Tyrosinemia: a review

Pediatr Dev Pathol. May-Jun 2001;4(3):212-21. doi: 10.1007/s100240010146.


Hypertyrosinemia encompasses several entities, of which tyrosinemia type I (or hepatorenal tyrosinemia, HT1) results in the most extensive clinical and pathological manifestations involving mainly the liver, kidney, and peripheral nerves. The clinical findings range from a severe hepatopathy of early infancy to chronic liver disease and rickets in the older child; gradual refinements in the diagnosis and medical management of this disorder have greatly altered its natural course, mirroring recent advances in the field of metabolic diseases in the past quarter century. Hepatorenal tyrosinemia is the inborn error with the highest incidence of progression to hepatocellular carcinoma, likely due to profound mutagenic effects and influences on the cell cycle by accumulated metabolites. The appropriate follow-up of patients with cirrhosis, the proper timing of liver transplantation in the prevention of carcinoma, and the long-term evolution of chronic renal disease remain important unresolved issues. The introduction of a new pharmacologic agent, NTBC, holds the hope of significantly alleviating some of the burdens of this disease. Mouse models of this disease have permitted the exploration of newer treatment modalities, such as gene therapy by viral vectors, including ex vivo and in utero methods. Finally, recent observations on spontaneous genetic reversion of the mutation in HT1 livers challenge conventional concepts in human genetics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Liver / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • Tyrosinemias* / complications
  • Tyrosinemias* / enzymology
  • Tyrosinemias* / genetics
  • Tyrosinemias* / pathology
  • Tyrosinemias* / therapy