Citrin deficiency develops in different symptomatic periods from the neonatal period to adulthood. Some infantile patients are diagnosed by newborn mass screening or symptoms of neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by citrin deficiency, some patients in childhood may develop hepatopathy or dyslipidemia as failure to thrive and dyslipidemia caused by citrin deficiency, and some adults are diagnosed after developing adult-onset type 2 citrullinemia (CTLN2) with hyperammonemia or encephalopathy. A diagnosis is needed before the development of severe phenotypic CTLN2 but is often difficult to obtain because newborn mass screening cannot detect all patients with citrin deficiency, and undiagnosed patients often appear healthy in childhood. There are only a few reports that have described patients in childhood. To explore the clinical features of undiagnosed patients with citrin deficiency in childhood, we studied 20 patients who were diagnosed after the first year of life. Of these patients, 45% experienced hypoglycemic attacks in childhood. The acetoacetic acid level during hypoglycemic attacks was lower than expected. Growth failure at diagnosis (45%) was also noted. From the patients' history, fat- and protein-rich food preferences (80%), a low birth weight (70%), and prolonged jaundice or infantile hepatopathy (40%) were identified. To diagnose citrin deficiency in childhood, we should ask about food preferences and a history of infantile hepatopathy for all children with severe hypoglycemia or growth failure and consider the genetic test for citrin deficiency if the patient has characteristic food preferences or a history of infantile hepatopathy.
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