Objective: To determine the clinical symptoms in adult metachromatic leukodystrophy and in adult pseudodeficiency for arylsulfatase A.
Design: Case series.
Setting: University hospital.
Patients: Twenty-five adult patients with very low arylsulfatase A activity.
Results: In 13 patients, a diagnosis of adult metachromatic leukodystrophy was made. The main symptoms were dementia, behavioral abnormalities, ataxia, and polyneuropathy. In 12 patients, a diagnosis of arylsulfatase A pseudodeficiency was made. No characteristic clinical syndrome could be detected in these patients.
Conclusions: Adult metachromatic leukodystrophy is a progressive metabolic disease with symptoms of demyelination of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Diagnosis must be confirmed by determination of arylsulfatase A activity and accumulation of sulfatides. Pseudodeficiency for arylsulfatase A can be confirmed or excluded by means of DNA analysis.