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Frequency and pathophysiology of acute liver failure in Ornithine Transcarbamylase Deficiency (OTCD)


Laemmle, Alexander; Gallagher, Renata C; Keogh, Adrian; Stricker, Tamar; Gautschi, Matthias; Nuoffer, Jean-Marc; Baumgartner, Matthias R; Häberle, Johannes (2016). Frequency and pathophysiology of acute liver failure in Ornithine Transcarbamylase Deficiency (OTCD). PLoS ONE, 11(4):e0153358.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Acute liver failure (ALF) has been reported in ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTCD) and other urea cycle disorders (UCD). The frequency of ALF in OTCD is not well-defined and the pathogenesis is not known.
AIM To evaluate the prevalence of ALF in OTCD, we analyzed the Swiss patient cohort. Laboratory data from 37 individuals, 27 females and 10 males, diagnosed between 12/1991 and 03/2015, were reviewed for evidence of ALF. In parallel, we performed cell culture studies using human primary hepatocytes from a single patient treated with ammonium chloride in order to investigate the inhibitory potential of ammonia on hepatic protein synthesis.
RESULTS More than 50% of Swiss patients with OTCD had liver involvement with ALF at least once in the course of disease. Elevated levels of ammonia often correlated with (laboratory) coagulopathy as reflected by increased values for international normalized ratio (INR) and low levels of hepatic coagulation factors which did not respond to vitamin K. In contrast, liver transaminases remained normal in several cases despite massive hyperammonemia and liver involvement as assessed by pathological INR values. In our in vitro studies, treatment of human primary hepatocytes with ammonium chloride for 48 hours resulted in a reduction of albumin synthesis and secretion by approximately 40%.
CONCLUSION In conclusion, ALF is a common complication of OTCD, which may not always lead to severe symptoms and may therefore be underdiagnosed. Cell culture experiments suggest an ammonia-induced inhibition of hepatic protein synthesis, thus providing a possible pathophysiological explanation for hyperammonemia-associated ALF.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Acute liver failure (ALF) has been reported in ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTCD) and other urea cycle disorders (UCD). The frequency of ALF in OTCD is not well-defined and the pathogenesis is not known.
AIM To evaluate the prevalence of ALF in OTCD, we analyzed the Swiss patient cohort. Laboratory data from 37 individuals, 27 females and 10 males, diagnosed between 12/1991 and 03/2015, were reviewed for evidence of ALF. In parallel, we performed cell culture studies using human primary hepatocytes from a single patient treated with ammonium chloride in order to investigate the inhibitory potential of ammonia on hepatic protein synthesis.
RESULTS More than 50% of Swiss patients with OTCD had liver involvement with ALF at least once in the course of disease. Elevated levels of ammonia often correlated with (laboratory) coagulopathy as reflected by increased values for international normalized ratio (INR) and low levels of hepatic coagulation factors which did not respond to vitamin K. In contrast, liver transaminases remained normal in several cases despite massive hyperammonemia and liver involvement as assessed by pathological INR values. In our in vitro studies, treatment of human primary hepatocytes with ammonium chloride for 48 hours resulted in a reduction of albumin synthesis and secretion by approximately 40%.
CONCLUSION In conclusion, ALF is a common complication of OTCD, which may not always lead to severe symptoms and may therefore be underdiagnosed. Cell culture experiments suggest an ammonia-induced inhibition of hepatic protein synthesis, thus providing a possible pathophysiological explanation for hyperammonemia-associated ALF.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:23 Jan 2017 14:06
Last Modified:04 Aug 2017 16:07
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0153358
PubMed ID:27070778

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Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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