One hundred and nine sick preterm infants were studied, and the data obtained show that hyperphenylalaninaemia is an extremely rare occurrence as long as an adequate source of energy is provided. High concentrations of the other aromatic amino acid (tyrosine) on the other hand, were often encountered and seem to be due to immaturity of an isolated hepatic enzyme as there was no correlation between phenylalanine and tyrosine concentrations. Possible adverse consequences of hypertyrosinaemia are discussed in relation to toxicity and the assessment of hepatic function. We provide reference centiles for plasma amino acid concentrations in this population.
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