Lysinuric protein intolerance (LPI) is one of a group of genetic diseases in which intestinal absorption of the diamino acids lysine, arginine, and ornithine is impaired. In LPI, the clinical symptoms are more severe than in the kindred disorders. The mechanism of lysine absorption was, therefore, investigated in vitro on peroral jejunal biopsy specimens in seven patients with LPI and 27 controls. The lysine concentration ratio between cell compartment and medium was significantly higher in the LPI group (mean±SEM, 7.17±0.60) than in the controls (5.44±0.51). This was also true for the intracellular Na concentration (LPI, 73.6±10.8 mM; controls 42.3±3.7 mM). The rate of unidirectional influx of lysine across the luminal membrane was Na dependent and was the same in the two groups. In the absence of an electrochemical gradient, net transepithelial lysine secretion was observed in LPI. This was entirely the result of a 60% reduction of the unidirectional flux from mucosa to serosa. Calculation of unidirectional fluxes revealed the most striking difference at the basolateral membrane, where the flux from cells to serosa was reduced by 62% and the corresponding permeability coefficient reduced by 71%. A progressive reduction in short-circuit current appeared in the epithelia of all four patients with LPI tested after addition of 3 mM lysine. Thus, LPI appears to be the first disease in which a genetically determined transport defect has been demonstrated at the basolateral membrane.


J-F. Desjeux, J. Rajantie, O. Simell, A-M. Dumontier, J. Perheentupa


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