Long-term correction of urea cycle disorders

J Pediatr. 2001 Jan;138(1 Suppl):S62-71. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2001.111838.


Long-term correction of urea cycle disorders is achieved by correction of the enzymatic defect in hepatocytes. Currently, orthotopic liver transplantation is the primary means of achieving this correction. In the United States most liver transplantations for urea cycle disorders have been restricted to patients with ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency and argininosuccinic aciduria. However, patients with citrullinemia have also received transplants, but more so in Europe and Japan. Recent advances in organ procurement, surgical technique, and immunosuppression have significantly decreased morbidity and mortality. However, unique short-term complications associated with surgery and long-term complications associated with chronic immunosuppression have spurred continued efforts to develop gene replacement therapies for management of acute metabolic decompensations as intercurrent therapy until liver transplantation, and ultimately, for long-term correction. The pathophysiology of urea cycle disorders requires gene vector delivery systems that are highly efficient for liver transduction and transgene expression. To date, adenoviral vectors are unique in fulfilling these criteria, and significant data have been gained in both animal and human studies with early versions of adenoviral vectors. Ultimately, the development of helper-dependent adenoviral vectors may offer the long-term expression and increased margin of safety necessary for adjunctive therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / physiopathology
  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / surgery
  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / therapy*
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Contraindications
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Urea / metabolism*


  • Urea