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Hum Pathol. 2010 Jul;41(7):1002-8. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2009.12.008. Epub 2010 Mar 29.

Mitogenic cardiomyopathy: a lethal neonatal familial dilated cardiomyopathy characterized by myocyte hyperplasia and proliferation.

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Division of Pathology, Department of Pediatric Laboratory Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X8.


Pediatric cardiomyopathies are a heterogenous group of conditions of which dilated cardiomyopathies are the most common clinicomorphologic subtype. However, the etiology and pathogenesis of many cases of dilated cardiomyopathies remain unknown. We describe a series of 5 cases of a rare but clinically and histologically distinctive dilated cardiomyopathy that was uniformly lethal in early infancy. The 5 cases include 2 pairs of siblings. There was parental consanguinity in 1 of the 2 pairs of siblings. Death occurred in early infancy (range, 22-67 days; mean, 42 days) after a short history of general lethargy, decreased feeding, respiratory distress, or cyanosis. There was no specific birth or early neonatal problems. Autopsy revealed congestive cardiac failure and enlarged, dilated hearts with ventricular dilatation more pronounced than atrial dilatation, and endocardial fibroelastosis. Histology showed prominent hypertrophic nuclear changes of cardiac myofibers and markedly increased myocyte mitotic activity including occasional atypical mitoses. Immunohistochemical staining for Mib1 showed a markedly increased proliferative index of 10% to 20%. Ancillary investigations, including molecular studies, did not reveal a primary cause for the cardiomyopathies. This distinctive dilated cardiomyopathy characterized by unusual histologic features of myocyte nuclear hypertrophy and marked mitotic activity is lethal in early infancy. Its occurrence in 2 pairs of siblings suggests familial inheritance. Although the underlying molecular pathogenesis remains to be elucidated, it is important to recognize this distinctive entity for purposes of genetic counseling.

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