Acanthocytosis occurs because of ultrastructural abnormalities of the erythrocyte membranous skeleton resulting in reduced membrane fluidity. At least three hereditary neurological conditions are associated with it, although as yet the pathogenesis of the neurological features is unknown. In abetalipoproteinaemia, an autosomal recessive condition, vitamin E deficiency results in a progressive spinocerebellar syndrome associated with peripheral neuropathy and retinitis pigmentosa. Neuroacanthocytosis is also probably an autosomal recessive condition and is characterised by chorea, orofaciolingual dyskinesia, dysarthria, areflexia, seizures and dementia. McLeod syndrome is an X-linked recessive disorder usually presenting in males as a benign myopathy with areflexia, in association with a particular abnormality of expression of Kell blood group antigens. However, occasionally the neurological features are more severe and indistinguishable from those of neuroacanthocytosis. Recent advances in molecular genetics may assist better understanding of the disease mechanisms and the search for more effective treatments.