Methylmalonic acidemia mimicking diabetic ketoacidosis in an infant

Guven A., Cebeci N., DURSUN A., Aktekin E. H., Baumgartner M. R., Fowler B.

PEDIATRIC DIABETES, vol.13, no.6, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/j.1399-5448.2011.00784.x
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Guven A, Cebeci N, Dursun A, Aktekin EH, Baumgartner MR, Fowler B. Methylmalonic acidemia mimicking diabetic ketoacidosis in an infant. Methylmalonic acidemia (MMA) is an inherited organic acidemia usually present with recurrent episodes of acute illness. A typical episode is ushered in with ketonuria and vomiting, followed by acidosis, dehydration, and lethargy, leading, in the absence of aggressive treatment, to coma and death. We report an infant with MMA presented with diabetes symptoms. A 13-month-old girl complained of polydipsia, diuresis, and loss of weight. She had clinical signs of diabetic ketoacidosis such as dehydration, deep sighing respiration, smell of ketones, lethargy, and vomiting. Laboratory analysis showed hyperglycemia with acidosis and ketonuria. She was treated with parenteral fluid, electrolyte, and insulin infusion. Two days after her discharge, after having a meal rich in protein, she was brought unconscious with hepatomegaly, severe acidosis, ketonuria, and mild hyperammonemia. The absence of hyperglycemia and the presence of neurologic findings suggested organic acidemia. MMA was diagnosed because of methylmalonic aciduria and elevated C3 carnitine esters. Cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed increased uptake of radiocontrast material in the basal ganglia bilaterally. A homozygous mutation in exon 4 of the MMAA gene was found in mutation analysis and confirmed the diagnosis of cblA-deficient MMA. Neurologic regression was improved with treatment of low-protein diet, vitamin B12, and l-carnitine. In patients born to consanguineous parents who admit during infancy with severe acidosis refractory to treatment, organic acidemias should be kept in mind, even they have high blood glucose. The definitive diagnosis is important because it may allow a specific treatment and a favorable evolution to prevent the sequelae.