Molecular and clinical characterization of citrin deficiency in a cohort of Chinese patients in Hong Kong

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Background and objectives: This retrospective study analysed a case series of subjects with citrin deficiency, and aims to present the molecular and clinical characterization of this disease in the Hong Kong Chinese population for the first time. Patients and Methods: Data from medical records of eighteen patients with citrin deficiency (years 2006–2015) were retrieved. Demographic data, biochemical parameters, radiological results, genetic testing results, management, and clinical outcome were collected and analysed. Results: Eighteen patients with diagnosis of citrin deficiency were recruited. All 18 patients carried at least one common pathogenic variant c.852_855delTATG in SLC25A13. Prolonged jaundice (neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by citrin deficiency, NICCD) was the most common presenting symptom, in conjunction with elevated plasma citrulline, threonine, alkaline phosphatase, and alpha-fetoprotein levels. The abnormal biochemical parameters including liver derangement returned to normal range in most of the cases by 6 months of age after the introduction of a lactose-free formula. There were a few cases with atypical presentations. Two subjects did not present with NICCD, and were subsequently diagnosed later in life after their siblings presented with symptoms of citrin deficiency at one month of age and subsequently received a molecular diagnosis. One patient with citrin deficiency also exhibited multiple liver hemangioendotheliomas, which subsided gradually after introduction of a lactose-free formula. Only one patient from this cohort was offered expanded metabolic screening at birth. She was not ascertained by conducted newborn screening and was diagnosed upon presentation with cholestatic jaundice by 1 month of age. Conclusion: This is the first report of the clinical and molecular characterization of a large cohort of patients with citrin deficiency in Hong Kong. The presentation of this cohort of patients expands the clinical phenotypic spectrum of NICCD. Benign liver tumors such as hemangioendotheliomas may be associated with citrin deficiency in addition to the well-known association with hepatocellular carcinoma. Citrin deficiency may manifest in later infancy period with an NICCD-like phenotype. Furthermore, this condition is not always ascertained by expanded newborn metabolic screening testing.




Chong, S. C., Lo, P., Chow, C. W., Yuen, L., Chu, W. C. W., Leung, T. Y., … Scaglia, F. (2018). Molecular and clinical characterization of citrin deficiency in a cohort of Chinese patients in Hong Kong. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports, 17, 3–8.

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