Severe neonatal onset of glycogenosis type IV: Clinical and laboratory findings leading to diagnosis in two siblings

B. Giuffrè, R. Parini, T. Rizzuti, L. Morandi, O. P. van Diggelen, C. Bruno, M. Giuffrè, G. Corsello, F. Mosca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glycogenosis type IV is an autosomal recessive disease, exceptionally diagnosed at birth: only very few reports of the fatal perinatal neuromuscular form have been described. We report on two sibling male newborns who died at 10 and 4 weeks of age with clinical signs of a systemic storage disease. Prenatal history included polyhydramnios, reduced fetal movements and fetal hydrops, Caesarean section was performed at 36 weeks of gestational age because of fetal distress. At birth, both babies showed severe hypotonia, hyporeflexia and no spontaneous breathing activity. They never showed active movements, sucking and swallowing and were respirator-dependent until death. A muscle biopsy revealed, in both patients, the presence of PAS-positive and partially diastase-resistant cytoplasmic inclusions containing granular and filamentous amylopectin-like material. This suggested that the stored material consisted of abnormal glycogen. At autopsy, ultrastructural examination of cardiac and skeletal muscle, liver,kidney and brain showed PAS-positive diastase-resistant eosinophilic cytoplasmic inclusions. Determination of branching enzyme activity, in cultured fibroblasts from the second patient, showed markedly reduced enzyme activity, confirming diagnosis of glycogenosis type IV. Our patients showed the full spectrum of both prenatal signs (hydrops, polyhydramnios) and postnatal signs (hypotonia, hyporeflexia, absence of active movements, cardiomegaly), which have been reported previously. They suffered from a very severe form of glycogenosis type IV with clinical and histological involvement of many tissues and organs. Diagnosis was accomplished on the second baby and required several biochemical and histological studies, in order to rule out both neuromuscular disorders and the most common storage diseases with neonatal onset. In our experience, the correct interpretation of the histological findings was essential in the search for the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-619
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Inherited Metabolic Disease
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology


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