Galactokinase Deficiency in a Patient With Congenital Hyperinsulinism

JIMD Rep. 2012;5:7-11. doi: 10.1007/8904_2011_110. Epub 2011 Dec 13.


Background: Galactokinase catalyses the first committed step in galactose metabolism, the conversion of galactose to galactose-1-phosphate. Galactokinase deficiency is an extremely rare form of galactosaemia, and the most frequent complication reported is cataracts. Congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI) is a cause of severe hypoglycaemia in the newborn period. Galactosaemia has not previously been reported in a neonate with concomitant CHI.

Aims: To report the first case of a patient with CHI and galactokinase deficiency, and to describe the diagnostic pitfalls with bedside blood glucose testing in a neonate with combined galactokinase deficiency and CHI.

Patients/methods: A 3-day-old baby girl from consanguineous parents presented with poor feeding, irritability and seizures. Capillary blood glucose testing using bedside test strips and glucometer showed a glucose level of 18 mmol/L, but the actual laboratory blood glucose level was only 1.8 mmol/L. After discontinuation of oral feeding (stopping provision of dietary galactose), the bedside capillary blood glucose correlated with laboratory glucose concentrations.

Results: Biochemically the patient had CHI (blood glucose level 2.3 mmol/L with simultaneous serum insulin level of 30 mU/L) and galactokinase deficiency (elevated serum galactose level 0.62 μmol/L). Homozygous loss of function mutations in ABCC8 and GALK1 were found, which explained the patient's CHI and galactokinase deficiency, respectively.

Conclusion: This is the first reported case of CHI and galactokinase deficiency occurring in the same patient. Severe hypoglycaemia in neonates with CHI may go undetected with bedside blood glucose meters in patients with galactokinase deficiency.