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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hypervitaminosis A unmasked by acute viral hepatitis.

A case of acute hypervitaminosis A complicating viral hepatitis is reported. Twenty days after presenting with hepatitis B, a 42-yr-old vegetarian developed acute hypervitaminosis A in the absence of recent, massive exposure to the vitamin. Findings included headache, confusion, skin desquamation, and hypercalcemia. Prior to developing hepatitis, he had ingested supplemental vitamin A without recognized ill effect. Liver and serum vitamin A without recognized ill effect. Liver and serum vitamin A levels were both elevated; the liver biopsy showed abundant, lipid-filled Ito cells and perisinusoidal fibrosis. This case demonstrates that patients with excessive hepatic stores of vitamin A may develop hypervitaminosis A during acute, intercurrent liver disease. Levels of retinol binding protein are reduced in hepatitis. This phenomenon may account for the findings in this case, since vitamin A is more toxic when not specifically bound to retinol binding protein. The size of the population at risk for this complication of hepatitis in unknown, but presumably it is growing with the widespread use of supplemental vitamin A.[1]


  1. Hypervitaminosis A unmasked by acute viral hepatitis. Hatoff, D.E., Gertler, S.L., Miyai, K., Parker, B.A., Weiss, J.B. Gastroenterology (1982) [Pubmed]
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