Moyamoya disease

Neuropathology. 2000 Sep;20 Suppl:S61-4. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1789.2000.00300.x.


Moyamoya disease is a specific chronic cerebrovascular occlusive disease first reported by Japanese surgeons in 1957. The disease is characterized by stenosis or occlusion of the terminal portions of the bilateral internal carotid arteries and abnormal vascular network in the vicinity of the arterial occlusion. It may cause ischemic attacks or cerebral infarction, which is more frequent in children than in adults. In adults, cerebral hemorrhage may occur. The disease is distributed in all age groups, but the highest peak is in childhood at less than 10 years of age. The characteristic histopathologic features of the steno-occlusive arteries are fibrocellular thickening of the intima containing proliferated smooth muscle cells and prominently tortuous and often duplicated internal elastic lamina. There is usually no atheromatous plaque in the arterial wall. Etiology of the disease is still unknown; however, multifactorial inheritance is considered possible because of a higher incidence of the disease in Japanese and Koreans and approximately 10% of familial occurrence among the Japanese. Recent genetic studies suggest some responsible genetic foci in chromosomes 3, 6 and 17.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carotid Artery, Internal / pathology
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Moyamoya Disease / genetics
  • Moyamoya Disease / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Therapeutics