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J Inherit Metab Dis. 2014 Sep;37(5):687-98. doi: 10.1007/s10545-014-9742-3. Epub 2014 Jul 17.

Inborn errors of pyrimidine metabolism: clinical update and therapy.

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Metabolic Unit, Princess Margaret Hospital, Roberts Road, Subiaco, Perth, WA, 6008, Australia.


Inborn errors involving enzymes essential for pyrimidine nucleotide metabolism have provided new insights into their fundamental physiological roles as vital constituents of nucleic acids as well as substrates of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism and in oxidative phosphorylation. Genetic aberrations of pyrimidine pathways lead to diverse clinical manifestations including neurological, immunological, haematological, renal impairments, adverse reactions to analogue therapy and association with malignancies. Maintenance of cellular nucleotides depends on the three aspects of metabolism of pyrimidines: de novo synthesis, catabolism and recycling of these metabolites. Of the ten recognised disorders of pyrimidine metabolism treatment is currently restricted to only two disorders: hereditary orotic aciduria (oral uridine therapy) and mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE; allogeneic hematopoetic stem cell transplant and enzyme replacement). The ubiquitous role that pyrimidine metabolism plays in human life highlights the importance of improving diagnostic evaluation in suggestive clinical settings, which will contribute to the elucidation of new defects, future development of novel drugs and therapeutic strategies. Limited awareness of the expanding phenotypic spectrum, with relatively recent descriptions of newer disorders, compounded by considerable genetic heterogeneity has often contributed to the delays in the diagnosis of this group of disorders. The lack of an easily recognisable, easily measurable end product, akin to uric acid in purine metabolism, has contributed to the under-recognition of these disorders.This review describes the currently known inborn errors of pyrimidine metabolism, their variable phenotypic presentations, established diagnostic methodology and recognised treatment options.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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