Neuropathological analysis of an asymptomatic adult case with Dandy-Walker variant

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2006 Jun;32(3):344-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.2006.00719.x.


The Dandy-Walker (DW) complex is a rare posterior fossa malformation, usually observed during the prenatal period or the early infancy. Clinically, it is characterized by mental retardation, seizures, cerebellar ataxia as well as symptoms of hydrocephalus. Structural imaging reveal a hypoplasia or agenesis of the cerebellar vermis, enlargement of the fourth ventricle with a posterior fossa cyst. Additional neurodevelopmental changes such as agenesis of the corpus callosum, lissencephaly and cortical dysplasia are also present. We report the first neuropathological analysis of an adult asymptomatic DW case. Brain computerized tomography showed a massive posterior fossa cyst and hypoplasia of the cerebellum. An Ehlers-Danlos syndrome type IV characterized by repetitive intestinal perforations and a saccular aneurysm on the left posterior communicating artery was also present. Macroscopic brain examination revealed hypoplasia of both cerebellar hemispheres and posterior part of the vermis, as well as dilatation of the fourth ventricle without hydrocephalus. The posterior fossa cyst wall was formed by an external arachnoid layer, middle layer with loose connective tissue and an internal layer of ependymal cells. There were two foci of cerebellar cortical dysplasia but no ectopic neurons, neuronal loss or gliosis in both cerebellum and cerebral cortex. No vascular or significant neurodegenerative lesions were observed. In comparison with previous reports in DW infants, this adult case displayed milder brain abnormalities compatible with a diagnosis of DW variant. The preservation of the cortical cytoarchitecture as well as the paucity of additional neurodevelopmental changes may explain the absence of clinical expression.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brain / abnormalities*
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Comorbidity
  • Dandy-Walker Syndrome / pathology*
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed