Crigler-Najjar syndrome - Clinicals, Diagnosis, and Management

Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition

Clinicals - History

Fact Explanation
Yellowish discoloration of skin and sclera. (it is present at birth in type 1 disease, whereas in type 2 disease the infant is healthy at birth and jaundice may present later in life.) It occurs due to deposition of bilirubin in these tissues as a result of high serum levels of unconjugated bilirubin. The disease is caused by an absence (type 1) or strong reduction (type 2) of the activity of the hepatic enzyme bilirubin UDP glucuronosyltransferase. This enzyme is needed for the conjugation of bilirubin in the liver, which is essential for efficient biliary excretion of bilirubin . Yellowish discoloration of skin and sclera. (it is present at birth in type 1 disease, whereas in type 2 disease the infant is healthy at birth and jaundice may present later in life.)
It occurs due to deposition of bilirubin in these tissues as a result of high serum levels of unconjugated bilirubin. The disease is caused by an absence (type 1) or strong reduction (type 2) of the activity of the hepatic enzyme bilirubin UDP glucuronosyltransferase. This enzyme is needed for the conjugation of bilirubin in the liver, which is essential for efficient biliary excretion of bilirubin .
Consanguinity among parents and/or a family history of severe jaundice. The disease has an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern . Consanguinity among parents and/or a family history of severe jaundice.
The disease has an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern .
Confusion, lethargy and other features of encephalopathy (it occurs in the second week of life in type 1 disease. Although jaundice may not be apparent in type 2 disease, kernicterus may occur.) Free unconjugated bilirubin exhibits toxicity
particularly to neuronal cells. All known
toxic effects of bilirubin are abrogated by binding to albumin. Cerebral toxicity (kernicterus) from bilirubin occurs when the molar ratio between bilirubin and albumin
exceeds 1.0. Bilirubin toxicity is usually seen in patients with Crigler–Najjar syndrome at all ages .
Confusion, lethargy and other features of encephalopathy (it occurs in the second week of life in type 1 disease. Although jaundice may not be apparent in type 2 disease, kernicterus may occur.)
Free unconjugated bilirubin exhibits toxicity
particularly to neuronal cells. All known
toxic effects of bilirubin are abrogated by binding to albumin. Cerebral toxicity (kernicterus) from bilirubin occurs when the molar ratio between bilirubin and albumin
exceeds 1.0. Bilirubin toxicity is usually seen in patients with Crigler–Najjar syndrome at all ages .

Clinicals - Examination

Fact Explanation
Jaundice. It occurs due to deposition of bilirubin in these tissues as a result of high serum levels of unconjugated bilirubin. The disease is caused by an absence or strong reduction of the activity of the hepatic enzyme bilirubin UDP glucuronosyltransferase. This enzyme is needed for the conjugation of bilirubin in the liver, which is essential for efficient biliary excretion of bilirubin . Jaundice.
It occurs due to deposition of bilirubin in these tissues as a result of high serum levels of unconjugated bilirubin. The disease is caused by an absence or strong reduction of the activity of the hepatic enzyme bilirubin UDP glucuronosyltransferase. This enzyme is needed for the conjugation of bilirubin in the liver, which is essential for efficient biliary excretion of bilirubin .
Hypotonia, deafness, oculomotor palsy, etc. Free unconjugated bilirubin exhibits toxicity
particularly to neuronal cells. All known
toxic effects of bilirubin are abrogated by binding to albumin. Cerebral toxicity (kernicterus) from bilirubin occurs when the molar ratio between bilirubin and albumin
exceeds 1.0. Bilirubin toxicity is usually seen in patients with Crigler–Najjar syndrome at all ages .
Hypotonia, deafness, oculomotor palsy, etc.
Free unconjugated bilirubin exhibits toxicity
particularly to neuronal cells. All known
toxic effects of bilirubin are abrogated by binding to albumin. Cerebral toxicity (kernicterus) from bilirubin occurs when the molar ratio between bilirubin and albumin
exceeds 1.0. Bilirubin toxicity is usually seen in patients with Crigler–Najjar syndrome at all ages .
Absence of features of anemia or evidence of splenomegaly. These features may occur in diseases of ineffective erythropoiesis such as thalassemia, where jaundice is an associated feature . Therefore absence of these features would rule out diseases of ineffective erythropoiesis as a cause. Absence of features of anemia or evidence of splenomegaly.
These features may occur in diseases of ineffective erythropoiesis such as thalassemia, where jaundice is an associated feature . Therefore absence of these features would rule out diseases of ineffective erythropoiesis as a cause.
Absence features such as tremor, increased sweating, etc. These features occur in thyrotoxicosis where jaundice is an associated feature . Therefore absence of these features would rule out thyrotoxicosis as a cause. Absence features such as tremor, increased sweating, etc.
These features occur in thyrotoxicosis where jaundice is an associated feature . Therefore absence of these features would rule out thyrotoxicosis as a cause.

Investigations - Diagnosis

Fact Explanation
Liver function tests. Except for the defect in UDP glucuronosyltransferase, hepatic architecture and function are normal in these patients . Therefore liver function test findings would be normal. Liver function tests.
Except for the defect in UDP glucuronosyltransferase, hepatic architecture and function are normal in these patients . Therefore liver function test findings would be normal.
High-performance liquid chromatography analysis of duodenal bile. This is used to identify the levels of bilirubin glucurononides. Based on this the syndrome could be divided into two types. Type I has negligible bilirubin glucuronides while type II has reduced concentrations of it . High-performance liquid chromatography analysis of duodenal bile.
This is used to identify the levels of bilirubin glucurononides. Based on this the syndrome could be divided into two types. Type I has negligible bilirubin glucuronides while type II has reduced concentrations of it .
Elevated serum unconjugated bilirubin levels. Due to the absence of the enzyme uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase resulting in impaired conjugation and excretion of bilirubin . Elevated serum unconjugated bilirubin levels.
Due to the absence of the enzyme uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase resulting in impaired conjugation and excretion of bilirubin .
Tissue enzyme assay. This is used to identify the levels of the enzyme uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase . Based on this the syndrome could be divided into two types. Type I has negligible amounts of the enzyme while type II has reduced levels of it . Tissue enzyme assay.
This is used to identify the levels of the enzyme uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase . Based on this the syndrome could be divided into two types. Type I has negligible amounts of the enzyme while type II has reduced levels of it .
Liver biopsy . The disease occurs as a result of either absence or reduction of bilirubin UDP-glucuronosyltransferase activity. Therefore it is a problem in a metabolic process in the liver. Hence a biopsy specimen would reveal normal histology of the liver . Liver biopsy .
The disease occurs as a result of either absence or reduction of bilirubin UDP-glucuronosyltransferase activity. Therefore it is a problem in a metabolic process in the liver. Hence a biopsy specimen would reveal normal histology of the liver .

Management - Supportive

Fact Explanation
Avoidance of drugs such as sulfonamides, ceftriaxone, ampicillin, salicylates, and furosemide. These drugs displace bilirubin from albumin . Avoidance of drugs such as sulfonamides, ceftriaxone, ampicillin, salicylates, and furosemide.
These drugs displace bilirubin from albumin .
Avoid certain conditions such as fasting, infections, trauma, etc. Serum bilirubin concentration fluctuates
during fasting stressful conditions . Elevated levels could lead to bilirubin encephalopathy.
Avoid certain conditions such as fasting, infections, trauma, etc.
Serum bilirubin concentration fluctuates
during fasting stressful conditions . Elevated levels could lead to bilirubin encephalopathy.
Parent education. Certain drugs (as above) , as well as certain conditions (as above) can increase free serum bilirubin levels and cause further complications. Therefore parents should be educated on protecting their affected children from these aggravating factors. Parent education.
Certain drugs (as above) , as well as certain conditions (as above) can increase free serum bilirubin levels and cause further complications. Therefore parents should be educated on protecting their affected children from these aggravating factors.
Counselling. Consanguinity among parents is a risk factor since this is an autosomal recessive condition . Therefore counselling couples at risk is vital. Counselling.
Consanguinity among parents is a risk factor since this is an autosomal recessive condition . Therefore counselling couples at risk is vital.
Family support. Kernicterus is a complication of the disease . Since this can lead to conditions such as deafness, nerve palsies and other permanent neurological complications, family support is needed. Family support.
Kernicterus is a complication of the disease . Since this can lead to conditions such as deafness, nerve palsies and other permanent neurological complications, family support is needed.

Management - Specific

Fact Explanation
Phenobarbital It is given 60-180 mg per day. It has the ability to induce the activity of the enzyme UDP- glucuronosyltransferase . Phenobarbital
It is given 60-180 mg per day. It has the ability to induce the activity of the enzyme UDP- glucuronosyltransferase .
Plasma exchange transfusion. This removes the unconjugated bilirubin from the plasma . Plasma exchange transfusion.
This removes the unconjugated bilirubin from the plasma .
Phototherapy. Intensity of light should be at a level of at least 4-10 µW/cm2/nm. The appropriate wave length is at 425-475 nm in the blue-green spectrum . Phototherapy induces photoisomerization of unconjugated bilirubin, which increases its hydrophilicity and biliary secretion . Phototherapy.
Intensity of light should be at a level of at least 4-10 µW/cm2/nm. The appropriate wave length is at 425-475 nm in the blue-green spectrum . Phototherapy induces photoisomerization of unconjugated bilirubin, which increases its hydrophilicity and biliary secretion .
Oral calcium phosphate. patients with Crigler–Najjar disease
excrete normal amounts of bilirubin and bilirubin breakdown products in the feces despite extremely low excretion of bilirubin in bile. Thus, intestinal excretion of
bilirubin has been postulated as an alternative pathway for disposal of bilirubin during unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia. Unconjugated bilirubin binds to amorphous calcium phosphate, leading to intestinal trapping of bilirubin which would ultimately lead to reduced reabsorption and increased excretion of unconjugated bilirubin .
Oral calcium phosphate.
patients with Crigler–Najjar disease
excrete normal amounts of bilirubin and bilirubin breakdown products in the feces despite extremely low excretion of bilirubin in bile. Thus, intestinal excretion of
bilirubin has been postulated as an alternative pathway for disposal of bilirubin during unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia. Unconjugated bilirubin binds to amorphous calcium phosphate, leading to intestinal trapping of bilirubin which would ultimately lead to reduced reabsorption and increased excretion of unconjugated bilirubin .
Liver cell transplantation. Cells can be infused safely in the diseased liver, and are expected to bring sufficient enzyme activity to restore bilirubin metabolism . Liver cell transplantation.
Cells can be infused safely in the diseased liver, and are expected to bring sufficient enzyme activity to restore bilirubin metabolism .

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