Journal of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa

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Megaloblastic anaemia, diabetes and deafness in a 2-year-old child

Alan Davidson, Patricia S Hartley, Peter Berman, Margaret HG Shuttleworth


Megaloblastic anaemia in childhood usually occurs as a result of dietary folate deficiency or, rarely, congenital disorders of vitamin B12 metabolism. We present a 2-year-old girl with megaloblastic anaemia and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, both of which proved responsive to pharmacological doses of thiamine. She was also found to have sensorineural hearing loss. Also known as Rogers\' syndrome, thiamine-responsive megaloblastic anaemia is the result of inactivating mutations in a gene encoding a thiamine transporter. A clinical diagnosis is supported by characteristic bone marrow findings and can be confirmed by demonstrating apoptosis in skin fibroblasts cultured in thiamine-depleted medium. Where available, DNA sequencing is definitive. There is rapid reticulocytosis after thiamine administration. We recommend a trial of therapy for megaloblastic anaemia not responding to folate and vitamin B12, especially in a deaf and/or diabetic child.

Journal of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa Vol. 10(2) 2005: 62-63

AJOL African Journals Online