Abstract 1981

Poster Board I-1003

Congenital dyserythropoietic anemias (CDAs) are a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by ineffective erythropoiesis with prominent dysplastic features of the erythroid precursors in the bone marrow. Three main subtypes (I, II and III) have been identified, but several variants or atypical forms have been reported over the years. CDA are rarely associated with hydrops foetalis. In the past we described two cases presenting with hydrops foetalis and very severe anemia that were classified as atypical CDAs since they presented CDAII-like erythroblastic morphological features lacking other diagnostic CDAII markers. Very recently we and others (Bianchi et al, Human Mutat 2009, in press; Schwarz et al, Nat Genet 2009, in press) demonstrated that mutations in SEC23B gene, coding for a protein involved in the coat protein complex responsible for vesicle budding from the endoplasmic reticulum, cause CDA II. The aim of this work was to ascertain whether atypical CDAII-like forms presenting as hydrops foetalis could be caused by mutations in SEC23B gene and reclassified as CDAII. Two patients (Cantù-Rajnoldi et al, Br J Haematol 1997, 96: 530-3; Bianchi et al, Blood 1999, 94, suppl 1, 8b) from unrelated families with a history of intrauterine death of hydropic foetuses in previous pregnancies were referred at 20th week gestation following ultrasonic diagnosis of foetal hydrops and severe anemia (2.0 and 1.3 g/dL Hb respectively). In both cases intrauterine transfusions enabled the delivery of the babies. At birth both of them underwent extensive laboratory evaluation (including red cell metabolism and membrane proteins analysis) that was not informative on the causes of anemia. Ham test was repeatedly normal as for Western blotting analysis for GRP78 and glycoslylation pattern of red cell band 3. The bone marrow examination revealed the presence of 30 and 48% of bi- or multinucleated erythroblasts, some of whom presenting typical double outer membranes at transmission electron microscopy. Both babies became transfusion dependent. The 20 exons and intronic flanking regions of SEC23B gene were analyzed by direct sequencing. Both patients displayed mutations in SEC23B gene, in particular mutations c.325 G>A/ c.2101 C>T in patient 1 and c.325 G>A/ c.197G>A in patient 2 (Glu109Lys/ Arg701Cys and Glu109Lys/ Cys66Tyr respectively). c.325 G>A is the most frequent mutation so far described in CDAII and at homozygous level is usually associated with mild anemia. When found in compound heterozygosity with a second missense mutation as in these cases it may result in a very severe clinical pattern, although we cannot exclude that factors other than SEC23B mutations may contribute to worsening the clinical picture. In conclusion, SEC23B gene analysis allowed the correct classification of two very severe CDA cases associated with hydrops foetalis. This finding indicates that CDAII may result in intrauterine death and its frequency may therefore be underestimated. These cases may present as “atypical” for the lack of band3 hypoglycosylation likely due to the early sequestration of the more severely affected cells.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.