In Silico Modeling of Liver Metabolism in a Human Disease Reveals a Key Enzyme for Histidine and Histamine Homeostasis


Primary hyperoxaluria type I (PH1) is an autosomal-recessive inborn error of liver metabolism caused by alanine: glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT) deficiency. In silico modeling of liver metabolism in PH1 recapitulated accumulation of known biomarkers as well as alteration of histidine and histamine levels, which we confirmed in vitro, in vivo, and in PH1 patients. AGT-deficient mice showed decreased vascular permeability, a readout of in vivo histamine activity. Histamine reduction is most likely caused by increased catabolism of the histamine precursor histidine, triggered by rerouting of alanine flux from AGT to the glutamic-pyruvate transaminase (GPT, also known as the alanine-transaminase ALT). Alanine administration reduces histamine levels in wild-type mice, while overexpression of GPT in PH1 mice increases plasma histidine, normalizes histamine levels, restores vascular permeability, and decreases urinary oxalate levels. Our work demonstrates that genome-scale metabolic models are clinically relevant and can link genotype to phenotype in metabolic disorders.