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1.  Aortic Stenosis and Vascular Calcifications in Alkaptonuria 
Molecular Genetics and Metabolism  2011;105(2):198-202.
Alkaptonuria is a rare metabolic disorder of tyrosine catabolism in which homogentisic acid (HGA) accumulates and is deposited throughout the spine, large joints, cardiovascular system, and various tissues throughout the body. In the cardiovascular system, pigment deposition has been described in the heart valves, endocardium, pericardium, aortic intima and coronary arteries. The prevalence of cardiovascular disease in patients with alkaptonuria varies in previous reports . We present a series of 76 consecutive adult patients with alkaptonuria who underwent transthoracic echocardiography between 2000 and 2009. A subgroup of 40 patients enrolled in a treatment study underwent non-contrast CT scans and these were assessed for vascular calcifications. Six of the 76 patients had aortic valve replacement. In the remaining 70 patients, 12 patients had aortic sclerosis and 7 patients had aortic stenosis. Unlike degenerative aortic valve disease, we found no correlation with standard cardiac risk factors. There was a modest association between the severity of aortic valve disease and joint involvement, however, we saw no correlation with urine HGA levels. Vascular calcifications were seen in the coronaries, cardiac valves, aortic root, descending aorta and iliac arteries. These findings suggest an important role for echocardiographic screening of alkaptonuria patients to detect valvular heart disease and cardiac CT to detect coronary artery calcifications.
doi:10.1016/j.ymgme.2011.10.017
PMCID: PMC3276068  PMID: 22100375
alkaptonuria; aortic stenosis; cardiovascular; calcification
2.  Neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by citrin deficiency: prevalence and SLC25A13 mutations among thai infants 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:141.
Background
The most common causes of cholestatic jaundice are biliary atresia and idiopathic neonatal hepatitis (INH). Specific disorders underlying INH, such as various infectious and metabolic causes, including neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by citrin deficiency (NICCD) especially, in East Asian populations are increasingly being identified. Since most NICCD infants recovered from liver disease by 1 year of age, they often are misdiagnosed with INH, leading to difficulty in determining the true prevalence of NICCD. Mutation(s) of human SLC25A13 gene encoding a mitochondrial aspartate/glutamate carrier isoform 2 (AGC2), can lead to AGC2 deficiency, resulting in NICCD and an adult-onset fatal disease namely citrullinemia type II (CTLN2). To study the prevalence of NICCD and SLC25A13 mutations in Thai infants, and to compare manifestations of NICCD and non-NICCD, infants with idiopathic cholestatic jaundice or INH were enrolled. Clinical and biochemical data were reviewed. Urine organic acid and plasma amino acids profiles were analyzed. PCR-sequencing of all 18 exons of SLC25A13 and gap PCR for the mutations IVS16ins3kb and Ex16+74_IVS17-32del516 were performed. mRNA were analyzed in selected cases with possible splicing error.
Results
Five out of 39 (12.8%) unrelated infants enrolled in the study were found to have NICCD, of which three had homozygous 851del4 (GTATdel) and two compound heterozygous 851del4/IVS16ins3kb and 851del4/1638ins23, respectively. Two missense mutations (p.M1? and p.R605Q) of unknown functional significance were identified. At the initial presentation, NICCD patients had higher levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and lower level of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) than those in non-NICCD patients (p< 0.05). NICCD patients showed higher citrulline level and threonine/serine ratio than non-NICCD infants (p< 0.05). Fatty liver was found in 2 NICCD patients. Jaundice resolved in all NICCD and in 87.5% of non-NICCD infants at the median age of 9.5 and 4.0 months, respectively.
Conclusion
NICCD should be considered in infants with idiopathic cholestasis. The preliminary estimated prevalence of NICCD was calculated to be 1/48,228 with carrier rate of 1/110 among Thai infants. However, this number may be underestimated and required further analysis with mutation screening in larger control population to establish the true prevalence of NICCD and AGC2 deficiency.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-141
PMCID: PMC3483206  PMID: 23067347
AGC2 deficiency; Cholestatic jaundice; Idiopathic neonatal hepatitis; Infantile cholestasis; NICCD; Prevalence
3.  A 3-year Randomized Therapeutic Trial of Nitisinone in Alkaptonuria 
Molecular genetics and metabolism  2011;103(4):307-314.
Alkaptonuria is a rare, autosomal recessive disorder of tyrosine degradation due to deficiency of the third enzyme in the catabolic pathway. As a result, homogentisic acid (HGA) accumulates and is excreted in gram quantities in the urine, which turns dark upon alkalization. The first symptoms, occurring in early adulthood, involve a painful, progressively debilitating arthritis of the spine and large joints. Cardiac valvular disease and renal and prostate stones occur later. Previously suggested therapies have failed to show benefit, and management remains symptomatic. Nitisinone, a potent inhibitor of the second enzyme in the tyrosine catabolic pathway, is considered a potential therapy; proof-of-principle studies showed 95% reduction in urinary HGA. Based on those findings, a prospective, randomized clinical trial was initiated in 2005 to evaluate 40 patients over a 36-month period. The primary outcome parameter was hip total range of motion with measures of musculoskeletal function serving as secondary parameters. Biochemically, this study consistently demonstrated 95% reduction of HGA in urine and plasma over the course of 3 years. Clinically, primary and secondary parameters did not prove benefit from the medication. Side effects were infrequent. This trial illustrates the remarkable tolerability of nitisinone, its biochemical efficacy, and the need to investigate its use in younger individuals prior to development of debilitating arthritis.
doi:10.1016/j.ymgme.2011.04.016
PMCID: PMC3148330  PMID: 21620748
Alkaptonuria; Ochronosis; Nitisinone; Homogentisic acid
4.  Mutation spectrum of homogentisic acid oxidase (HGD) in alkaptonuria 
Human mutation  2009;30(12):1611-1619.
Alkaptonuria (AKU) is a rare autosomal recessive metabolic disorder, characterized by accumulation of homogentisic acid, leading to darkened urine, pigmentation of connective tissue (ochronosis), joint and spine arthritis, and destruction of cardiac valves. AKU is due to mutations in the homogentisate dioxygenase gene, HGD, that converts homogentisic acid to maleylacetoacetic acid in the tyrosine catabolic pathway. Here we report a comprehensive mutation analysis of 93 patients enrolled in our study, as well as an extensive update of all previously published HGD mutations associated with AKU. Within our patient cohort, we identified 52 HGD variants, of which 22 were novel. This yields a total of 91 identified HGD variations associated with AKU to date, including 62 missense, 13 splice site, 10 frameshift, 5 nonsense and 1 no-stop mutation. Most HGD variants reside in exons 3, 6, 8 and 13. We assessed the potential effect of all missense variations on protein function, using 5 bioinformatic tools specifically designed for interpretation of missense variants (SIFT, POLYPHEN, PANTHER, PMUT and SNAP). We also analyzed the potential effect of splice site variants using two different tools (BDGP and NetGene2). This study provides valuable resources for molecular analysis of alkaptonuria and expands our knowledge of the molecular basis of this disease.
doi:10.1002/humu.21120
PMCID: PMC2830005  PMID: 19862842
Alkaptonuria; AKU; homogentisic acid; homogentisate dioxygenase; HGD; mutation analysis; missense variation; pathogenicity prediction

Results 1-4 (4)