Biopsy diagnosis of a case of adult onset orthochromatic leukodystrophy. Clinical and brain biopsy findings

Ital J Neurol Sci. 1992 Dec;13(9):787-92. doi: 10.1007/BF02229165.


We report the intra vitam histopathological findings on the brain of a female patient presenting an adult form of orthochromatic leukodystrophy. At 38 years of age the patient began to show progressive dementia and a pseudobulbar syndrome. The pedigree revealed an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. The CT scan showed a wide hypodensity of the anterior white matter. Biochemical investigations showed only a slight elevation of serum VLCFA and no alteration of urinary enzymatic activities. Cortical and subcortical biopsy specimens from the right frontal lobe showed: neuronal loss in the gray matter, accumulation of autofluorescent material within residual neurons and sudanophilic material within macrophages and astrocytes, sparing of axons. Electron microscopy showed lamination and fragmentation of the myelin and the presence of electrondense bodies and vesicular material into oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. We discuss the differential diagnosis of OLD forms with adult onset, namely between Löwenberg-Hill disease and the pure form of OLD with pigmented glial cells.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / ultrastructure
  • Brain Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Diseases / genetics
  • Brain Diseases / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Middle Aged
  • Pedigree
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed