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Ultrastruct Pathol. 2007 Sep-Oct;31(5):333-8.

Electron microscopic findings in skin biopsies from patients with infantile osteopetrosis and neuronal storage disease.

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Department of Pathology, Tufts University, Cummings Veterinary School, Grafton, Massachusetts, USA.


Infantile osteopetrosis with neuronal storage disease is a rare lysosomal storage disorder. It is an autosomal recessive disease that is associated with mutations in the OSTM1 and chloride channel ClCN-7genes. So far mutations in the OSTM1 gene have been identified in only 8 patients. To date, the clinical and morphological features of nine patients with infantile osteopetrosis with neuronal storage have been reported, but no ultrastructural findings of skin have been described in these patients. Skin biopsy is a cost-effective tool for the diagnosis of lysosomal storage disease. The purpose of this report is to define the ultrastructure of affected cells seen in skin biopsies of 2 boys whose mutation of OSTM1 has been characterized. The children presented in infancy with severe osteopetrosis and neurological deficiencies whose predominant symptoms were marked cerebral atrophy, decreased myelinization, and severe central nervous system involvement. Because of the difficulties in distinguishing this disorder from some lysosomal storage diseases such as mucopolysaccharidosis that have both neurological and skeletal abnormalities, the authors elected to examine skin biopsies from these children. Ultrastructural examination revealed the presence of swollen unmyelinated axons containing spheroids, reduced numbers of myelinated axons, and the presence of secondary lysosomes in Schwann cells containing lipofuscin. This study demonstrates that electron microscopy of skin biopsy is a useful diagnostic method to identify patients with clinical features of osteopetrosis with neuronal storage disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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