A five-carbon sugar alcohol derived from XYLOSE by reduction of the carbonyl group. It is as sweet as sucrose and used as a noncariogenic sweetener. D-Arabitol is a polyol. Polyols are sugar alcohols linked to the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). They are classified on the basis of the number of carbon atoms. Polyols occur in body fluids. A patient with leukoencephalopathy and peripheral neuropathy has been identified as suffering from ribose-5-phosphate isomerase (RPI) deficiency, a defect in the PPP. In this disorder, highly elevated concentrations of the C5 polyols such as D-arabitol are found in body fluids. In addition, transaldolase deficiency, another defect in the PPP, has been diagnosed in a patient with mainly liver problems among others had increased concentrations of polyols, mainly D-arabitol. So far, the pathophysiological role of polyols is relatively unknown. It is thought that D-arabitol is a metabolic end-product in humans. The strong brain-CSF-plasma gradient of polyols in the patient with RPI deficiency suggested a primary metabolic disorder. The mechanisms of brain and neuronal damage in RPI deficiency remain to be elucidated. A neurotoxic effect due to accumulation of the polyols may play a role. D-Arabitol is a product of the enzyme D-arabinitol 4-dehydrogenase (EC in the Pentose and glucuronate interconversion pathway. (PMID: 16435225, J Inherit Metab Dis. 2005;28(6):1181-3)

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