Thiamine responsive anaemia: a study of two further cases


Dr C. Haworth, Department of Haematology, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Pendlebury, Manchester M27 1HA.


A brother and sister of Pakistani origin suffered from sensorineural deafness, diabetes mellitus and a macrocytic anaemia. Their bone marrows showed megaloblastic erythropoiesis and contained many ringed sideroblasts. Electron microscope studies of the bone marrow revealed (1) iron-laden mitochondria in many erythroblasts, (2) non-specific abnormalities indicative of dyserythropoiesis in some erythroblasts, and (3) evidence of ineffective erythropoiesis. The deoxyuridine suppression test indicated that the megaloblastic changes were not caused by an impairment of the methylation of deoxyuridylate. Studies of nucleic acid synthesis in the bone marrow cells showed that the rate of incorporation of [3H]thymidine into DNA was increased and that the rates of incorporation of [14C]glycine and [14C]adenine into both DNA and RNA were essentially within the normal range. The anaemia did not respond to therapy with hydroxocobalamin, folic acid or pyridoxine but responded to 25 mg thiamine, daily, by mouth. In one of the cases a post-thiamine marrow aspirate showed a considerable improvement in both the megaloblastic and sideroblastic changes.