Author: Biscuola Stefania
Date: 31/01/2014



"An autosomal recessive disease in which gene expression of glucose-6-phosphatase (which normally catalyze reactions that ultimately convert glycogen compounds to glucose) is absent, resulting in hypoglycemia due to lack of glucose production. Accumulation of glycogen in liver and kidney leads to organomegaly, particularly massive hepatomegaly. Increased concentrations of lactic acid and hyperlipidemia appear in the plasma. Clinical gout often appears in early childhood."


Glycogen in liver and (to a lesser degree) kidneys serves as a form of stored, rapidly accessible glucose, so that the blood glucose level can be maintained between meals. For about 3 hours after a carbohydrate-containing meal, high insulin levels direct liver cells to take glucose from the blood, to convert it to glucose-6-phosphate (G6P), and to add the G6P molecules to the ends of chains of glycogen (glycogen synthesis). Excess G6P is also shunted into production of triglycerides and exported for storage in adipose tissue as fat.
When digestion of a meal is complete, insulin levels fall, and enzyme systems in the liver cells begin to remove glucose molecules from strands of glycogen in the form of G6P. This process is termed glycogenolysis. The G6P remains within the liver cell unless the phosphate is cleaved by glucose-6-phosphatase. This dephosphorylation reaction produces free glucose and free PO.
The free glucose molecules can be transported out of the liver cells into the blood to maintain an adequate supply of glucose to the brain and other organs of the body. Glycogenolysis can supply the glucose needs of an adult body for 12–18 hours.
When fasting continues for more than a few hours, falling insulin levels permit catabolism of muscle protein and triglycerides from adipose tissue. The products of these processes are amino acids(mainly alanine),free fatty acids, and lactic acid. Free fatty acids from triglycerides are converted to ketones, and to acetyl-CoA. Amino acids and lactic acid are used to synthesize new G6P in liver cells by the process of gluconeogenesis. The last step of normal gluconeogenesis, like the last step of glycogenolysis, is the dephosphorylation of G6P by glucose-6-phosphatase to free glucose and PO
Thus glucose-6-phosphatase mediates the final, key, step in both of the two main processes of glucose production during fasting. In fact the effect is amplified because the resulting high levels of glucose-6-phosphate inhibit earlier key steps in both glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis.


The overall incidence of GSDI is 1 in 100,000 individuals. The most common forms of GSD I are designated GSD Ia and GSD Ib, the former accounting for over 80% of diagnosed cases and the latter for less than 20%. A few rarer forms have been described. In the United States, GSD Ia has an incidence of approximately 1 in 50,000 to 100,000 births. None of the glycogenoses are currently detected by standard or extended newborn screening.
The disease is more common in Ashkenazi Jewish populations, people of Mexican, Chinese, and Japanese descent.


Signs and symptoms of this condition typically appear around the age of 3 or 4 months, when babies start to sleep through the night and do not eat as frequently as newborns. Affected infants may have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can lead to seizures. They can also have a buildup of lactic acid in the body (lactic acidosis acidosis.com/), high blood levels of a waste product called uric acid (hyperuricemia), and excess amounts of fats in the blood (hyperlipidemia). As they get older, children with GSDI have thin arms and legs and short stature. An enlarged liver may give the appearance of a protruding abdomen. The kidneys may also be enlarged. Affected individuals may also have diarrhea and deposits of cholesterol in the skin (xanthomas).


Once the symptoms lead to formulate the hypotesis of GSD1 to confirm this idea is used a carefully monitored fast. Hypoglycemia often occurs within six hours. A critical blood specimen obtained at the time of hypoglycemia typically reveals a mild metabolic acidosis, high free fatty acids and beta-hydroxybutyrate, very low insulin levels, and high levels of glucagon, cortisol, and growth hormone. Administration of intramuscular or intravenous glucagon (0.25 to 1 mg, depending on age) or epinephrine produces little rise of blood sugar.
In the end the diagnosis is conirmed by laboratory and genetic techniques such as liver biopsy with electron microscopy, assay of glucose-6-phosphatase activity in the tissue or specific gene testing.
Prenatal diagnosis has been made by fetal liver biopsy at 18–22 weeks of gestation, but no fetal treatment has been proposed. Prenatal diagnosis is possible with fetal DNA by chorionic villus sampling when a fetus is known to be at risk.


The hypoglycemia of GSD I is termed "fasting", or "post-absorptive", meaning that it occurs after completion of digestion of a meal—usually about 4 hours later. This inability to maintain adequate blood glucose levels during fasting results from the combined impairment of both glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis. Fasting hypoglycemia is often the most significant problem in GSD I, and typically the problem that leads to the diagnosis. Chronic hypoglycemia produces secondary metabolic adaptations, including chronically low insulin levels and high levels of glucagon and cortisol.
Hypoglicemia is the central clinical problem, the one that is most damaging, and the one that most often prompts the initial diagnosis. Maternal glucose transferred across the placenta prevents hypoglycemia in a fetus with GSD I, but the liver is enlarged with glycogen at birth. The inability to generate and release glucose soon results in hypoglycemia, and occasionally in lactic acidosis fulminant enough to appear as a primary respiratory problem in the newborn period. Neurological manifestations are less severe than if the hypoglycemia were more acute. The brain's habituation to mild hypoglycemia is at least partly explained by use of alternative fuels, primarily lactate.
More commonly, infants with GSD I tolerate without obvious symptoms a chronic, mild hypoglycemia, and compensated lactic acidosis between feedings. Blood glucose levels are typically 25 to 50 mg/dl (1.4–2.8 mM). These infants continue to need oral carbohydrates every few hours. Many never sleep through the night even in the second year of life. They may be pale, clammy, and irritable a few hours after a meal. Development delay is not an intrinsic or inevitable effect of glucose-6-phosphatase deficiency but is common if the diagnosis is not made in early infancy.
Although mild hypoglycemia for much of the day may go unsuspected, the metabolic adaptations described above make severe hypoglycemic episodes, with unconsciousness or seizure, uncommon before treatment. Episodes which occur are likely to happen in the morning before breakfast. GSD I is therefore a potential cause of ketotic hypoglycemia in young children. Once the diagnosis has been made, the principal goal of treatment is to maintain an adequate glucose level and prevent hypoglycemia.

Lactic acidosis Impaired gluconeogenesis results in elevations of lactic acid (4–10 mM) even when the child is well. In an episode of metabolic decompensation, lactic acid levels abruptly rise and can exceed 15 mM, producing severe metabolic acidosis. Uric acid, ketoacids, and free fatty acids further increase the anion gap. Manifestations of severe metabolic acidosis include vomiting and hyperpnea, which can exacerbate hypoglycemia by reducing oral intake. Repeated episodes of vomiting with hypoglycemia and dehydration may occur in infancy and childhood, precipitated by (or mimicking)infections such as gastroenteritis or pneumonia.
Hypertriglyceridemia resulting from amplified triglyceride production is another indirect effect of impaired gluconeogenesis, amplified by chronically low insulin levels. During fasting, the normal conversion of triglycerides to free fatty acids, ketones, and ultimately glucose is impaired. Triglyceride levels in GSD I can reach several times normal and serve as a 2 clinical index of "metabolic control".
Hyperuricemia results from a combination of increased generation and decreased excretion of uric acid, which is generated when increased amounts of G6P are metabolized via the pentose phosphate pathway. It is also a byproduct of purine degradation. Uric acid competes with lactic acid and other organic acids for renal excretion in the urine. In GSD I increased availability of G6P for the pentose phosphate pathway, increased rates of catabolism, and diminished urinary excretion due to high levels of lactic acid all combine to produce uric acid levels several times normal. Although hyperuricemia is asymptomatic for years, kidney and joint damage gradually accrue.
Hepatomegaly and liver problems:Impairment of glycogenolysis also causes the characteristic enlargement of the liver due to accumulation of glycogen. Glycogen also accumulates in kidneys and small intestine. Hepatomegaly, usually without splenomegaly, begins to develop in fetal life and is usually noticeable in the first few months of life. By the time the child is standing and walking, the hepatomegaly may be severe enough to cause the abdomen to protrude. The liver edge is often at or below the level of the umbilicus. Other liver functions are usually spared, and liver and bilirubin are usually normal.
G6PD deficiency increases the risk of hepatic adenocarcinoma. There is some evidence that metabolic control of the disease is a factor.
Kidney effects:Kidneys are usually 10 to 20% enlarged with stored glycogen. This does not usually cause clinical problems in childhood, with the occasional exception of a Fanconi syndrome syndrome.com/ with multiple derangement of renal tubular reabsorption, including proximal renal tubular acidosis with bicarbonate and phosphate wasting. However, prolonged hyperuricemia can cause uric acid nephropathy. In adults with GSD I, chronic glomerular damage similar to diabetic nephropathy may lead to renal failure.



GSD Ia is inherited as an autosomal recessive disease. Heterozygote carriers (parents) are asymptomatic. As for other autosomal recessive diseases, the recurrence risk for each subsequent child of the same parents is 25%.
GSD Ia results from mutations of G6PC, the gene for glucose-6-phosphatase. G6PC is located on chromosome 17q21.
GSD Ib results from mutations of the gene for SLC37A4 or G6PT1, the G6P transporter.
GSD Ic Ic.com/ results from mutations of SLC17A3 or SLC37A4.
The metabolic characteristics of GSD Ia and Ib are quite similar, but Ib incurs a few additional problems.


Without adequate metabolic treatment, patients with GSD I have died in infancy or childhood of overwhelming hypoglycemia and acidosis. Those who survived were stunted in physical growth and delayed in puberty, because of chronically low insulin levels, mental retardation. Recurrent, severe hypoglycemia is considered preventable with appropriate treatment.
Hepatic complications have been serious in some patients. Adenomas of the liver can develop in the second decade or later, with a small chance of later malignant transformation to hepatoma or hepatic carcinomas (detectable by alpha-fetoprotein screening). Several children with advanced hepatic complications have improved after liver transplantation.
Additional problems reported in adolescents and adults with GSD I have included hyperuricemic gout, pancreatitis, and chronic renal failure. Despite hyperlipidemia, atherosclerotic complications have been infrequently reported.
With diagnosis before serious harm occurs, prompt reversal of acidotic episodes, and appropriate long-term treatment, most children will be healthy. With exceptions and qualifications, adult health and life span may also be fairly good, although lack of effective treatment before the mid-1970s has limited our long-term information.


The primary treatment goal is prevention of hypoglycemia and the secondary metabolic derangements by frequent feedings of foods high in glucose or starch (which is readily digested to glucose). To compensate for the inability of the liver to provide sugar, the total amount of dietary carbohydrate should approximate the 24-hour glucose production rate. The diet should contain approximately 65–70% carbohydrate, 10–15% protein, and 20–25% fat. At least a third of the carbohydrates should be supplied through the night, so that a young child goes no more than 3–4 hours without carbohydrate intake
In the last 30 years, two methods have been used to achieve this goal in young children: (1) continuous nocturnal gastric infusion of glucose infusion of glucose.com/ or starch; and (2) night-time feedings of uncooked cornstarch. An elemental formula, glucose polymer, and/or cornstarch can be infused continuously through the night at a rate supplying 0.5–0.6 g/kg/h of glucose for an infant, or 0.3–0.4 for an older child. This method requires a nasogastric or gastrostomy tube and pump. Sudden death from hypoglycemia has occurred due to malfunction or disconnection, and periodic cornstarch feedings are now preferred to continuous infusion.
Cornstarch_ is_ an inexpensive way to provide gradually digested glucose. One tablespoon contains nearly 9 g carbohydrate (36 calories). Although it is safer, less expensive, and requires no equipment, this method does require that parents arise every 3–4 hours to administer the cornstarch. A typical requirement for a young child is 1.6 g/kg every 4 hours.
Long-term management should eliminate hypoglycemic symptoms and maintain normal growth. Treatment should achieve normal glucose, lactic acid, and electrolyte levels, and only mild elevations of uric acid and triglycerides.
Avoidance of other sugars: Intake of carbohydrates which must be converted to G6P to be utilized (e.g., galactose and fructose) should be minimized. Although elemental formulas are available for infants, many foods contain fructose or galactose in the forms of sucrose or lactose. Adherence becomes a contentious treatment issue after infancy. The treatment of GSD type Ia involves a careful monitoring of the affected person’s diet, both in frequency of meals and type of foods eaten. People with GSD type Ia should avoid foods with sucrose (table sugar), fructose (sugar from fruits), and lactose and galactose (sugars found in milk). They need to eat around the clock, typically every 1 to 3 hours during the day and every 3 to 4 hours at night, to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Physicians often recommend people with GSD type 1a drink cornstarch mixed with water, soy formula, or soy milk. Cornstarch is digested slowly and therefore releases its glucose gradually, helping to safely extend the time between meals.


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2014-06-26T07:45:34 - Laura Carrera
2014-04-06T19:33:15 - Laura Carrera
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