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Glutathione Synthetase Deficiency Treatment & Management

  • Author: Darius J Adams, MD; Chief Editor: Luis O Rohena, MD  more...
Updated: Nov 17, 2014

Medical Care

Treatment of individuals who have been diagnosed with glutathione synthetase (GS) deficiency involves providing supplements to correct the metabolic acidosis and supplying antioxidants such as vitamin E and vitamin C.[3] A combination of sodium citrate and citric acid (Bicitra) may be used as an oral medication and can maintain plasma bicarbonate levels within the reference range. Alternatively, bicarbonate may be used; however, very large doses may be needed.

  • The prognosis for glutathione synthetase deficiency widely varies. In some cases, early use of sodium citrate and citric acid (Bicitra) or other buffers, vitamin C, and vitamin E may allow normal development to occur.
  • Experiments using lipoic acid as an intracerebral antioxidant have been performed in animal models. Lipoic acid penetrates the blood-brain barrier well and may prevent the onset of learning disabilities in children with glutathione synthetase deficiency. However, individuals may have an absolute requirement of glutathione for the production of certain leukotrienes and possibly even neurotransmitters. If this is the case, lipoic acid may not effectively correct the problem.
  • N -acetylcysteine (NAC) has been used in patients with glutathione synthetase deficiency because it is thought to increase the low intracellular glutathione concentrations and cysteine availability in the leukocytes of these patients. Whether these findings in leukocytes may result in similar changes in neurons is not yet known.


See the list below:

  • Consultations with a clinical biochemical geneticist, metabolic diseases specialist, or hematologist may be indicated.
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Darius J Adams, MD Director, Personalized Genomic Medicine, Atlantic Health System; Director, Division of Genetics and Metabolism, Goryeb Children's Hospital

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Melissa P Wasserstein, MD Associate Professor, Departments of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and Pediatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Melissa P Wasserstein, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Human Genetics

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Lois J Starr, MD, FAAP Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Clinical Geneticist, Munroe Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Lois J Starr, MD, FAAP is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Luis O Rohena, MD Chief, Medical Genetics, San Antonio Military Medical Center; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, F Edward Hebert School of Medicine; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Luis O Rohena, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Chemical Society, American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, American Society of Human Genetics

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Robert D Steiner, MD Chief Medical Officer, Acer Therapeutics; Clinical Professor, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Robert D Steiner, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, American Society of Human Genetics, Society for Inherited Metabolic Disorders, Society for Pediatric Research, Society for the Study of Inborn Errors of Metabolism

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Acer Therapeutics; Retrophin; Raptor Pharma; Veritas Genetics; Censa Pharma<br/>Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: Acer Therapeutics; Retrophin; Raptor Pharma; Censa Pharma.

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Biochemical pathway of glutathione synthetase.
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