Twenty-three patients with late onset argininosuccinate lyase deficiency (ASLD) were identified during a 27-year period of newborn screening in Austria (1:95,600, 95% CI=1:68,036-1:162,531). One additional patient was identified outside the newborn screening with neonatal hyperammonemia. Long-term outcome data were available in 17 patients (median age 13 years) ascertained by newborn screening. Patients were treated with protein restricted diet and oral arginine supplementation during infancy and childhood. IQ was average/above average in 11 (65%), low average in 5 (29%), and in the mild intellectual disability range in 1 (6%) patients. Four patients had an abnormal EEG without evidence of clinical seizures and three had abnormal liver function tests and/or evidence of hepatic steatosis. Plasma citrulline levels were elevated in four patients. Plasma ammonia levels were within normal range prior and after a protein load in all patients. Seven different mutations were identified in the 16 alleles investigated. Four mutations were novel (p.E189G, p.R168C, p.R126P, and p.D423H). All mutations were associated with low argininosuccinate lyase activities (0-15%) in red blood cells. Newborn screening might be beneficial in the prevention of chronic neurologic and intellectual sequelae in late onset ASLD, but a proportion of benign variants might have contributed to the overall favorable outcome as well.
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