CblE type of homocystinuria: mild clinical phenotype in two patients homozygous for a novel mutation in the MTRR gene

J Inherit Metab Dis. 2003;26(4):361-9. doi: 10.1023/a:1025159103257.


Patients with the cblE type of homocystinuria usually present with megaloblastic anaemia, feeding difficulties, developmental delay and cerebral atrophy. We present a 14-year-old Spanish girl (patient 1) and a 10-year-old Portuguese boy (patient 2) with cblE disease and mild clinical phenotype. The main clinical feature in both patients was persistent megaloblastic anaemia observed at 3 years and at 2 months of age, respectively. Diagnosis was made at the ages of 9 and 7 years, respectively, owing to persistent macrocytosis despite cobalamin treatment. Plasma total homocysteine values at diagnosis were 91 micromol/L and 44 micromol/L, respectively, in the absence of methylmalonic aciduria. Neurological and neurophysiological examinations were normal except for two small lesions on brain MRI suggestive of ischaemia and slight abnormalities in somatosensitive evoked potentials. Enzymatic analysis, complementation studies and clearly reduced production of methylcobalamin from 57Co-labelled cyanocobalamin indicated functional methionine synthase reductase deficiency due to the cblE defect. Genetic analysis confirmed that both patients are homozygous for a novel mutation c.1361C>T in the methionine synthase reductase gene leading to a replacement of serine by leucine (S454L) in a highly conserved FAD-binding domain. We propose that homozygosity for this novel mutation may be associated with a mild phenotype, although its long-term deleterious neurological consequences remain possible. Furthermore, we propose that even in the absence of apparent neurological involvement, total homocysteine should be investigated in patients with resistant megaloblastic anaemia to detect possible mild forms of the cblE type of homocystinuria.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cytosine
  • Female
  • Ferredoxin-NADP Reductase / genetics*
  • Homocystinuria / classification
  • Homocystinuria / genetics*
  • Homozygote*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Thymine


  • Cytosine
  • methionine synthase reductase
  • Ferredoxin-NADP Reductase
  • Thymine