Citrin Deficiency: Clinical and Nutritional Features

Nutrients. 2023 May 12;15(10):2284. doi: 10.3390/nu15102284.


SLC25A13 gene mutations are responsible for diseases related to citrin deficiency (CD), such as neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by citrin deficiency and adult-onset type II citrullinemia (CTLN2). From childhood to adulthood, CD patients are apparently healthy due to metabolic compensation with peculiar dietary habits-disliking high-carbohydrate foods and liking fat and protein-rich foods. Carbohydrate overload and alcohol consumption may trigger the sudden onset of CTLN2, inducing hyperammonemia and consciousness disturbance. Well-compensated asymptomatic CD patients are sometimes diagnosed as having non-obese (lean) non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and steatohepatitis, which have the risk of developing into liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. CD-induced fatty liver demonstrates significant suppression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α and its downstream enzymes/proteins involved in fatty acid transport and oxidation and triglyceride secretion as a very low-density lipoprotein. Nutritional therapy is an essential and important treatment of CD, and medium-chain triglycerides oil and sodium pyruvate are useful for preventing hyperammonemia. We need to avoid the use of glycerol for treating brain edema by hyperammonemia. This review summarizes the clinical and nutritional features of CD-associated fatty liver disease and promising nutritional interventions.

Keywords: PPARα; avoidance of glycerol administration; lean NAFLD; peculiar dietary habits.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carbohydrates
  • Child
  • Cholestasis* / complications
  • Citrullinemia* / complications
  • Citrullinemia* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperammonemia* / complications
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Liver Neoplasms*
  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / complications
  • Young Adult


  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • SLC25A13 protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Neonatal-onset citrullinemia type 2

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.