Genetic, Radiologic, and Clinical Variability in Brown-Vialetto-van Laere Syndrome

Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2018 Jul;26:2-9. doi: 10.1016/j.spen.2017.03.001. Epub 2017 Apr 5.


Brown-Vialetto-van Laere syndrome is characterized by a progressive sensorimotor neuropathy, optic atrophy, hearing loss, bulbar dysfunction, and respiratory insufficiency. Mutations in SLC52A2 and SLC52A3, encoding riboflavin transporters RFVT2 and RFVT3, respectively, are the genetic basis of this disorder, often referred to as riboflavin transporter deficiency types 2 and 3, respectively. We present cases of both types of riboflavin transporter deficiency, highlighting the distinguishing clinical features of a rapidly progressive motor or sensorimotor axonal neuropathy, optic atrophy, sensorineural hearing loss, and bulbar dysfunction. One child presented with isolated central apnea and hypoventilation, not previously described in genetically confirmed Brown-Vialetto-van Laere, later complicated by diaphragmatic paralysis secondary to phrenic nerve palsy. Magnetic resonance imaging showed T2 hyperintensity in the dorsal spinal cord in 2 children, as well as previously unreported cervical nerve root enlargement and cauda equina ventral nerve root enhancement in 1 child. Novel homozygous mutations were identified in each gene-a NM_024531.4(SLC52A2):c.505C > T, NP_078807.1(SLC52A2):p.(Arg169Cys) variant in SLC52A2 and NM_033409.3(SLC52A3):c.1316G > A, NP_212134.3(SLC52A3):p.(Gly439Asp) variant in SLC52A3. Both treated children showed improvement on high-dose riboflavin supplementation, highlighting the importance of early recognition of this treatable clinical entity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Bulbar Palsy, Progressive / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bulbar Palsy, Progressive / genetics*
  • Bulbar Palsy, Progressive / physiopathology
  • Bulbar Palsy, Progressive / therapy
  • Child, Preschool
  • Consanguinity
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / genetics*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Spinal Cord / diagnostic imaging


  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • SLC52A2 protein, human
  • SLC52A3 protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Brown-Vialetto-Van Laere syndrome