Diagnostic Dilemma: Osteopetrosis with superimposed rickets causing Neonatal Hypocalcemia

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Abstract

Osteopetrosis is a rare genetic condition of reduced osteoclastic bone resorption which causes defective bone remodeling and skeletal sclerosis during growth, having effects on many organs and tissues. Mutation of T-cell immune regulator 1 (TCRG1) gene is the most common genetic defect leading to osteopetrosis, with poor prognosis. The autosomal recessive form presents in the infantile period (also known as malignant infantile osteopetrosis – MIOP), and is characterized by fractures, short stature, hepatosplenomegaly, compressive neuropathies, hypocalcemia and pancytopenia. Being a rare disease with non-specific clinical manifestations, the diagnosis is difficult and usually delayed. Rickets is a characteristic feature of MIOP which results from the defect in osteoclasts to provide a normal Ca/P balance resulting in the poor mineralization of the osteoid. Various treatment options have been suggested for osteopetrosis, but hematopoietic stem cell transplantation still remains the only curative treatment option presently. The authors report the case of a 46-day-old girl with late-onset neonatal hypocalcemia and rickets that was later diagnosed as osteopetrosis. This case report emphasizes that infantile osteopetrosis is an important cause of neonatal hypocalcemia. As irreversible complications develop within the first months of life, immediate diagnosis and early intervention are crucial and may be life-saving.

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