Leukoencephalopathy with swelling and a discrepantly mild clinical course in eight children

Ann Neurol. 1995 Mar;37(3):324-34. doi: 10.1002/ana.410370308.


An identical syndrome of cerebral leukoencephalopathy and megalencephaly with infantile onset was discovered in 8 children, including 2 siblings. Neurological findings were initially normal or near normal, despite megalencephaly and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evidence of severe white matter affection. Slowly progressive ataxia and spasticity developed, while intellectual functioning was preserved for years after onset of the disorder. MRI characteristics included diffuse abnormality in signal intensity and swelling of the cerebral hemispheral white matter with cyst-like spaces in the frontoparietal and anterior-temporal subcortical areas. MR spectra were relatively mildly abnormal. Screening for inborn errors, especially those that cause either megalencephaly or white matter disease or both was negative. A distinguishing feature of the present disorder is the apparently severe abnormality of the cerebral white matter as demonstrated by MRI, which contrasts with the remarkably slow course of functional deterioration.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ataxia / etiology
  • Brain / abnormalities*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Diseases / complications
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Brain Diseases / metabolism
  • Brain Edema / pathology
  • Cephalometry
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cysts / pathology
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination