Neurological findings in incontinentia pigmenti; a review

Eur J Med Genet. 2012 May;55(5):323-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmg.2012.04.007. Epub 2012 May 4.


Incontinentia Pigmenti is a rare X-linked multisystem disorder with well described and pathognomonic skin manifestations. Neurological manifestations are found in 30% of IP patients, forming one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality of the condition. In this review, clinical and brain imaging data of 45 IP patients with a neurological phenotype are reviewed. Several clinical presentations could be identified, comprising seizures, infantile encephalopathy, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and ischemic stroke. Most neurological features presented during the neonatal period. No patients presented during adolescence or at adult age. Seizures of different type are reported in about 20% of the patients at young age and seem to correlate with the degree of cerebrovascular damage. Brain MRI findings include periventricular and subcortical white matter disease, haemorrhagic changes, corpus callosum hypoplasia, cerebral atrophy and cerebellar hypoplasia. Ocular findings comprise a range of retinal vascular changes and optic atrophy, but also developmental defects like microphthalmia and cataract. Most findings may reflect changes following brain injury. Both (ischemic) vascular and inflammatory components may play a role in the cerebral and ocular phenotype. However, a role of disturbed apoptosis during development may also be a contributing factor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / abnormalities
  • Brain / pathology
  • Eye Abnormalities / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Incontinentia Pigmenti / epidemiology
  • Incontinentia Pigmenti / genetics
  • Incontinentia Pigmenti / pathology*
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology
  • Microcephaly / epidemiology
  • Paralysis / epidemiology
  • Phenotype
  • Psychomotor Disorders / epidemiology
  • Seizures / epidemiology