- Human pathology

Home > D. General pathology > Blood and immunity > Blackfan-Diamond anemia

Blackfan-Diamond anemia


Wednesday 26 November 2003

Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a rare congenital red-cell aplasia characterized by anemia, bone-marrow erythroblastopenia, and congenital anomalies.


It is associated with heterozygous mutations in the ribosomal protein (RP) S19 gene (RPS19) in approximately 25% of probands.

There are de novo nonsense and splice-site mutations in another RP, RPS24 (encoded by RPS24 [10q22-q23]) in approximately 2% of RPS19 mutation-negative probands.

DBA is a disorder of ribosome synthesis. Mutations in ribosomal proteins or associated genes lead to disrupted ribosomal biogenesis and/or function that may cause DBA.

The phenotype of DBA patients suggests a hematological stem cell defect specifically affecting the erythroid progenitor population.

This is difficult to reconcile with the known function of the single known DBA gene. The RPS19 protein is involved in the production of ribosomes. As such, loss of RPS19 function would be predicted to affect translation and protein biosynthesis and have a much broader impact.

Disease features may be related to the nature of RPS19 mutations. The disease is characterized by dominant inheritance, and therefore arises due to a partial loss of RPS19 protein function. It is possible that erythroid progenitors are acutely sensitized to this decreased function, while most other tissues are unaffected.

Clinical synopsis

Diamond-Blackfan anemia is characterized by anemia (low red blood cell counts) with decreased erythroid progenitors in the bone marrow. This usually develops during the neonatal period.

About 47% of affected individuals also have a variety of congenital abnormalities, including craniofacial malformations, thumb or upper limb abnormalities, cardiac defects, urogenital malformations, and cleft palate.

Low birth weight and generalized growth delay are sometimes observed. DBA patients have a modest risk of developing leukemia and other malignancies.


DBA1 19q13.2 MIM.105650 RPS19 MIM.603474
DBA2 8p23-p22 MIM.606129 Unknown -
DBA3 10q22-q23 MIM.610629 RPS24 -
DBA4 15q MIM.612527 RPS17 -
DBA5 3q29-qter MIM.612528 RPL35A -
DBA6 1p22.1 MIM.612561 RPL5 -
DBA7 1p36.1-p35 MIM.612562 RPL11 -
DBA8 2p25 MIM.612563 RPS7 -


Typically, a diagnosis of DBA is made through a simple blood count and a bone marrow biopsy.

A diagnosis of DBA is made on the basis of anemia, low reticulocyte (immature red blood cells) counts, and diminished erythroid precursors in bone marrow.

Features that support a diagnosis of DBA include the presence of congenital abnormalities, macrocytosis, elevated fetal hemoglobin, and elevated adenosine deaminase levels in red blood cells.

Most patients are diagnosed in the first two years of life. However, some mildly affected individuals only receive attention after a more severely affected family member is identified.

About 20-25% of DBA patients may be identified with a genetic test for mutations in the RPS19 gene.


- Gazda HT, Grabowska A, Merida-Long LB, Latawiec E, Schneider HE, Lipton JM, Vlachos A, Atsidaftos E, Ball SE, Orfali KA, Niewiadomska E, Da Costa L, Tchernia G, Niemeyer C, Meerpohl JJ, Stahl J, Schratt G, Glader B, Backer K, Wong C, Nathan DG, Beggs AH, Sieff CA. Ribosomal protein S24 gene is mutated in Diamond-Blackfan anemia. Am J Hum Genet. 2006 Dec;79(6):1110-8. Epub 2006 Nov 2. PMID: 17186470

- MIM.205900