Leukodystrophy with disorders of sex development due to WT1 mutations

J Neurol Sci. 2018 Jul 15:390:94-98. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2018.04.020. Epub 2018 Apr 13.


Background: Hypomyelinating leukodystrophies represent an expanding group of neurogenetic disorders characterized primarily by central nervous system hypomyelination and variable neurological and non-neurological involvement. Hypomyelinating disorders have been rarely associated with gonadal dysfunction, being mainly represented by hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism in 4H syndrome. WT1 gene-associated disorders are classically associated with complex phenotypes including early carcinogenic risk for gonadoblastoma and Wilms' tumor, chronic renal failure, nephrotic syndrome and sex developmental disorders in intersex disorders and ambiguous genitalia.

Methods: The authors describe three non-related Brazilian patients with hypomyelinating leukodystrophy associated with complex neurological and systemic dysfunction with WT1 gene mutations.

Results: All described patients presented with similar neuroimaging features including thin corpus callosum, mild to moderate cerebellar atrophy and diffuse periventricular and profound hypomyelinating leukodystrophy involving supratentorial white matter with classical compromise linked to inherited non-somatic WT1 gene mutations in a similar pattern to Denys-Drash syndrome, including nephrotic syndrome with different glomerular disease, chronic renal failure, intersex disorder with ambiguous genitalia, and early occurrence of specific tumors, such as Wilms' tumor and gonadoblastoma.

Conclusions: Clinicians must include WT1 gene mutations in the differential diagnosis of hypomyelinating leukodystrophy with nephrotic syndrome, chronic renal failure, ambiguous genitalia or sex developmental disorders.

Keywords: Denys-Drash syndrome; Hypomyelination; Leukodystrophy; Neurodegeneration; Sex development.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disorders of Sex Development / diagnosis
  • Disorders of Sex Development / genetics*
  • Female
  • Hereditary Central Nervous System Demyelinating Diseases / diagnosis
  • Hereditary Central Nervous System Demyelinating Diseases / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnosis
  • Kidney Diseases / genetics
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • WT1 Proteins / genetics*
  • Young Adult


  • WT1 Proteins
  • WT1 protein, human