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J Inherit Metab Dis. 1994;17(6):691-703.

Decreased hyperammonaemia and orotic aciduria due to inactivation of ornithine aminotransferase in mice with a hereditary abnormal ornithine carbamoyltransferase.

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Marion Merrell Dow Research Institute, Strasbourg, France.


Mice with the X-chromosomal sparse-fur (spf) mutation are an animal model of some hereditary deficiencies of ornithine carbamoyltransferase (OCT) in man. Orotic aciduria and hyperammonaemia are the most conspicuous metabolic changes in these diseases. Selective inactivation of ornithine aminotransferase (OAT) by 5-fluoromethylornithine raises endogenous ornithine concentrations so that citrulline formation is effectively catalysed by the aberrant OCT, in spite of its low affinity for ornithine. As a consequence, blood and tissue ammonia concentrations and orotic acid excretion are reduced near to normal values, and the abnormal amino acid patterns in blood, brain and liver are normalized. Selective inactivation of OAT seems a promising therapeutic approach in some hereditary OCT deficiencies, and a total that may allow us to clarify the role of ammonia and orotic acid in the development of nanism and abnormal behaviour in spf mutant mice.

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