Unmasking adrenoleukodystrophy in a cohort of cerebellar ataxia.

Research paper by Ying-Hao YH Chen, Yi-Chung YC Lee, Yu-Shuen YS Tsai, Yuh-Cherng YC Guo, Cheng-Tsung CT Hsiao, Pei-Chien PC Tsai, Jin-An JA Huang, Yi-Chu YC Liao, Bing-Wen BW Soong

Indexed on: 10 May '17Published on: 10 May '17Published in: PloS one


Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is a rare and progressive neurogenetic disease that may manifest disparate symptoms. The present study aims at investigating the role of ataxic variant of ALD (AVALD) in patients with adult-onset cerebellar ataxia, as well as characterizing their clinical features that distinguish AVALD from other cerebellar ataxias. Mutations in the ATP binding cassette subfamily D member 1 gene (ABCD1) were ascertained in 516 unrelated patients with ataxia. The patients were categorized into three groups: molecularly unassigned hereditary ataxia (n = 118), sporadic ataxia with autonomic dysfunctions (n = 296), and sporadic ataxia without autonomic dysfunctions (n = 102). Brain MRIs were scrutinized for white matter hyperintensity (WMH) in the parieto-occipital lobes, frontal lobes, corticospinal tracts, pons, middle cerebellar peduncles and cerebellar hemispheres. Two ABCD1 mutations (p.S108L and p.P623fs) previously linked to cerebral ALD and adrenomyeloneuropathy but not AVALD were identified. ALD accounts for 0.85% (1/118) of the patients with molecularly unassigned hereditary ataxia and 0.34% (1/296) of the patients with sporadic ataxia with autonomic dysfunctions. WMH in the corticospinal tracts and WMH in the cerebellar hemispheres were strongly associated with AVALD rather than other ataxias. To conclude, ALD accounts for approximately 0.39% (2/516) of adult-onset cerebellar ataxias. This study expands the mutational spectrum of AVALD and underscores the importance of considering ALD as a potential etiology of cerebellar ataxia.