Role for Biochemical Assays and Kayser-Fleischer Rings in Diagnosis of Wilson's Disease.

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Wilson's disease is an autosomal recessive disorder that impairs copper homeostasis and is caused by homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations in ATP7B, which encodes a copper-transporting P-type ATPase. Patients have variable clinical manifestations and laboratory test results, resulting in diagnostic dilemmas. We aimed to identify factors associated with symptoms and features of Wilson's disease from a large cohort, over 15 years.We collected data from 715 patients (529 with symptoms, 146 without symptoms, and 40 uncategorized) and a genetic confirmation of Wilson's disease (mean age of diagnosis, 18.84 years), recruited from 3 hospitals in China from 2004 through 2019. We analyzed clinical data along with serum levels of ceruloplasmin (available from 636 patients), 24-hr urinary copper excretion (collected from 131 patients), Kayser-Fleisher rings (copper accumulation in eyes, with neurologic data from 355 patients), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormalities. Differences among the groups were analyzed using 1-way analysis of variance followed by Tukey's multiple comparison test.Of the 529 patients with symptoms, 121 had hepatic features, 355 had neurologic features, 28 had osteomuscular features (premature osteoarthritis, skeletal deformities, and pathological bone fractures), and 25 had psychiatric symptoms. Age of onset was significantly younger in patients with hepatic (16.94 ± 1.03 years; P=.0105) or osteomuscular features (13 ± 1.33 years; P=.0001) than patients with neurological features (19.48 ± 0.46 years). Serum levels of ceruloplasmin differed among asymptomatic patients and patients with osteomuscular or neurologic symptoms of Wilson's disease. Serum levels of ceruloplasmin ranged from 18.93 mg/L to approximately 120.00 mg/L (quantiles of 0.025 to approximately 0.975). Fifty-one of 131 patients (39%) had urinary copper excretion levels below 100 μg/24 hr; there was significant variation in levels of urinary copper excretion between patients older than 14 years vs 14 years or younger. Of the 355 patients with neurologic features, 244 patients (69%) had abnormal findings from MRI and Kayser-Fleisher rings; only 1 patient with abnormal findings from brain MRI was negative for Kayser-Fleisher rings.Serum level of ceruloplasmin, 24-hour urinary copper excretion, and Kayser-Fleisher rings can be used to identify patients who might have Wilson's disease. Patients with serum levels of ceruloplasmin below 120 mg/L and children with urinary copper excretion above 40 μg should undergo genetic testing for Wilson's disease. Patients with movement disorders and brain MRI abnormalities without Kayser-Fleisher rings are not likely to have Wilson's disease.


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