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Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2007 May;109(4):361-3. Epub 2007 Jan 17.

Fabry disease mimicking multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Neurology, Istanbul University Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey.


Fabry disease is an X-linked recessive lysosomal storage disorder resulting from the deficiency of alpha-galactosidase. This disease causes endothelial vasculopathy and affects multiple organ systems. Hemizygous male patients represent the classical renal, cardiac and neurological symptoms of disease. Heterozygous female carriers are frequently asymptomatic, but cerebrovascular events in females are as frequent as in males. Even if rarely seen, neurological damage is an important cause of morbidity. Severe neurological signs that are due to multifocal small vessel occlusions may be present without major thrombosis. In this report, we present a 33-year-old female patient with recurrent neurological deficits secondary to multifocal small vessel involvements. The case had previously been misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis. Cerebral MRI revealed hyperintense lesions located in bilateral thalamus, supratentorial areas, and left cerebellum. Laboratory and radiological investigations were performed for differential diagnosis, but the etiology could not be identified. During follow-up period, skin lesions and proteinuria were detected. The dermatological, neurological, laboratory, and radiological findings were all suggestive of Fabry disease and the diagnosis was confirmed by subsequent enzyme assays. Fabry disease should be considered in young patients with unexplained stroke-like episodes, especially in those who have infarction in the vertebrobasilar arterial system, angiokeratomas, and proteinuria.

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