Expanding the clinical spectrum of adult-onset neuronal intranuclear inclusion disease

Acta Neurol Belg. 2022 Jun;122(3):647-658. doi: 10.1007/s13760-021-01622-4. Epub 2021 Feb 24.


Neuronal intranuclear inclusion disease (NIID) is a heterogeneous neurodegenerative disease with multiple clinical subtypes. Recent breakthroughs on neuroimaging, skin biopsy and genetic testing have facilitated the diagnosis. We aim to investigate the clinical characteristics of Chinese NIID patients to further refine the spectrum. We analyzed the clinical features of 25 NIID patients from 24 unrelated families and performed skin biopsy and/or sural nerve biopsy on 24 probands. Repeat-primed PCR and fluorescence amplicon length PCR were conducted to detect GGC repeats of NOTCH2NLC. Onset age ranged from 24 to 72 years old, and the disease duration ranged from 12 h to 25 years with the mode of onset characterized as acute, recurrent or chronic progressive type. Tremor was a common phenotype, often observed in the early stages, next to dementia and paroxysmal encephalopathy. Symptoms infrequently reported such as oromandibular dystonia, recurrent vomiting, dizziness and headache of unknown origin, as well as pure peripheral neuropathy were also suggestive of NIID. Reversible leukoencephalopathy following encephalitic episodes and the absence of apparent DWI abnormality were noticed. Two genetically confirmed NIID patients failed to be identified intranuclear inclusions, and one patient was simultaneously found significant mitochondrial swelling and fingerprint profiles depositing in lysosomes. All the patients were identified abnormal GGC repeats of NOTCH2NLC. We identify some atypical clinicopathological features and consider that pathological examinations combined with genetic testing is the gold standard for diagnosis. Whether lysosomal and mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in the pathogenesis of NIID deserves further study.

Keywords: GGC repeat expansions; NOTCH2NLC gene; Neuronal intranuclear inclusion disease; Skin biopsy.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Humans
  • Intranuclear Inclusion Bodies* / genetics
  • Intranuclear Inclusion Bodies* / pathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases* / pathology
  • Tremor / diagnosis
  • Tremor / pathology

Supplementary concepts

  • Neuronal intranuclear inclusion disease