PMID: 36717Nov 1, 1978

Deranged tyrosine metabolism in cirrhosis

The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine
J T FulenwiderD Rudman


In normal individuals, the main route for tyrosine degradation is the hepatic pathway tyrosine→4-hydroxyphenylpyruvic acid→homogentisic acid→CO(2). Quantitatively minor pathways, in large part extrahepatic, are: tyrosine→tyramine→octopamine and tyrosine→dopa→catecholamines.In cirrhosis, the main hepatic pathway is blocked to varying degrees at the first three stages. This appears to be due to lack of activity of the enzymes tyrosine transaminase, PHPA oxidase, and HGA oxidase, the first step being rate limiting. Hypertyrosinemia and tyrosine intolerance result.With the main hepatic pathway partially blocked, an abnormally large amount of tyrosine passes into the normally minor extrahepatic pathway leading to the false neurotransmitters tyramine and octopamine. Overproduction of these amines ensues and they accumulate in the body fluid.The false neurotransmitters can displace catecholamines from their storage sites in the peripheral and central nervous system, and thereby disrupt adrenergic processes in arterioles, kidneys, and brain. Their accumulation in cirrhotic patients may play a role in the pathogenesis of hepatic encephalopathy, hepatorenal syndrome, and hyperdynamic circulation.

Related Concepts

Amino Acid Metabolism, Inherited Disorders
Homogentisic Acid
Fibrosis, Liver

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