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Neuropediatrics. 2005 Jun;36(3):221-2.

The eye-of-the-tiger sign is not a reliable disease marker for Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome.

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Children's Hospital of the Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany.


Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN), formerly Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome, is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by extrapyramidal dysfunction as demonstrated by dystonia, rigidity, and choreoathetosis. Iron deposition in conjunction with destruction of the globus pallidus gives rise to the characteristic eye-of-the-tiger sign in MRI. It has been postulated that pantothenate kinase 2 mutations underlying all cases of classic Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome are always associated with the eye-of-the-tiger sign. Here, we report a patient with classic Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome and a homozygous pantothenate kinase 2 mutation in whom the initially present eye-of-the-tiger sign vanished during the course of the disease. Thus, the alleged one-to-one correlation between the eye-of-the-tiger sign and the presence of pantothenate kinase 2 mutation does not hold true over the course of the disease in PKAN.

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