Mild Crigler-Najjar Syndrome with Progressive Liver Disease-A Multicenter Retrospective Cohort Study

Children (Basel). 2023 Aug 22;10(9):1431. doi: 10.3390/children10091431.


Crigler-Najjar Syndrome (CNS) with residual activity of UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A1 (UGT1A1) and no need for daily phototherapy is called mild Crigler-Najjar Syndrome. Most of these patients need medical treatment for enzyme induction (phenobarbital) to lower blood levels of unconjugated bilirubin (UCB). Apart from this, no long-term problems have been described so far. The phenotype of patients with the homozygous pathogenic variant c.115C>G p.(His39Asp) in UGT1A1 is described as variable. Clinical observations of our patients led to the assumption that patients with variant c.115C>G have a mild CNS phenotype while having a high risk of developing progressive liver disease. For mild CNS disease, progressive liver disease has not been described so far. Therefore, we conducted a retrospective multicenter analysis of 14 patients with this particular variant, aiming for better characterization of this variant. We could confirm that patients with variant c.115C>G have a high risk of progressive liver disease (seven of fourteen), which increases with age despite having a very mild CNS phenotype. Earlier predictors and causes for an unfavorable disease course are not detectable, but close follow-up could identify patients with progressive liver disease at the beginning. In conclusion, these patients need close and specialized follow-up. Our study questions whether fibrosis in the CNS is really driven by high amounts of UCB or phototherapy.

Keywords: Gilbert syndrome; H39D variant; UGT1A1; hyperbilirubinemia; liver fibrosis; liver transplantation; phenobarbital; phototherapy.

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This research received no external funding.