Indian Journal of Nephrology About us |  Subscription |  e-Alerts  | Feedback | Login   
  Print this page Email this page   Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size
 Home | Current Issue | Archives| Ahead of print | Search |Instructions |  Editorial Board  

Users Online:1966

Official publication of the Indian Society of Nephrology
 ~  Similar in PUBMED
 ~  Search Pubmed for
 ~  Search in Google Scholar for
 ~Related articles
 ~  Article in PDF (608 KB)
 ~  Citation Manager
 ~  Access Statistics
 ~  Reader Comments
 ~  Email Alert *
 ~  Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  Case Report
   Article Figures
   Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded103    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal


  Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 455-457

Imerslund-Grasbeck syndrome in a 5-year-old Iranian boy

1 Pediatric Congenital Hematologic Disorders Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Functional Neurosurgery Research Center, Shohada Tajrish Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Date of Web Publication10-Nov-2016

Correspondence Address:
N Zavvar
Pediatric Congenital Hematologic Disorders Research Center, Mofid Children Hospital, Shariati Street, Tehran
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-4065.175984

Rights and Permissions


Imerslund-Grasbeck syndrome (IGS) is a rare syndrome characterized by clinical symptoms and signs of Vitamin B 12 deficiency and proteinuria. Our patient was a 5-year-old boy with pallor, lack of appetite, and low weight gain. Laboratory studies showed severe macrocytic anemia, normal reticulocyte count, negative direct coombs test, normal osmotic fragility, and autohemolysis test. He has had intermittent proteinuria since 3 years ago despite normal creatinine level and absence of hematuria or hypertension. Finally, based on low level of serum B 12 vitamin and normal folate level accompanied by asymptomatic proteinuria, the diagnosis of IGS was made. Furthermore, his sister has had laboratory abnormalities without any symptoms. IGS responded to B 12 replacement therapy dramatically but intermittent proteinuria persisted even after appropriate therapy.

Keywords: Imerslund-Grasbeck syndrome, megaloblastic anemia, pessary cell, proteinuria

How to cite this article:
Goudarzipour K, Zavvar N, Behnam B, Ahmadi M A. Imerslund-Grasbeck syndrome in a 5-year-old Iranian boy. Indian J Nephrol 2016;26:455-7

How to cite this URL:
Goudarzipour K, Zavvar N, Behnam B, Ahmadi M A. Imerslund-Grasbeck syndrome in a 5-year-old Iranian boy. Indian J Nephrol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Jun 20];26:455-7. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Imerslund-Grasbeck syndrome (IGS) is a rare disorder with autosomal recessive inheritance that affected children between 1 and 5 years old and is recognized by megaloblastic anemia, asymptomatic intermittent proteinuria, and Vitamin B 12 deficiency. [1] Other manifestations including failure to thrive, recurrent gastrointestinal, respiratory infections, and mild neurological signs and symptoms can be seen in these patients. [2] IGS can be associated with genitourinary malformation, [3],[4] dolichocephaly, β-thalassemia trait, and diabetes mellitus. The syndrome does not manifest immediately after birth and almost always affects children from 4 months after birth up to several years. [5]

Laboratory investigations have been shown that intestinal cell wall morphology and intrinsic factor (IF) production are normal, and no evidence of antibody against these components was found. However, the only abnormal finding was a selective cobalamin malabsorption not responding to IF administration. Mutations in cubilin gene on chromosome 10 or amnionless on chromosome 14 have been found responsible for this syndrome. [5] Life long treatment is needed for IGS. It responds well to intramuscular administration of 1 mg hydroxocobalamin for 10 days and then monthly. Herein, we present a 5-year-old Iranian boy presented with fatigue and loss of appetite that finally diagnosed with IGS.

  Case Report Top

A 5-year-old boy was referred with fatigue, loss of appetite, and failure to thrive. The patient was second child of consanguineous parents. He had been vaccinated as routine and had used iron supplement up to 18 months of age. The patient's mother who was taken him to the clinic mentioned that the boy was in a usual state of health until 4 months ago who gradually developed fatigue, low level of activity, and decreased appetite.

According to the mother, the patient had not gained any weight during last 8 months. On medical history, the patient has had intermittent proteinuria (2 + -3 + ) since 4 years ago in the absence of hematuria, serum creatinine rising, or hypertension. No history of fever, recent infection, and neurologic deficits were evident, and he was not on any drugs.

On physical examination, his vital signs were in normal limits (temperature: 36.3°C, blood pressure: 103/79 mmHg, pulse rate: 99/min, respiratory rate: 23/min) but was pale without hepatosplenomegaly or lymphadenopathy and had normal results in general neurologic examination.

Laboratory findings showed severe anemia (hemoglobin: 5.2 g/dl, mean corpuscular volume: 103, reticulocyte count 1%). Direct/indirect coombs test was negative, and he had normal osmotic fragility (42%) and autohemolysis test. Other laboratory findings were as follow: Ferritin of 375 (normal range: 18-341), iron of 188 (normal range: 60-180), and TIBC of 201 (normal range: 230-410).

Finally, due to the macrocytic anemia serum folate and B 12 levels were assessed that showed a low level of serum B 12 (74 pg/ml, normal range of 191-663) and normal folate (>20, normal range: 3.1-17.5 ng/ml). Ultrasonography of kidneys, genitourinary system, and liver revealed no abnormalities. On bone marrow aspiration and especially peripheral blood smear, some "pessary" or "ring-like" RBC were notable [Figure 1]. Thus, the diagnosis of IGS was established based on megaloblastic anemia, low level of serum B 12 , and asymptomatic proteinuria. The patient placed on oral Vitamin B 12 100 μg/day for 10 days and then 300 μg monthly. In addition, two units of packed red blood cells were given to the patient at the first day of admission due to his severe anemia. In 8 months follow-up, the patient's anemia got completely resolved; however, episodic proteinuria persisted despite treatment [Table 1]. Moreover, evaluation of other family members indicated similar paraclinical findings in his 7 years old sister who was asymptomatic clinically.
Figure 1: Pessary cells on peripheral blood smear

Click here to view
Table 1: Some laboratory findings in patient's follow-up

Click here to view

  Discussion Top

In this reports, a 5-year-old boy was diagnosed with IGS after evaluation for growth retardation, intermittent proteinuria, and megaloblastic anemia. He was from consanguineous parents, and his sister was asymptomatic with same laboratory findings.

Similar to our patient, Wulffraat et al. [6] reported two girls with definite diagnosis of IGS, who their first manifestation was a failure to thrive. In contrast to our report, the patient, reported by Stones and Ferreira, [7] was a 16-month-old girl without any evidence of grow retardation at presentation. It has been hypothesized that differences in the age of onset and clinical findings are related to a different molecular defect in developing IGS. [8]

However, IGS is treated successfully by intramuscularly injection of 1 mg cobalamin for 10 days and then monthly for lifelong; orally replacement therapy of cobalamin is effective also. Prognosis is excellent with lifelong cobalamin replacement. Among symptoms, the proteinuria is the only symptoms that may persist even during treatment, without exacerbation or renal failure. [6] Our patient became symptom-free after 2 weeks of B 12 supplemental therapy and most of the laboratory findings resolved after 2 months except the intermittent proteinuria. It is important to keep in mind that proteinuria can continue even after Vitamin B 12 replacement therapy.

  Conclusion Top

Although IGS occurs rarely, it is important to consider this syndrome in a child who presented with anemia, growth retardation, and intermittent proteinuria who responds well to Vitamin B 12 treatment.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Bulut IK, Mutlubas F, Mir S, Balkan C. An infant with Imersland-Gräsbeck syndrome. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2012;23:569-71.  Back to cited text no. 1
  Medknow Journal  
Ovunc B, Otto EA, Vega-Warner V, Saisawat P, Ashraf S, Ramaswami G, et al. Exome sequencing reveals cubilin mutation as a single-gene cause of proteinuria. J Am Soc Nephrol 2011;22:1815-20.  Back to cited text no. 2
Hauck FH, Tanner SM, Henker J, Laass MW. Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome in a 15-year-old German girl caused by compound heterozygous mutations in CUBN. Eur J Pediatr 2008;167:671-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
Sandoval C, Bolten P, Franco I, Freeman S, Jayabose S. Recurrent urinary tract infections and genitourinary tract abnormalities in the Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome. Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2000;17:331-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
Gräsbeck R. Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome (selective vitamin B 12 malabsorption with proteinuria). Orphanet J Rare Dis 2006;1:17.  Back to cited text no. 5
Wulffraat NM, De Schryver J, Bruin M, Pinxteren-Nagler E, van Dijken PJ. Failure to thrive is an early symptom of the Imerslund Gräsbeck syndrome. Am J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 1994;16:177-80.  Back to cited text no. 6
Stones DK, Ferreira M. Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome in an African patient. J Trop Pediatr 1999;45:106-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
Altay C, Cetin M, Gümrük F, Irken G, Yetgin S, Laleli Y. Familial selective vitamin B 12 malabsorption (Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome) in a pool of Turkish patients. Pediatr Hematol Oncol 1995;12:19-28.  Back to cited text no. 8


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]


Print this article  Email this article


Indian Journal of Nephrology
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 20th Sept '07