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Severe liver fibrosis in argininosuccinic aciduria.

Hepatomegaly is an important clinical finding in patients with argininosuccinic aciduria (a hereditary defect of the urea cycle enzyme, argininosuccinate lyase [argininosuccinase]). A severe degree of liver fibrosis, almost corresponding to cirrhosis, was observed in liver biopsy material obtained from a boy with this disorder. This observation is of interest in light of the fact that liver fibrosis or cirrhosis are hallmarks of many inheritable phenotypes, and especially of inborn errors of metabolism. Variable degrees of liver fibrosis are noted in other inborn defects of the urea cycle, eg, in ornithine transcarbamylase and carbamoylphosphate synthetase deficiencies. These findings appear to indicate that inheritable defects of urea synthesis may form a group of metabolic disorders prone to cause hepatic fibrosis, or even cirrhosis, as shown in our patient.

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