Hereditary tyrosinemia type 1 (HT1) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by deficiency in fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase, the last enzyme in the tyrosine catabolic pathway. In this study, we investigated whether fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase deficient (FAH−/−) pigs, a novel large-animal model of HT1, develop fibrosis and cirrhosis characteristic of the human disease. FAH−/− pigs were treated with the protective drug 2-(2-nitro-4-trifluoromethylbenzoyl)-1, 3 cyclohexandione (NTBC) at a dose of 1 mg/kg per day initially after birth. After 30 days, they were assigned to one of three groups based on dosing of NTBC. Group 1 received ≥0.2 mg/kg per day, group 2 cycled on/off NTBC (0.05 mg/kg per day × 1 week/0 mg/kg per day × 3 weeks), and group 3 received no NTBC thereafter. Pigs were monitored for features of liver disease. Animals in group 1 continued to have weight gain and biochemical analyses comparable to wild-type pigs. Animals in group 2 had significant cessation of weight gain, abnormal biochemical test results, and various grades of fibrosis and cirrhosis. No evidence of hepatocellular carcinoma was detected. Group 3 animals declined rapidly, with acute liver failure. In conclusion, the FAH−/− pig is a large-animal model of HT1 with clinical characteristics that resemble the human phenotype. Under conditions of low-dose NTBC, FAH−/− pigs developed liver fibrosis and portal hypertension, and thus may serve as a large-animal model of chronic liver disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine