Liver transplantation for inherited metabolic disorders of the liver

Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2010 Jun;15(3):269-76. doi: 10.1097/MOT.0b013e3283399dbd.


Purpose of review: Liver transplantation is curative, life saving or both for a range of inherited diseases affecting the liver. Indications, timing and outcome of transplantation for these diseases are the focus of this review.

Recent findings: Liver transplant represents a mode of gene replacement therapy for several disorders, including Wilson disease, hemochromatosis, tyrosinemia, urea cycle defects and hypercholesterolemia in which the primary defect residing in the liver results in hepatic complications or severe extrahepatic disease. Liver transplant is also an important therapeutic modality in multisystemic genetic disorders with major hepatic disease such as glycogen storage disease types I, III and IV and porphyria. For familial amyloidosis and primary hyperoxaluria, liver replacement eliminates the source of the injurious products that results in extrahepatic disease. Innovations in medical and surgical management of these patients have led to improved outcomes providing an important benchmark for future gene therapy of these disorders.

Summary: Recent developments have refined the indications for liver transplant in the treatment of inherited metabolic diseases. The full potential of liver transplant in these disorders can be harnessed by careful patient selection, optimizing timing and perioperative metabolic management of these patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyloidosis, Familial / surgery
  • Glycogen Storage Disease / surgery
  • Hemochromatosis / surgery
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / surgery
  • Hyperoxaluria, Primary / surgery
  • Liver Diseases / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / surgery*
  • Patient Selection
  • Porphyrias / surgery
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome