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Citrin deficiency (CD), also known as citrullinaemia type 2, is an inherited metabolic disorder in which the body is unable to make citrin, a protein that helps move substances within the cells.
Citrin helps to break down sugar (carbohydrates), make proteins and nucleotides, and get rid of toxins (ammonia) in the body. It is also important for the liver to work properly.
Individuals with CD often prefer high protein and high fat foods, rather than high carbohydrate foods.
It is estimated that
one in 10,000 to 38,000 people are born with CD. It can occur in both genders, and across all races.
In babies, the signs and symptoms of CD usually begin between one and five months of age.
These may be seen especially when babies with CD eat foods that their bodies cannot break down, and symptoms can be triggered by long periods of fasting, illness and infection.
Signs of CD can appear any time from birth to adulthood.
1. NICCD (Neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by CD)
Age of presentationNeonates/infants (0-1 year old)
Signs & symptoms
2. FTTDCD (Failure to thrive and dyslipidaemia caused by CD)
Age of presentationChildhood (> 1 year old)
Signs & symptomsOften a silent period with no symptoms. If symptoms present, they may include:
3. CTLN2 (Citrullinaemia type 2)
Age of presentationAdolescents/adults (11-79 years old)
Signs & symptoms
It is important to note that not every patient with CD will develop FTTDCD or CTLN2.
CD is caused by a change in the
SLC25A13 gene. This gene gives the body instructions for making the protein citrin. Without a working
SLC25A13 gene, the body cannot make citrin correctly, thus leading to the aforementioned symptoms.
Everyone has two copies of each gene in their body’s cells, one copy from each parent. CD follows a recessive inheritance pattern. This means that a patient with CD must have two faulty copies of
SLC25A13 to cause features of CD.
An individual with one faulty copy of
SLC25A13 is known as a carrier. Typically, carriers of an autosomal recessive condition do not have any signs or symptoms.
CD may be suspected based on its clinical presentation. The diagnosis is confirmed by further blood tests including plasma amino acids.
In addition, genetic testing can be done via blood for molecular testing of the SLC25A13 gene.
Growth, development, intelligence quotient and general health are expected to be normal when treatment is started during infancy.
Ongoing follow-up throughout life is required to ensure continued good health through early detection of complications.
Your child will undergo regular clinical assessments for growth, and periodic investigations by your doctor with the following assessments.