Muscle MRI in neutral lipid storage disease (NLSD)

J Neurol. 2017 Jul;264(7):1334-1342. doi: 10.1007/s00415-017-8498-8. Epub 2017 May 13.


Neutral lipid storage disease (NLSD) is a rare inherited disorder of lipid metabolism resulting in lipid droplets accumulation in different tissues. Skeletal muscle could be affected in both two different form of disease: NLSD with myopathy (NLSD-M) and NLSD with ichthyosis (NLSD-I). We present the muscle imaging data of 12 patients from the Italian Network for NLSD: ten patients presenting NLSD-M and two patients with NLSD-I. In NLSD-M gluteus minimus, semimembranosus, soleus and gastrocnemius medialis in the lower limbs and infraspinatus in the upper limbs were the most affected muscles. Gracilis, sartorius, subscapularis, pectoralis, triceps brachii and sternocleidomastoid were spared. Muscle involvement was not homogenous and characteristic "patchy" replacement was observed in at least one muscle in all the patients. Half of the patients showed one or more STIR positive muscles. In both NLSD-I cases muscle involvement was not observed by T1-TSE sequences, but one of them showed positive STIR images in more than one muscle in the leg. Our data provides evidence that muscle imaging can identify characteristic alterations in NLSD-M, characterized by a specific pattern of muscle involvement with "patchy" areas of fatty replacement. Larger cohorts are needed to assess if a distinct pattern of muscle involvement exists also for NLSD-I.

Keywords: ABHD5; Lipid storage disease; Muscle MRI; NLSD; PNPLA2.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / diagnostic imaging
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ichthyosiform Erythroderma, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Italy
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lower Extremity
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Muscular Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Upper Extremity

Supplementary concepts

  • Chanarin-Dorfman Syndrome
  • Neutral Lipid Storage Disease with Myopathy