Improving long term outcomes in urea cycle disorders-report from the Urea Cycle Disorders Consortium

J Inherit Metab Dis. 2016 Jul;39(4):573-84. doi: 10.1007/s10545-016-9942-0. Epub 2016 May 23.


The Urea Cycle Disorders Consortium (UCDC) has conducted, beginning in 2006, a longitudinal study (LS) of eight enzyme deficiencies/transporter defects associated with the urea cycle. These include N-acetylglutamate synthase deficiency (NAGSD); Carbamyl phosphate synthetase 1 deficiency (CPS1D); Ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTCD); Argininosuccinate synthetase deficiency (ASSD) (Citrullinemia); Argininosuccinate lyase deficiency (ASLD) (Argininosuccinic aciduria); Arginase deficiency (ARGD, Argininemia); Hyperornithinemia, hyperammonemia, homocitrullinuria (HHH) syndrome (or mitochondrial ornithine transporter 1 deficiency [ORNT1D]); and Citrullinemia type II (mitochondrial aspartate/glutamate carrier deficiency [CITRIN]). There were 678 UCD patients enrolled in 14 sites in the U.S., Canada, and Europe at the writing of this paper. This review summarizes findings of the consortium related to outcome, focusing primarily on neuroimaging findings and neurocognitive function. Neuroimaging studies in late onset OTCD offered evidence that brain injury caused by biochemical dysregulation may impact functional neuroanatomy serving working memory processes, an important component of executive function and regulation. Additionally, there were alteration in white mater microstructure and functional connectivity at rest. Intellectual deficits in OTCD and other urea cycle disorders (UCD) vary. However, when neuropsychological deficits occur, they tend to be more prominent in motor/performance areas on both intelligence tests and other measures. In some disorders, adults performed significantly less well than younger patients. Further longitudinal follow-up will reveal whether this is due to declines throughout life or to improvements in diagnostics (especially newborn screening) and treatments in the younger generation of patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urea Cycle Disorders, Inborn / diagnosis*
  • Urea Cycle Disorders, Inborn / epidemiology
  • Urea Cycle Disorders, Inborn / psychology
  • Urea Cycle Disorders, Inborn / therapy*