Purpose: In glycogen storage disease type III (GSD III), liver aminotransferases tend to normalize with age giving an impression that hepatic manifestations improve with age. However, despite dietary treatment, long-term liver complications emerge. We present a GSD III liver natural history study in children to better understand changes in hepatic parameters with age.
Methods: We reviewed clinical, biochemical, histological, and radiological data in pediatric patients with GSD III, and performed a literature review of GSD III hepatic findings.
Results: Twenty-six patients (median age 12.5 years, range 2-22) with GSD IIIa (n = 23) and IIIb (n = 3) were enrolled in the study. Six of seven pediatric patients showed severe fibrosis on liver biopsy (median [range] age: 1.25 [0.75-7] years). Markers of liver injury (aminotransferases), dysfunction (cholesterol, triglycerides), and glycogen storage (glucose tetrasaccharide, Glc4) were elevated at an early age, and decreased significantly thereafter (p < 0.001). Creatine phosphokinase was also elevated with no significant correlation with age (p = 0.4).
Conclusion: Liver fibrosis can occur at an early age, and may explain the decrease in aminotransferases and Glc4 with age. Our data outlines the need for systematic follow-up and specific biochemical and radiological tools to monitor the silent course of the liver disease process.
Keywords: GSD III liver; cirrhosis; hepatocellular fibrosis; urinary glucose tetrasaccharide.