Autosomal dominant diffuse leukoencephalopathy with neuroaxonal spheroids

M. S. Van Der Knaap, S. Naidu, B. K. Kleinschmidt-DeMasters, W. Kamphorst, H. C. Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Objective: To provide clinical, MRI, and histopathologic findings in a rare white matter disorder with autosomal dominant inheritance, so-called hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with spheroids (HDLS). Background: Progressive leukoencephalopathies often constitute a diagnostic dilemma in both children and adults. In some cases, histopathologic examination of brain tissue is required for a classifying diagnosis. Methods: Clinical history, MRI, and autopsy findings were reviewed in three patients with HDLS: a father, his daughter, and an unrelated patient. Results: Clinical history consisted of an adult-onset neurologic deterioration with signs of frontal lobe dysfunction, epilepsy, spasticity, ataxia, and mild extrapyramidal disturbances. MRI findings included cerebral atrophy and patchy white matter changes, most pronounced in the frontal and frontoparietal area with extension through the posterior limb of the internal capsule into the pyramidal tracts of the brainstem. Autopsy in two patients revealed a leukoencephalopathy with frontoparietal and frontal preponderance and numerous neuroaxonal spheroids in the abnormal white matter. The pyramidal tracts were affected throughout the brainstem. Conclusion: Similar clinical and histopathologic findings have been reported in members of a Swedish pedigree. The homogeneity of the findings strongly suggests that HDLS is a distinct disease entity. In the absence of a biochemical or genetic marker, a definitive diagnosis requires histopathologic confirmation in one of the affected family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-468
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 25 2000


  • Autosomal dominant
  • Leukoencephalopathy
  • Neuroaxonal spheroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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