Current treatment for citrin deficiency during NICCD and adaptation/compensation stages: Strategy to prevent CTLN2

Yoshiyuki Okano, Toshihiro Ohura, Osamu Sakamoto, Ayano Inui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Identification of the genes responsible for adult-onset type II citrullinemia (CTLN2) and citrin protein function have enhanced our understanding of citrin deficiency. Citrin deficiency is characterized by 1) neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by citrin deficiency (NICCD); 2) adaptation/compensation stage with unique food preference from childhood to adulthood; and 3) CTLN2. The treatment of NICCD aims to prevent the progression of cholestasis, and it includes medium chain triglycerides (MCT) milk and lactose-free milk, in addition to medications (e.g., vitamin K2, lipid-soluble vitamins and ursodeoxycholic acid). Spontaneous remission around the age of one is common in NICCD, though prolonged cholestasis can lead to irreversible liver failure and may require liver transplantation. The adaptation/compensation stage (after one year of age) is characterized by the various signs and symptoms such as hypoglycemia, fatty liver, easy fatigability, weight loss, and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Some poorly-controlled patients show failure to thrive and dyslipidemia caused by citrin deficiency (FTTDCD). Diet therapy is the key in the adaptation/compensation stage. Protein- and fat-rich diet with a protein: fat: carbohydrate ratio being 15–25%: 40–50%: 30–40% along with the appropriate energy intake is recommended. The use of MCT oil and sodium pyruvate is also effective. The toxicity of carbohydrate is well known in the progression to CTLN2 if the consumption is over a long term or intense. Alcohol can also trigger CTLN2. Continuous intravenous hyperalimentation with high glucose concentration needs to be avoided. Administration of Glyceol® (an osmotic agent containing glycerol and fructose) is contraindicated. Because the intense treatment such as liver transplantation may become necessary to cure CTLN2, the effective preventative treatment during the adaptation/compensation stage is very important. At present, there is no report of a case with patients reported having the onset of CTLN2 who are on the diet therapy and under the appropriate medical support during the adaptation/compensation stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul
Externally publishedYes


  • CTLN2
  • Carbohydrate toxicity
  • Cholestasis
  • Citrin
  • Citrullinemia
  • Diet therapy
  • SLC25A13

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology


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