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Hum Pathol. 1992 May;23(5):504-12.

A congenital anomaly of vitamin B12 metabolism: a study of three cases.

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Département de Pathologie, Hôpital Ste-Justine, Montréal, Quebec, Canada.


The clinical and morphologic findings of three patients with metabolic acidosis, methylmalonic aciduria, and homocystinuria are presented. The clinical evolution of the patients was similar and was characterized in the first weeks of life by failure to thrive, hypotonia, and lethargy associated with pancytopenia and hepatic dysfunction, eventually progressing to severe respiratory insufficiency and renal failure consistent with a hemolytic-uremic syndrome. The patients died at 40, 45, and 75 days of age. Biochemical analyses and complementation studies revealed a congenital anomaly of vitamin B12 metabolism (cobalamin C disease). Postmortem morphologic findings in all three cases were dominated by a thrombotic microangiopathy of the kidneys and lungs, diffuse hepatic steatosis, and megaloblastic changes in the bone marrow. A severe gastritis with striking cystic dysplastic mucosal changes and total absence of parietal and chief cells was a consistent finding in all three cases, the rest of the gastrointestinal tract appearing essentially normal. Cobalamin C disease is an intracellular defect of cobalamin metabolism with possible recessive inheritance that can result in multiorgan failure early in life, with a thrombotic microangiopathy and unusual changes in the gastric mucosa.

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