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Zhongguo Dang Dai Er Ke Za Zhi. 2006 Apr;8(2):125-8.

[A difficult and complicated case study: neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by citrin deficiency].

[Article in Chinese]

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, First Affiliated Hospital, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China.


Neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by citrin deficiency (NICCD) is a kind of inborn errors of metabolism, with the main clinic manifestations of jaundice, hepatomegaly, and abnormal liver function indices. As a mitochondrial solute carrier protein, citrin plays important roles in aerobic glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, urea cycle, and protein and nucleotide syntheses. Therefore citrin deficiency causes various and complicated metabolic disturbances, such as hypoglycemia, hyperlactic acidemia, hyperammonemia, hypoproteinemia, hyperlipidemia, and galactosemia. This paper reported a case of NICCD confirmed by mutation analysis of SLC25A13, the gene encoding citrin. The baby (male, 6 months old) was referred to the First Affiliated Hospital with the complaint of jaundice of the skin and sclera, which it had suffered from for nearly 6 months. Physical examination showed obvious jaundice and a palpable liver 5 cm below the right subcostal margin. Liver function tests revealed elevated enzymatic activities, like GGT, ALP, AST, and ALT, together with increased levels of TBA, bilirubin (especially conjugated bilirubin), and decreased levels of total protein/albumin and fibrinogen. Blood levels of ammonia, lactate, cholesterol, and triglyceride were also increased, and in particular, the serum AFP level reached 319,225.70 microg/L, a extremely elevated value that has rarely been found in practice before. Tandem mass analysis of a dried blood sample revealed increased levels of free fatty acids and tyrosine, methionine, citrulline, and threonine as well. UP-GC-MS analysis of the urine sample showed elevated galactose and galactitol. The baby was thus diagnosed with suspected NICCD based on the findings. It was then treated with oral arginine and multiple vitamins (including fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K), and was fed with lactose-free and medium-chain fatty acids enriched formula instead of breast feeding. After half a month of treatment, the jaundice disappeared, and the laboratory findings, including liver function indices, blood levels of ammonia, lactate and AFP, were returned to normal level. The baby was followed up for 6 months. It developed well, and the abnormal laboratory findings, including MS-MS and UP-GC-MS analysis results, have been corrected, except a slightly elevated lactate level sometimes. SLC25A13 gene mutation analysis for the patient revealed a compound heterozygote of mutation 851del4 and 1638ins23 and therefore NICCD was definitely diagnosed.

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