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Acta Neuropathol. 2007 Oct;114(4):373-86. Epub 2007 Jul 20.

Pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 2: a neuropathological update.

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Department of Neuropathology, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 22700, 1100 DE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 2 (PCH-2; MIM 277470), an autosomal recessive neurodegeneration with fetal onset, was studied in six autopsies with ages at death ranging between 1 and 22 years. Three patients were distantly related. A case of olivopontocerebellar hypoplasia (OPCH; MIM 225753) was studied for comparison. Typical findings are: short cerebellar folia with poor branching ("hypoplasia"), relative sparing of the vermis, sharply demarcated areas of full thickness loss of cerebellar cortex probably resulting from regression at an early stage of development, segmental loss of dentate nuclei with preserved islands and reactive changes, segmental loss in the inferior olivary nucleus with reactive changes, loss of ventral pontine nuclei with near absence of transverse pontine fibers and sparing of spinal anterior horn cells. Variable findings are: cystic cerebellar degeneration, found in two, with vascular changes limited to the cerebellum in one. Comparison to olivopontocerebellar hypoplasia (OPCH) strongly suggests a continuum of pathology between this disorder and PCH-2. Immunohistochemical evaluation of the endoplasmic reticulum stress response is negative. We conclude that the neuropathological findings in PCH-2 are sufficiently specific to enable an unequivocal diagnosis based on neuropathology.

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