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Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2019 Oct-Dec;22(4):493-496. doi: 10.4103/aian.AIAN_126_18. Epub 2019 Oct 25.

A Preventable Ataxia: Cerebrotendinous Xanthomatosis.

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Department of Neurology, Government Medical College, Trivandrum, Kerala, India.


Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis is an autosomal recessive inborn error of metabolism that is an often missed but treatable cause of hereditary ataxia. We report a case of cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX) that was diagnosed only after the development of cognitive decline and adult onset ataxia in a 35-year-old man. He had poor scholastic performance in childhood followed by gradually progressive cognitive decline. He presented to us with severe cerebellar ataxia and oculomotor apraxia. The key features that led to the diagnosis of CTX were the history of cataracts in childhood and Achilles tendon xanthoma. His brain magnetic resonance imaging showed characteristic features of CTX, and the diagnosis was confirmed by demonstrating the mutation in exon 2 of the CYP27A1 gene. The recognition of CTX earlier could have prevented his significant disabilities. The definitive treatment is oral chenodeoxycholic acid, which will prevent the accumulation of the cholestanol, which is thought to be responsible for the neurotoxicity.


Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis; chenodeoxycholic acid; hereditary ataxia; tendon xanthoma

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