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1.  Three new cases of late-onset cblC defect and review of the literature illustrating when to consider inborn errors of metabolism beyond infancy 
Background
The cblC defect is a rare inborn error of intracellular cobalamin metabolism. Biochemical hallmarks are elevated homocysteine and low methionine in plasma accompanied by methylmalonic aciduria. Due to the heterogeneous clinical picture, patients with the late-onset form of the disease (onset >12 months) come to the attention of diverse medical specialists, e.g. paediatricians, neurologists, nephrologists, psychiatrists or haematologists. The report reviews the published clinical data and adds three new cases to raise awareness for this severe but often treatable disease.
Methods
The Pubmed and the Cochrane databases were searched for clinical reports on cblC patients and three unreported cases are presented to illustrate the clinical spectrum.
Results
Reports on 58 cases (30 females, 22 males, 6 = no information) and the three new cases underlined the clinical heterogeneity of the disease. Time between first symptoms and diagnosis ranged from three months to more than 20 years. Haemolytic uraemic syndrome and pulmonary hypertension were main presenting symptoms in preschool children. In older children/adolescents, psychiatric symptoms, cognitive impairment, ataxia and myelopathy were frequently observed while thromboembolic events and glomerulopathies were almost exclusively seen in adults. Brain atrophy, white matter lesions and myelopathy were frequently encountered. The majority of patients showed marked biochemical and clinical response to treatment with parenteral hydroxocobalamin combined with oral betaine, folate, carnitine and rarely methionine. The course was less favourable in late treated or untreated patients.
Conclusions
The late-onset cblC defect is a rare disease and unfortunately, diagnosis is often delayed. Raising awareness for this disorder can significantly improve patients’ outcome and perspective by timely initiation of targeted treatment. Newborn screening (NBS) for the cblC defect might be of benefit especially for late-onset patients since treatment seems efficient when initiated before irreversible organ damage. In general, inborn errors of metabolisms should be considered in unexplained medical cases at any age, especially in patients with multisystemic disease. More specifically, total homocysteine in plasma and methylmalonic acid in urine/plasma should be measured in unexplained neurologic, psychiatric, renal, haematologic and thromboembolic disease.
doi:10.1186/s13023-014-0161-1
PMCID: PMC4255922  PMID: 25398587
Vitamin B12; Cobalamin; Psychiatric disorder; Myelopathy; Funicular myelosis; Haemolytic uraemic syndrome; Thrombosis; Pulmonary artery hypertension
2.  TTC21B contributes both causal and modifying alleles across the ciliopathy spectrum 
Nature genetics  2011;43(3):189-196.
Ciliary dysfunction leads to a broad range of overlapping phenotypes, termed collectively as ciliopathies. This grouping is underscored by genetic overlap, where causal genes can also contribute modifying alleles to clinically distinct disorders. Here we show that mutations in TTC21B/IFT139, encoding a retrograde intraflagellar transport (IFT) protein, cause both isolated nephronophthisis (NPHP) and syndromic Jeune Asphyxiating Thoracic Dystrophy (JATD). Moreover, although systematic medical resequencing of a large, clinically diverse ciliopathy cohort and matched controls showed a similar frequency of rare changes, in vivo and in vitro evaluations unmasked a significant enrichment of pathogenic alleles in cases, suggesting that TTC21B contributes pathogenic alleles to ∼5% of ciliopathy patients. Our data illustrate how genetic lesions can be both causally associated with diverse ciliopathies, as well as interact in trans with other disease-causing genes, and highlight how saturated resequencing followed by functional analysis of all variants informs the genetic architecture of disorders.
doi:10.1038/ng.756
PMCID: PMC3071301  PMID: 21258341
3.  Molecular and biochemical characterisation of a novel mutation in POLG associated with Alpers syndrome 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:4.
Background
DNA polymerase γ (POLG) is the only known mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymerase. It mediates mtDNA replication and base excision repair. Mutations in the POLG gene lead to reduction of functional mtDNA (mtDNA depletion and/or deletions) and are therefore predicted to result in defective oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Many mutations map to the polymerase and exonuclease domains of the enzyme and produce a broad clinical spectrum. The most frequent mutation p.A467T is localised in the linker region between these domains. In compound heterozygote patients the p.A467T mutation has been described to be associated amongst others with fatal childhood encephalopathy. These patients have a poorer survival rate compared to homozygotes.
Methods
mtDNA content in various tissues (fibroblasts, muscle and liver) was quantified using quantitative PCR (qPCR). OXPHOS activities in the same tissues were assessed using spectrophotometric methods and catalytic stain of BN-PAGE.
Results
We characterise a novel splice site mutation in POLG found in trans with the p.A467T mutation in a 3.5 years old boy with valproic acid induced acute liver failure (Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome). These mutations result in a tissue specific depletion of the mtDNA which correlates with the OXPHOS-activities.
Conclusions
mtDNA depletion can be expressed in a high tissue-specific manner and confirms the need to analyse primary tissue. Furthermore, POLG analysis optimises clinical management in the early stages of disease and reinforces the need for its evaluation before starting valproic acid treatment.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-4
PMCID: PMC3032677  PMID: 21235791

Results 1-3 (3)