Clinical report of three patients with hereditary hemochromatosis and movement disorders

Mov Disord. 2000 Nov;15(6):1204-9. doi: 10.1002/1531-8257(200011)15:6<1204::aid-mds1021>;2-t.


Neurologic manifestations are rarely described in hereditary hemochromatosis (HH). We describe three patients with HH and movement disorders. Patient 1, a 69-year-old man, had a 13-year history of disabling cerebellar syndrome, action tremor and myoclonus, and secondary dementia. Patient 2 was a 40-year-old man with a 9-year history of cerebellar syndrome, head and arm tremor, and cervical dystonia. Patient 3, a 75-year-old woman, had a 5-year history of rapidly disabling parkinsonian syndrome unresponsive to levodopa. The diagnosis of HH was established in the three patients by iron tests, evidence of a C282Y mutation, and, in two patients, by liver biopsy. High-field T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging showed hyperintense signals in hemispheric white matter in patient 1, cerebellar atrophy in patient 2, and cerebellar and cerebral atrophy in patient 3 and no significant hypointense signals in the three patients. Phlebotomies and symptomatic treatments did not change the course of the disease. Our cases are compared with the five previously reported observations of HH with movement disorders. This rare association is one cause of the chronic acquired non-Wilsonian hepatocerebral degeneration syndromes and represents a separate entity from aceruloplasminemia. The pathophysiologic mechanism of movement disorders in HH is unresolved. No hepatic insufficiency and portosystemic encephalopathy is evidenced in our cases, whereas the putative role of abnormal iron load remains to be ascertained. HH should be investigated more systematically in patients with movement disorders.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hemochromatosis / blood
  • Hemochromatosis / complications*
  • Hemochromatosis / diagnosis
  • Hemochromatosis / genetics
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / blood
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / genetics
  • Humans
  • Iron / adverse effects
  • Iron / blood*
  • Male
  • Movement Disorders / blood
  • Movement Disorders / diagnosis
  • Movement Disorders / genetics*


  • Iron