Variable disease manifestations and metabolic management within a single family affected by ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency

Joshua Baker*, Lauren Hitchins, Erika Vucko, Kirsten Havens, Karen Becker, Katherine Arduini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


We report on a family with ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, an X-linked urea cycle disorder, with variable disease severity and tailored management strategies based on each family member's biochemical profile and clinical presentation. Our primary patient is a female monozygotic twin who presented to medical care at 10 months of age with acute liver failure, gastrointestinal symptoms, altered mental status, hypoglycemia, and hyperammonemia. The patient's older brother, known to have hemizygous OTC deficiency, died at 8 months of age from cardiac arrest after complications secondary to his diagnosis. Despite her family history, manifestation of symptoms of heterozygous (partial) OTC deficiency went unrecognized by multiple providers based on misconceptions regarding a female's risk for X-linked disease. Despite barriers related to the family's low socioeconomic status, follow-up care by a multidisciplinary metabolic care team, including moderate protein restriction and nitrogen scavenger therapy, led to positive outcomes for the patient. Her twin sister and mother are also heterozygous for variants in OTC and remain controlled on moderate protein restriction. This case illustrates the importance of genotyping all individuals with genetic risk factors for OTC deficiency and the variability in disease manifestation that necessitates tailored treatment approaches for individuals with partial OTC deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100906
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Late onset
  • Manifesting heterozygote
  • Ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency
  • Partial ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency
  • Urea cycle disorder
  • X-linked

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology


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