Pseudoxanthoma elasticum

Handb Clin Neurol. 2015:132:215-21. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-62702-5.00015-9.


Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is characterized by elastic tissue fragmentation and calcification. The deterioration of elastic fibers leads to characteristic yellowish papules and plaques (pseudoxanthomas) and retinal angioid streaks. Although these findings may begin in childhood, the diagnosis is typically not made until the second or third decade after the skin and retinal findings become more prominent. Cerebrovascular complications include brain infarction due to narrowing and occlusion of cerebral arteries and aneurysm formation. Intracranial hemorrhage can occur in the absence of aneurysm, and gastrointestinal hemorrhage is common. Peripheral arterial vascular disease can lead to intermittent leg claudication. A skin biopsy often demonstrates calcified elastic fibers, even in a mildly affected area of skin. The inheritance is autosomal recessive, although heterozygotes may exhibit some features of the disease. PXE is due to mutation of the ABCC6 gene on chromosome 16. There is no treatment, but certain lifestyle modifications may limit the complications. The potential for retinal hemorrhage has led to recommendations for limitations of contact sports or other activities that might facilitate eye trauma. Other recommendations include maintaining a normal lipid profile, avoidance of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, and limiting dietary calcium intake.

Keywords: ABCC6; Pseudoxanthoma elasticum; aneurysm; angioid streaks; arterial calcification; autosomal recessive; elastic fibers; retinal hemorrhage; stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum / drug therapy
  • Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum / genetics*
  • Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum / physiopathology*


  • ABCC6 protein, human
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins