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L-Ornithine phenylacetate (OP): A novel treatment for hyperammonemia and hepatic encephalopathy

Jalan, R; Wright, G; Davies, NA; Hodges, SJ; (2007) L-Ornithine phenylacetate (OP): A novel treatment for hyperammonemia and hepatic encephalopathy. MED HYPOTHESES , 69 (5) 1064 - 1069. 10.1016/j.mehy.2006.12.061.

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Abstract

Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a common neuropsychiatric complication of liver disease affecting about 20-30% patients with cirrhosis. HE may only affect quality of life (e.g. impairments in attention; coordination; driving ability), but in some patients this progresses to coma and death; defining mortality in those with acute liver failure. HE is thought to occur through accumulation of ammonia as a by-product of protein metabolism. In liver failure ammonia accumulates to toxic levels, resulting in ammonia-associated brain swelling. Presently, there is no proven therapy for HE though recent studies suggest that during liver failure, ammonia removal by skeletal muscle (by conversion to glutamine) can be manipulated; also that ammonia and amino acid metabolism should be viewed in terms of their interorgan relationship. This led us to develop a novel concept for ammonia removal. Preliminary studies provide the proof of concept that the combination Of L-ornithine (amino acid) with phenylactetate, as L-ornithine phenylacetate (OP), reduces toxic levels of ammonia by (1) L-Ornithine acting as a substrate for glutamine synthesis from ammonia in skeletal muscle and (2) phenylacetate excreting the ornithine-reLated glutamine as phenylacetylglutamine in the kidneys. As both L-ornithine and phenylacetate are already available for human use, data showing its usefulness in ammonia lowering could translate quickly into providing the much needed therapy for HE patients. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Type:Article
Title:L-Ornithine phenylacetate (OP): A novel treatment for hyperammonemia and hepatic encephalopathy
DOI:10.1016/j.mehy.2006.12.061
Keywords:ACUTE LIVER-FAILURE, CEREBRAL EDEMA, PORTACAVAL ANASTOMOSIS, GLUTAMINE-SYNTHETASE, DOUBLE-BLIND, AMINO-ACIDS, BRAIN EDEMA, AMMONIA, ASPARTATE, PROTEIN

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