Turkish Archives of Pediatrics

Creatine Deficiency Disorders: Phenotypes, Genotypes, Diagnosis, and Treatment Outcomes


Department of Medical Genetics, University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Edmonton, Alberta


Neurosciences and Mental Health Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

Turk Arch Pediatr 2023; 58: 129-135
DOI: 10.5152/TurkArchPediatr.2023.23022
Read: 1148 Downloads: 405 Published: 01 March 2023

Creatine is synthetized from arginine and glycine. There are two enzymes in the synthesis: l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase and guanidinoacetate methyltransferase. After the synthesis, it is taken up by high-energy-requiring organs using creatine transporter. Biallelic pathogenic variants in GAMT result in guanidinoacetate methyltransferase deficiency and biallelic pathogenic variants in GATM result in l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase deficiency. Hemizygous pathogenic variant in males and heterozygous pathogenic variant in females in SLC6A8 result in creatine transporter deficiency. Patients with these disorders present with a wide range of symptoms, including developmental delay, seizures, movement disorder, behavioral problems, and hypotonia. The diagnosis can be suspected by elevated guanidinoacetate and low creatine levels in body fluids in guanidinoacetate methyltransferase deficiency, low guanidinoacetate and low creatine levels in body fluids in l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase deficiency, and elevated creatine-to-creatinine ratio in urine in creatine transporter deficiency in males as well as absent or significantly decreased creatine level in brain proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Genetic investigations such as targeted next-generation sequencing panel or exome sequencing can also identify these disorders; however, metabolite measurements and creatine in proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy are crucial to confirm the diagnosis. While all 3 disorders are currently treated with creatine supplementation, guanidinoacetate methyltransferase deficiency is also treated with ornithine supplementation and a protein- or arginine-restricted diet, and creatine transporter deficiency is treated with arginine and glycine supplementation (with no proven improvements).

Cite this article as: Mulik C, Mercimek-Andrews S. Creatine deficiency disorders: phenotypes, genotypes, diagnosis, and treatment outcomes. Turk Arch Pediatr. 2023;58(2):129-135.

EISSN 2757-6256