The Neuropathology of MIRAGE Syndrome

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2020 Apr 1;79(4):458-462. doi: 10.1093/jnen/nlaa009.


MIRAGE syndrome is a multisystem disorder characterized by myelodysplasia, infections, restriction of growth, adrenal hypoplasia, genital phenotypes, and enteropathy. Mutations in the sterile alpha motif domain containing 9 (SAMD9) gene which encodes a protein involved in growth factor signal transduction are thought to cause MIRAGE syndrome. SAMD9 mutations lead to an antiproliferative effect resulting in a multisystem growth restriction disorder. Though rare, a few patients with SAMD9 mutations were reported to have hydrocephalus and/or cerebellar hypoplasia on imaging. The neuropathologic features of MIRAGE syndrome have not been previously described. Here, we describe the postmortem neuropathologic examinations of 2 patients with a clinical diagnosis of MIRAGE syndrome and confirmed SAMD9 mutations. Common features included microcephaly, hydrocephalus, white matter abnormalities, and perivascular calcifications. One of the 2 cases showed marked cerebellar hypoplasia with loss of Purkinje and granule neurons as well as multifocal polymicrogyria and severe white matter volume loss; similar findings were not observed in the second patient. These cases demonstrate the variation in neuropathologic findings in patients with MIRAGE syndrome. Interestingly, the findings are similar to those reported in ataxia-pancytopenia syndrome caused by mutations in SAMD9L, a paralogue of SAMD9.

Keywords: Ataxia-pancytopenia syndrome; Cerebellar hypoplasia; MIRAGE syndrome; SAMD9; SAMD9L; Sterile alpha motif domain containing 9.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Insufficiency / complications*
  • Adrenal Insufficiency / genetics
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Lung Diseases / complications*
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / complications*
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / genetics
  • Neuropathology
  • Premature Birth


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • SAMD9 protein, human