Early neurological impairment and severe anemia in a newborn with Pearson syndrome

Eur J Pediatr. 2009 Mar;168(3):311-5. doi: 10.1007/s00431-008-0756-4. Epub 2008 Jun 14.


Background: Pearson marrow-pancreas syndrome (PS) is usually a fatal mitochondrial disease, mostly diagnosed during infancy or postmortem. PS is caused by the deletions or duplications of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The tissue distribution and relative proportions of expressed abnormal mtDNA determine the phenotype and the clinical course.

Materials and methods: We describe the case of a term baby boy who was diagnosed with PS early in the neonatal period due to severe aregenerative anemia and persistent lactic acidosis.

Results: His neurological examination was abnormal since birth. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at term was abnormal, indicating that mitochondrial encephalopathy in PS can be already manifested in the neonatal period. To our knowledge, neonatal encephalopathy in PS has not been previously described.

Conclusion: PS is a rare condition diagnosed in the newborn. It should be suspected in the presence of severe anemia and persistent lactic acidosis, and may manifest with early encephalopathy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / diagnosis*
  • Anemia / genetics*
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Bone Marrow Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Gene Deletion
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Syndrome