Lysinuric protein intolerance (LPI) is an autosomal recessive defect of diamino acid transport characterised by massive diaminoaciduria, especially lysinuria, with hyperammonaemia after heavy nitrogen intake. The defect has previously been demonstrated in the kidney, and is probably present in the liver cells. To evaluate the effect of the LPI gene on the net intestinal absorption of the diamino acids and citrulline, separate oral loads of each were given to controls, and to subjects heterozygous and homozygous for LPI. In the affected subjects the plasma concentrations of the loaded diamino acids showed lower increments after the loads than in the controls, the difference being marked in the homozygotes and moderate in the heterozygotes. Urinary excretion failed to explain these differences. Thus, the diamino acid transport defect of LPI is also present in the intestine. After citrulline loads, in contrast, plasma citrulline levels rose similarly in controls and homozygotes. Thus, LPI is associated with intact citrulline absorption. The ornithinopenic hyperammonaemia of LPI is probably preventable by supplementing dietary protein with the ornithine precursor citrulline.
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