Tricho-hepato-enteric syndrome with novel SKIV2L gene mutations: A case report

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Tricho-hepato-enteric syndrome (THES) is a rare disorder caused by mutations in the TTC37 or SKIV2L genes and characterized by chronic diarrhea, liver disease, hair abnormalities, and high mortality in early childhood due to severe infection or liver cirrhosis.

Patient concerns:

The patient is the second child of three siblings born to non-consanguineous healthy Japanese parents. She had intrauterine growth retardation and was delivered at 33 weeks of gestation due to placental abruption. She presented with watery diarrhea, elevated levels of liver enzymes, multiple episodes of recurrent bacterial infection, and mild mental retardation. She had facial dysmorphism, including prominent forehead and hypertelorism, and had woolly hair without trichorrhexis nodosa.


Clinical features led to consideration of THES. Novel compound heterozygous nonsense mutations, c.1420G>T (p.Q474*) and c.3262G>T (p.E1088*), in the SKIV2L gene were identified in the patient, and decreased levels of SKIV2L protein expression were revealed by flow cytometry and confirmed by western blot analysis using patient peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).


Total parenteral nutrition was required from day 30 to day 100. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole prophylaxis was started at the age of 7 years after multiple episodes of bacterial pneumonia and otitis media.


Chronic diarrhea persisted for more than 10 years, but the symptoms gradually improved with age. At the age of 13 years, she started a normal diet in combination with oral nutritional supplementation and her height and weight were just below the 3rd percentile for healthy individuals. She developed secondary sex characteristics, and menarche occurred at the age of 12 years. Facial dysmorphism, including prominent forehead and hypertelorism, and woolly hair without trichorrhexis nodosa became noticeable as she matured.


Physicians must be aware of THES when they encounter a patient with infantile diarrhea, hair abnormalities, immune deficiency, mental retardation, and liver disease. Moreover, flow cytometric detection of SKIV2L protein in PBMCs may facilitate early diagnosis.

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