Congenital bile acid synthesis defect type 2 is a disorder characterized by cholestasis, a condition that impairs the production and release of a digestive fluid called bile from liver cells. Bile is used during digestion to absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. People with congenital bile acid synthesis defect type 2 cannot produce (synthesize) bile acids, which are a component of bile that stimulate bile flow and help it absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. As a result, an abnormal form of bile is produced. The signs and symptoms of congenital bile acid synthesis defect type 2 often develop in infancy. Affected infants usually have a failure to gain weight and grow at the expected rate (failure to thrive) and yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) due to impaired bile flow and a buildup of partially formed bile. Excess fat in the feces (steatorrhea) is another feature of congenital bile acid synthesis defect type 2.
As the condition progresses, affected individuals can develop liver abnormalities including inflammation or chronic liver disease (cirrhosis). Some individuals with congenital bile acid synthesis defect type 2 cannot absorb certain fat-soluble vitamins, which can result in softening and weakening of the bones (rickets) or problems with blood clotting that lead to prolonged bleeding. If left untreated, congenital bile acid synthesis defect type 2 typically leads to cirrhosis and death in childhood. The prevalence of congenital bile acid synthesis defect type 2 is unknown. Together, all congenital defects of bile acid synthesis are thought to have a prevalence of 1 to 9 per million people.