Neonatal cholestasis due to citrin deficiency is an autosomal recessive metabolic disorder caused by mutations in SLC25A13 gene. Mutations in this gene have a relatively high prevalence in East-Asian races compared to European or Afro-Caribbean races. Mutations in both sets of chromosomes often lead to self-limiting early onset cholestasis and growth retardation referred as neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by citrin deficiency (NICCD). It is associated with a wide range of metabolic derangements including galactosemia and aminoacidemia, which can be detected on the newborn blood spot screening. Galactose, being a reducing sugar, can also be detected using Clinitest® (Clinitest® Reagent Tablets, Bayer Corporation, Diagnostics Division, Elkhart, IN, USA), a common screening test used in the work up of metabolic and hepatic diseases. In the western population classical galactosemia is often suspected when non glucose reducing substances are detected in the urine of infants with cholestasis. However in East-Asian races the prevalence of classical galactosemia is very low whilst galactosemia due to altered uridine diphosphate-galactose epimerase activity in NICCD is more common. We present a case of NICCD in an East-Asian infant with cholestasis and persistently positive urine reducing substance.
Conclusion: NICCD deficiency should be considered as a differential diagnosis in any infant with cholestasis and persistently positive urinary reducing substances.