a hereditary disorder that results from altered structure and function of homogentisate 1,2 dioxygenase (HGD). This enzyme, predominantly produced by liver and kidney, is responsible for the breakdown of homogentisic acid (HGA), an intermediate in the tyrosine degradation pathway. A deficient HGD activity causes HGA levels to rise systemically. The disease is clinically characterized by homogentisic aciduria, bluish-black discoloration of connective tissues (ochronosis) and joint arthropathy. Additional manifestations are cardiovascular abnormalities, renal, urethral and prostate calculi and scleral and ear involvement. While the radiological aspect of ochronotic spondyloarthropathy is known, there are only few data regarding an exhaustive ultrastructural and histologic study of different tissues in AKU. Moreover, an in-depth analysis of tissues from patients of different ages, having varied symptoms, is currently lacking. A complete microscopic and ultrastructural analysis of different AKU tissues, coming from six differently aged patients, is here presented thus significantly contributing to a more comprehensive knowledge of this ultra-rare pathology.