Wolfram syndrome: a neuropathological study

Acta Neuropathol. 1997 Apr;93(4):426-9. doi: 10.1007/s004010050635.


Neuropathological examination was carried out on a patient aged 37 years who had suffered from Wolfram syndrome. Atrophy of the olfactory bulbs and tracts, atrophy of the optic nerves and chiasm, loss of neurons in the lateral geniculate nuclei mainly affecting the small cell layers, atrophy of the superior colliculus, loss of fibers in the cochlear nerve and mild loss of neurons in the cochlear nuclei and inferior colliculus, mild olivopontocerebellar atrophy, and demyelination of the pyramidal tracts were the main neuropathological findings. These correlated with anosmia, loss of vision, loss of hearing, cerebellar symptoms and signs, Babinski sign, and clonus, respectively, clinically observed in this patient. Mild neuron loss and gliosis in the preoptic and paraventricular area of the hypothalamus and mild motor neuron loss in the spinal cord did not reach thresholds of impaired function, although loss of neurons in discrete bulbar nuclei might have accounted for the late episode of food aspiration and suffocation. The relationship between memory loss, personality disturbances, and signs of prefrontal release and mild loss of neurons in the anterior and dorso-medial nuclei of the thalamus remains unclear.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Wolfram Syndrome / pathology*