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Alkaptonuric ochronosis with aortic valve and joint replacements and femoral fracture: a case report and literature review.

Alkaptonuria is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of metabolism caused by deficiency of homogentisic acid oxidase and resulting in accumulation of homogentisic acid in collagenous structures. It is characterized by homogentisic aciduria, bluish-black discoloration of connective tissues (ochronosis) and arthropathy of large joints. Less common manifestations include cardiovascular abnormalities, renal, urethral and prostate calculi. Bone fractures are unusual in ochronosis. In this report, we describe a woman, 69 years of age, with a history of dark urine since childhood and progressive pigmentation of the skin, sclera, and auricular cartilages. She had severe arthropathy requiring total joint replacement in both of her knees and right hip. She also had severe aortic stenosis requiring valve replacement, and asymptomatic nephrolithiasis. She presented with a low trauma fracture of the distal femur despite two years of alendroate therapy. We review the etiology, pathogenesis, clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of alkaptonuric ochronosis. Early detection is important for prevention and treatment of multiple systems. Nitisinone, a potent inhibitor of 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase, dramatically reduces production and urinary excretion of homogentisic acid; however, the long-term efficacy and side effects of such therapy are unknown. Identifying the gene for alkaptonuria offers the potential for a new therapeutic approach (replacement therapy with a recombinant enzyme) in the treatment of alkaptonuric ochronosis.

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