Cree leukoencephalopathy: neuroimaging findings

Radiology. 1999 Nov;213(2):400-6. doi: 10.1148/radiology.213.2.r99oc28400.


Purpose: To describe the computed tomographic (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings in Cree leukoencephalopathy.

Materials and methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records and neuroimaging studies in 12 infants with Cree leukoencephalopathy (CT in 12 infants, MR in six). The diagnosis was established clinically in six patients and at autopsy in the other six.

Results: At CT, extensive, diffuse, and symmetric hypoattenuation was seen in the cerebral and cerebellar white matter in all 12 patients. Hypoattenuation was also seen in the corpus callosum in 11 (92%), internal capsule in 10 (83%), globus pallidus in nine (75%), brainstem in nine (75%), and thalamus in four (33%). The caudate nucleus and putamen were spared. On T2-weighted MR images in six patients, the cerebral and cerebellar white matter, including the subcortical arcuate fibers, was hyperintense as were the internal capsule, corpus callosum, corticospinal tracts, and globus pallidus. The thalamus was affected in four (67%) patients, pons in five (83%), and medulla in four (33%). The caudate nucleus and putamen were not affected.

Conclusion: Cree leukoencephalopathy causes striking symmetric and diffuse involvement of the cerebral and cerebellar white matter and brainstem with sparing of the caudate nucleus and putamen.

MeSH terms

  • Encephalitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Encephalitis / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Manitoba
  • Quebec
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed