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Clin Neuropathol. 1989 May-Jun;8(3):109-19.

Adult neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinosis.

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Division of Neuropathology, University of Mainz, FRG.


Among the different clinical forms of neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinosis (NCL), the adult type is the least frequent, most sporadic and most difficult one to diagnose. Clinical symptomatology differs from the classical childhood NCL forms in that ocular symptoms are absent while changes of behavior, dementia and seizures dominate the clinical picture. Excessive accumulation of NCL-specific lipopigments has largely been explored in the nervous system, where pigmento-architectonic investigations disclose layer-specific cortical pathology similar to but less pronounced than that of juvenile and protracted juvenile NCL. Ultrastructural analysis of lipopigments in adult NCL reveals diversity of lipopigment fine structure, but less impressive than in the childhood forms of NCL. Abnormal accretion of lipopigments outside the nervous system has rarely been demonstrated and requires ampler documentation, making in vivo diagnosis of adult NCL often difficult and sometimes equivocal. Adult NCL is now frequently considered identical to "Kufs' disease". However, in the past, the latter term has comprised a heterogeneous spectrum of lipidoses the NCL-nature of which had not been unequivocally established. Thus, one may either speak of "Kufs' syndrome" or abandon this term altogether. Although patients afflicted with adult NCL may suffer from Kufs' disease, not all who have and had Kufs disease may have or have had adult NCL. The current debate on adult NCL centers around scepticism concerning many of the earlier reports, on incorporating diagnostic studies of non-CNS organs in presumptive patients and on distinguishing adult NCL from "atypical" patients or forms of NCL, as well as other disorders marked by non-specific abnormal accumulation of lipofuscin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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