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Clin Liver Dis. 2000 May;4(2):387-408, vi.

Liver injury in alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency.

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  • 1Departments of Pediatrics, Biology, and Physiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.


Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency is the most common genetic cause of liver disease in children. It is also associated with chronic liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, and pulmonary emphysema in adults. Liver injury is caused by hepatotoxic effects of retention of the mutant alpha 1-antitrypsin molecule within the endoplasmic reticulum of liver cells, and emphysema is caused by uninhibited proteolytic damage to elastic tissue in the lung parenchyma. Recent studies of the biochemistry and cell biology of the mutant alpha 1-antitrypsin molecule have led to advances in understanding susceptibility to liver injury and in developing new strategies for prevention of both liver and lung disease.

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