Glossary of Medical Terms

Our online medical glossary of medical terms and definitions includes definitions for terms related to treatment, and general medicine

FISH-ODOUR SYNDROME

An inborn error of metabolism associated with an offensive body odour, the scent of rotting fish, due to the overweening excretion of trimethylaminuria (TMA) in urine, sweat, and breath. Persons with TMA may experience tachycardia (fast heart rate) and severe hypertension (high blood pressure) after eating cheese (which contains tyramine) and after using nasal sprays containing epinephrine. TMA is caused by a mutation (change) in the gene for an enzyme, flavin-containing monooxygenase-3 (FMO3) encoded by a gene on chromosome 1. The FMO3 enzyme metabolises tyramine (which is in cheese). The syndrome is associated with different psychosocial reactions, including social isolation, clinical depression and attempted suicide.
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