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Hypoventilation and progressive encephalopathy in a neonate with MTHFR deficiency
  1. Kiran Vemireddy1,
  2. Nalinikanta Panigrahy1,
  3. Lokesh Lingappa2 and
  4. Dinesh Chirla1
  1. 1Neonatology, Rainbow Children's Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
  2. 2Pediatric Neurology, Rainbow Children's Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nalinikanta Panigrahy; nalini199{at}


Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive inherited inborn error of metabolism, which presents with various severity depending on the level of residual enzyme activity. In neonates, it can present with recurrent hypoventilation episodes, persistent encephalopathy with or without microcephaly. MTHFR deficiency also results in hyperhomocysteinemia, homocystinuria and hypomethionemia. We report a male neonate with severe MTHFR deficiency presenting to us on third week of life with progressive encephalopathy, microcephaly, seizures, central hypoventilation. There was similar history in the previous sibling. The patient’s blood lactate, ammonia, tandem mass spectrometry for amino acids and acyl carnitine were normal. He remained encephalopathic with progressive increase in need of respiratory support in spite of supportive treatment and metabolic cocktail consisting of riboflavin, pyridoxine, coenzyme Q and carnitine. This neonate had novel homozygous mutation, which results in MTHFR deficiency. In newborn with hypoventilation or recurrent apnoea with encephalopathy and microcephaly, MTHFR deficiency should be considered as a differential diagnosis. Mutation study helps in confirming diagnosis; however, extended newborn metabolic screening with homocysteine level could help in early diagnosis of these cases.

  • hydrocephalus
  • neonatal health
  • neonatal and paediatric intensive care

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  • Contributors KV—written the case report. NP—written and edited manuscript. LL—edited manuscript. DC—edited manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.