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Long-term outcome in treated combined methylmalonic acidemia and homocystinemia


Purpose: To describe the clinical and biochemical features and long-term outcome of a cohort of eight patients with methylmalonic acidemia and homocystinuria (cblC).

Methods: Documentation of clinical features at birth and longitudinal follow-up of the biochemical and clinical response to treatment with daily oral carnitine and intramuscular hydroxocobalamin observed during continuous follow-up for an average of 5.7 years.

Results: Our patients had an increased incidence of congenital malformations including microcephaly (<5%) at birth (2 of 8), congenital heart disease (2 of 8), dysmorphic facial features (1 of 8), and thyroglossal duct cyst (1 of 8). Postnatal hydrocephalus (2 of 8) and hip dislocation caused by ligament laxity (1 of 8) were also noted. One patient had profound visual impairment before 6 months of age secondary to cblC retinopathy, and two patients had abnormal retinal pigmentation with normal visual function. All patients presented with poor growth, feeding problems, and/or seizures. No patients had acute acidotic crises before or after treatment. All patients had dramatic reduction of plasma free homocystine and urine methylmalonic acid excretion after initiation of therapy with carnitine, intramuscular (IM) hydroxocobalamin (OHcbl) and, in two cases, oral betaine. Growth was significantly improved in most cases after the initiation of therapy, and microcephaly was resolved in one patient. All patients were developmentally delayed regardless of age of treatment onset, although two patients had relatively mild developmental delay.

Conclusion: cblC patients may have an increased incidence of congenital malformations suggesting prenatal effects of abnormal cbl metabolism. Treatment with IM OHcbl and carnitine successfully corrects the biochemical abnormalities and improves growth. Developmental delay of variable severity is always present regardless of age at diagnosis or treatment onset.

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Correspondence to Hans C Andersson.

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Andersson, H., Marble, M. & Shapira, E. Long-term outcome in treated combined methylmalonic acidemia and homocystinemia. Genet Med 1, 146–150 (1999).

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  • cobalamin
  • cblC
  • methylmalonic acidemia
  • homocystinuria
  • outcome

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