Pancytopenia in propionic acidemia: Hematologic evaluation and studies of hematopoiesis in vitro

Linda C. Stork, Daniel R. Ambruso, Stephen F. Wallner, James E. Sambrano, Lynn C. Moscinski, Harry L. Wilson, Edward R.B. McCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


This study investigated the hematologic abnormalities of an infant with propionic acidemia and reversible pancytopenia. Light and electron microscopy of her bone marrow revealed severely disturbed cellular morphology with trilineage dysmyelopoiesis, hemophagocyto-sis, and numerous multinucleated histiocytes and megakaryocytes. The effects of her serum and of organic acids associated with propionic acidemia were studied on hematopoiesis in vitro. Mouse erythroid (CFU-E) and granulocyte-monocyte colonies (CFU-GM) were assayed by fibrin clot technique; human CFU-GM were grown in agar culture. The infant's serum reduced mouse CFU-E and CFU-GM by 43 and 32%, respectively, compared with normal human sera, but had no effect on human CFU-GM in our culture system. Buffered propionic acid caused concentration-dependent inhibition of mouse CFU-E and human CFU-GM over a range reported in sera of acutely ill infants with propionic acidemia. Neither cell viability nor subsequent colony formation was diminished by preincubation of bone marrow cells with propionic acid for 48 h. The three other organic acids studied, tiglic acid, 3-OH propionate, and glycine, did not inhibit growth of mouse CFU-E, CFU-GM, or human CFU-GM, and glycine significantly enhanced formation of the latter. Evaluation of the infant's hematologic abnormalities suggests that inhibition of bone marrow proliferation and maturation and, perhaps, shortened red blood cell survival were responsible for her pancytopenia. The studies performed in vitro implicate propionic acid in this hematopoietic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-788
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Pancytopenia in propionic acidemia: Hematologic evaluation and studies of hematopoiesis in vitro'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this