Progressive neurological deterioration and MRI changes in cblC methylmalonic acidaemia treated with hydroxocobalamin

G. M. Enns, A. J. Barkovich, D. S. Rosenblatt, D. R. Fredrick, K. Weisiger, C. Ohnstad, S. Packman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Cobalamin C (cblC) defects result in decreased activity of both methylmalonyl-CoA mutase and N5-methyltetrahydrofolate:homocysteine methyltransferase (methionine synthase), with subsequent methylmalonic aciduria and homocystinuria. Patients typically show failure to thrive, developmental delay and megaloblastic anaemia. Vitamin B12 therapy has been beneficial in some cases. We report a now 4-year-old Hispanic girl with cblC disease documented by complementation analysis, with progressive neurological deterioration and worsening head MRI changes while on intramuscular hydroxocobalamin begun at age 3 weeks. Oral carnitine and folic acid were added at age 1 year. Blood levels of methylmalonic acid were reduced to treatment ranges. In the absence of acute metabolic crises, she developed microcephaly, progressive hypotonia and decreased interactiveness. Funduscopic examination was normal at age 13 months. At age 19 months, she developed nystagmus, and darkly pigmented fundi and sclerotic retinal vessels were observed on examination. Her neonatal head MRI was normal. By age 1 year, the MRI showed diffuse white-matter loss, with secondary third and lateral ventricle enlargement, a thin corpus callosum, and normal basal ganglia. At age 15 months, progression of the white-matter loss, as well as hyperintense globi pallidi, were present. Interval progression of both grey- and white-matter loss was seen at age 27 months. We therefore caution that progressive neurological deterioration and head MRI abnormalities may still occur in cblC disease, despite early initiation of hydroxocobalamin therapy and improvement in toxic metabolite concentrations in physiological fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-607
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of inherited metabolic disease
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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