Submitted Successfully!
To reward your contribution, here is a gift for you: A free trial for our video production service.
Thank you for your contribution! You can also upload a video entry or images related to this topic.
Version Summary Created by Modification Content Size Created at Operation
1 + 724 word(s) 724 2020-12-15 07:27:47

Video Upload Options

Do you have a full video?


Are you sure to Delete?
If you have any further questions, please contact Encyclopedia Editorial Office.
Xu, C. Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 22 April 2024).
Xu C. Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 22, 2024.
Xu, Camila. "Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 22, 2024).
Xu, C. (2020, December 23). Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome. In Encyclopedia.
Xu, Camila. "Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome." Encyclopedia. Web. 23 December, 2020.
Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome

Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome is a condition caused by low levels of vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin).

genetic conditions

1. Introduction

The primary feature of this condition is a blood disorder called megaloblastic anemia. In this form of anemia, which is a disorder characterized by the shortage of red blood cells, the red cells that are present are abnormally large. About half of people with Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome also have high levels of protein in their urine (proteinuria). Although proteinuria can be an indication of kidney problems, people with Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome appear to have normal kidney function.

Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome typically begins in infancy or early childhood. The blood abnormality leads to many of the signs and symptoms of the condition, including an inability to grow and gain weight at the expected rate (failure to thrive), pale skin (pallor), excessive tiredness (fatigue), and recurring gastrointestinal or respiratory infections. Other features of Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome include mild neurological problems, such as weak muscle tone (hypotonia), numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, movement problems, delayed development, or confusion. Rarely, affected individuals have abnormalities of organs or tissues that make up the urinary tract, such as the bladder or the tubes that carry fluid from the kidneys to the bladder (the ureters).

2. Frequency

Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome is a rare condition that was first described in Finland and Norway; in these regions, the condition is estimated to affect 1 in 200,000 people. The condition has also been reported in other countries worldwide; its prevalence in these countries is unknown.

3. Causes

Mutations in the AMN or CUBN gene can cause Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome. The AMN gene provides instructions for making a protein called amnionless, and the CUBN gene provides instructions for making a protein called cubilin. Together, these proteins play a role in the uptake of vitamin B12 from food. Vitamin B12, which cannot be made in the body and can only be obtained from food, is essential for the formation of DNA and proteins, the production of cellular energy, and the breakdown of fats. This vitamin is involved in the formation of red blood cells and maintenance of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).

The amnionless protein is embedded primarily in the membrane of kidney cells and cells that line the small intestine. Amnionless attaches (binds) to cubilin, anchoring cubilin to the cell membrane. Cubilin can interact with molecules and proteins passing through the intestine or kidneys. During digestion, vitamin B12 is released from food. As the vitamin passes through the small intestine, cubilin binds to it. Amnionless helps transfer the cubilin-vitamin B12 complex into the intestinal cell. From there, the vitamin is released into the blood and transported throughout the body. In the kidney, the amnionless and cubilin proteins are involved in the reabsorption of certain proteins that would otherwise be released in urine.

Mutations in the AMN gene prevent cubilin from attaching to the cells in the small intestine and kidneys. Without cubilin function in the small intestine, vitamin B12 is not taken into the body. A shortage of this essential vitamin impairs the proper development of red blood cells, leading to megaloblastic anemia. Low levels of vitamin B12 can also affect the central nervous system, causing neurological problems. In addition, without cubilin function in the kidneys, proteins are not reabsorbed and are instead released in urine, leading to proteinuria.

Like AMN gene mutations, some CUBN gene mutations impair cubilin's function in both the small intestine and the kidneys, leading to a shortage of vitamin B12 and proteinuria. Other CUBN gene mutations affect cubilin's function only in the small intestine, impairing uptake of vitamin B12 into the intestinal cells. Individuals with these mutations have a shortage of vitamin B12, which can lead to megaloblastic anemia and neurological problems, but not proteinuria.

4. Inheritance

This condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.

5. Other Names for This Condition

  • defect of enterocyte intrinsic factor receptor

  • enterocyte cobalamin malabsorption

  • Imerslund-Grasbeck syndrome

  • juvenile pernicious anemia with proteinuria due to selective intestinal malabsorption of vitamin B12

  • megaloblastic anemia 1


  1. Gräsbeck R. Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome (selective vitamin B(12) malabsorptionwith proteinuria). Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2006 May 19;1:17. Review.
  2. Kozyraki R, Cases O. Vitamin B12 absorption: mammalian physiology and acquiredand inherited disorders. Biochimie. 2013 May;95(5):1002-7. doi:10.1016/j.biochi.2012.11.004.
  3. Kristiansen M, Aminoff M, Jacobsen C, de La Chapelle A, Krahe R, Verroust PJ, Moestrup SK. Cubilin P1297L mutation associated with hereditary megaloblasticanemia 1 causes impaired recognition of intrinsic factor-vitamin B(12) bycubilin. Blood. 2000 Jul 15;96(2):405-9.
  4. Tanner SM, Sturm AC, Baack EC, Liyanarachchi S, de la Chapelle A. Inheritedcobalamin malabsorption. Mutations in three genes reveal functional and ethnicpatterns. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2012 Aug 28;7:56. doi: 10.1186/1750-1172-7-56.
  5. Watkins D, Rosenblatt DS. Lessons in biology from patients with inborn errors of vitamin B12 metabolism. Biochimie. 2013 May;95(5):1019-22. doi:10.1016/j.biochi.2013.01.013.
Contributor MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to :
View Times: 337
Entry Collection: MedlinePlus
Revision: 1 time (View History)
Update Date: 23 Dec 2020