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J Neurol. 2008 Jan;255(1):77-88. doi: 10.1007/s00415-008-0675-3. Epub 2008 Jan 22.

Hereditary systemic angiopathy (HSA) with cerebral calcifications, retinopathy, progressive nephropathy, and hepatopathy.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University Hospital Basel, Petersgraben 4, 4031, Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

Several hereditary conditions affecting cerebral, retinal and systemic microvessels have recently been described. They include CADASIL, CRV, and HERNS. We here report on a variant form of a hereditary systemic angiopathy (HSA) affecting two generations of a Caucasian family. Clinical symptoms of HSA appear in the mid-forties and are characterized by visual impairment, migraine-like headache, skin rash, epileptic seizures, progressive motor paresis and cognitive decline. Late symptoms include hepatic and renal failure. Retinal capillary microaneurysms and arteriolar tortuosity are associated with marked optic disc atrophy. Radiological hallmarks consist of multiple cerebral calcifications and tumor-like subcortical white matter lesions. Brain, peripheral nerve, muscle, kidney and colon biopsies have revealed a multi organ small vessel involvement with partly altered endothelium, perivascular inflammation and thrombotic microangiopathy. No curative therapeutic options are known for hereditary cerebral vasculopathies. The use of cyclophosphamide, azathioprine and methotrexate was of no benefit in our cases of HSA. Early diagnosis of hereditary systemic angiopathies is important in order to prevent patients from repetitive invasive diagnostic measures and to avoid the use of inappropriate and potentially harmful drugs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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