In recent years, understanding of the syndromes of neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation (NBIA) has grown considerably. In addition to the core syndromes of pantothenate kinsase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN, NBIA1) and PLA2G6-associated neurodegeneration (PLAN, NBIA2), several other genetic causes have been identified. The acknowledged clinical spectrum has broadened, age-dependent presentations have been recognized, and we are becoming aware of overlap between the different NBIA disorders as well as with other diseases. Autopsy examination of genetically confirmed cases has demonstrated Lewy bodies and/or tangles in some subforms, bridging the gap to more common neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease. NBIA genes map into related pathways, the understanding of which is important as we move toward mechanistic therapies. Our aim in this review is to provide an overview of not only the historical developments, clinical features, investigational findings, and therapeutic results but also the genetic and molecular underpinnings of the NBIA syndromes.
Copyright © 2011 Movement Disorder Society.