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Neurology. 2012 Dec 4;79(23):2283-7. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182768954. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

A novel hereditary extensive vascular leukoencephalopathy mapping to chromosome 20q13.

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  • 1Service de Neurologie, Centre de Référence des Maladies Vasculaires Rares du Cerveau et de l'Oeil (CERVCO), AP-HP, Groupe Hospitalier Lariboisière-Saint-Louis, Paris, France.



The detection of a leukoencephalopathy is a frequent situation in neurologic practice. In a number of cases, the etiology remains obscure despite extensive investigations. We characterized the clinical, pathologic, and genetic features of a novel hereditary vascular leukoencephalopathy.


After the observation of a similar leukoencephalopathy in 2 sisters, clinical, neuroimaging, and molecular genetics investigations were conducted in 21 of their consenting relatives. Pathologic data were obtained in one patient.


Fourteen members presented with significant white matter lesions at MRI examination, among whom only 5 individuals were symptomatic. The main clinical manifestations included gait disturbances, transient movement disorders, stroke, and cognitive dysfunction. The 9 remaining members aged from 26 to 60 years were asymptomatic. The MRI pattern was highly stereotyped with symmetric white matter hyperintensities worsening with patient's age. We mapped the gene involved in this condition on chromosome 20q13. Neuropathologic examination suggested that this leukoencephalopathy is underlaid by a cerebral arteriolopathy affecting small preterminal arterioles, clearly distinct from amyloid angiopathy and hypertension-related small-vessel disease.


These data establish that this family is affected by a novel autosomal dominant vascular leukoencephalopathy mapping to chromosome 20q13. This disease is characterized by a progressive and age-related hemispheric and brainstem leukoencephalopathy contrasting with the paucity and late onset of clinical symptoms in most of the cases.

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