Read about alcaptonuria medical facts: what is the definition of alcaptonuria, what are the signs and symptoms, medical treatment & how to treat alcaptonuria, information about the causes, diagnosis, and related alcaptonuria diseases.

Definition: What is "Alcaptonuria"?


Alcaptonuria is more commonly known as black urine disease, which is very rare genetic disease that can be passed on as an autosomal recessive trait. The particular gene that causes this disorder is unable to break down some proteins known as phenylalanine & tyrosine that may be toxic to the human body. This condition is harmful to the bones & body tissues.

Symptoms & Signs

Symptoms include skin pigmentations in body areas that are directly under sun exposure, brownish sweat & progressive & premature deterioration of the joints & bones. Pigmentation may also be deposited in the respiratory organs such as the bronchi, windpipe & larynx.

Treatment: How to Treat "Alcaptonuria"?

To date, there is no existing treatment of alcaptonuria, although ascorbic acid is usually prescribed to prevent pigment deposits. The degenerative joint symptoms are treated as osteoarthritis.


Alcaptonuria is caused by the mutation in the HGD gene. This particular gene produces an enzyme that helps break down amino acids into smaller molecule. Mutations prevent the production of this enzyme causing the buildup of homogentisic acid, which is also present in the patient's urine & causes it to turn black upon exposure to air.


Alcaptonuria is typically diagnosed when an individual starts to suffer progressive arthritis, predominantly in the spine, experience joint discomfort as well ass unexplained discoloration of the skin. This disorder affects a great number of organ systems in the body.

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