Neonatal hemochromatosis with εγδβ-thalassemia: a case report and analysis of serum iron regulators

Mitsuru Tsuge, Aya Kodera, Hiromi Sumitomo, Tooru Araki, Ryuichi Yoshida, Kazuya Yasui, Hiroki Sato, Yosuke Washio, Kana Washio, Kenji Shigehara, Masato Yashiro, Takahito Yagi, Hirokazu Tsukahara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Neonatal hemochromatosis causes acute liver failure during the neonatal period, mostly due to gestational alloimmune liver disease (GALD). Thalassemia causes hemolytic anemia and ineffective erythropoiesis due to mutations in the globin gene. Although neonatal hemochromatosis and thalassemia have completely different causes, the coexistence of these diseases can synergistically exacerbate iron overload. We report that a newborn with εγδβ-thalassemia developed neonatal hemochromatosis, which did not respond to iron chelators and rapidly worsened, requiring living-donor liver transplantation. Case presentation: A 1-day-old Japanese boy with hemolytic anemia and targeted red blood cells was diagnosed with εγδβ-thalassemia by genetic testing, and required frequent red blood cell transfusions. At 2 months after birth, exacerbation of jaundice, grayish-white stool, and high serum ferritin levels were observed, and liver biopsy showed iron deposition in hepatocytes and Kupffer cells. Magnetic resonance imaging scans showed findings suggestive of iron deposits in the liver, spleen, pancreas, and bone marrow. The total amount of red blood cell transfusions administered did not meet the criteria for post-transfusion iron overload. Administration of an iron-chelating agent was initiated, but iron overload rapidly progressed to liver failure without improvement in jaundice and liver damage. He underwent living-donor liver transplantation from his mother, after which iron overload disappeared, and no recurrence of iron overload was observed. Immunohistochemical staining for C5b-9 in the liver was positive. Serum hepcidin levels were low and serum growth differentiation factor-15 levels were high prior to living-donor liver transplantation. Conclusions: We reported that an infant with εγδβ-thalassemia developed NH due to GALD, and that coexistence of ineffective erythropoiesis in addition to erythrocyte transfusions may have exacerbated iron overload. Low serum hepcidin levels, in this case, might have been caused by decreased hepcidin production arising from fetal liver damage due to neonatal hemochromatosis and increased hepcidin-inhibiting hematopoietic mediators due to the ineffective hematopoiesis observed in thalassemia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number622
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Case report
  • Gestational alloimmune liver disease
  • Growth differentiation factor-15
  • Hepcidin
  • Ineffective erythropoiesis
  • Liver transplantation
  • Neonatal hemochromatosis
  • Thalassemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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