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Ann Neurol. 1998 Dec;44(6):900-7.

Aicardi-Goutières syndrome: an update and results of interferon-alpha studies.

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  • 1Neuropediatric Unit, Hôpital des Enfants Malades, Paris, France.


Twenty-seven patients with familial encephalopathy with calcification of the basal ganglia and chronic cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) lymphocytosis (Aicardi-Goutières syndrome) are reviewed. In 19 children, the onset was within the first 4 months of life. Most patients had normal head circumference at birth, but 21 developed microcephaly between 3 and 12 months. Neuroimaging showed severe and progressive brain atrophy in all patients. The extent and intensity of the calcification was variable even in the same sibship. CSF lymphocytosis persisted beyond 12 months of age in 7 children. High levels of interferon-alpha were found in serum and CSF in 14 patients. The higher CSF levels suggest intrathecal synthesis. Tubuloreticular inclusions related to the presence of interferon were found in 4 additional children. The 19 patients still alive (6 older than 10 years) are profoundly disabled. However, the syndrome may present with individual variations in severity, rapidity of evolution, and imaging features. Neuropathological examination in 2 patients failed to detect significant inflammatory lesions and showed only foci of necrosis and wide-spread demyelination. This study supports an autosomal recessive inheritance for this syndrome. The high level of interferon-alpha is not explained but may play a role in the pathogenesis of the disorder.

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