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Clin Neuropathol. 2008 Sep-Oct;27(5):302-8.

Neuropathology of chronic GM2 gangliosidosis due to hexosaminidase A deficiency.

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Pathology Department, School of Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.


Autopsy studies of late-onset GM2 gangliosidosis are sparse and only one adult case is on record. The case of partial Hex A deficiency presented here started in childhood as spinal muscular atrophy which progressed slowly over 4 decades. Cognitive function remained intact throughout the entire course, but during the last few years of life allodynia supervened. The patient died at 44 years of age. In good correlation with clinical observations the autopsy findings showed the most severe accumulation of lipid and consequent regressive change in the anterior horns of the spinal cord. Extensive but less severe storage was found in other spinal cord neurons, brain stem and selected basal ganglia. Cerebral cortex was virtually spared by storage but was the site of excessive formation of lipofuscin which was also present in many other neurons in the CNS. Marked storage and ganglionic loss was also found in the dorsal root ganglia, and the fasciculus gracilis was severely depleted of myelinated fibers. Electron microscopy showed accumulated gangliosides almost exclusively in the form of single and coalescing zebra bodies. In conclusion, the pathology in this case of chronic GM2 gangliosidosis, though in part conforming with previous observations, differed in several aspects. First, the cerebral cortex was--with only a few exceptions--free of ganglioside storage. Also spared was the cerebellum. In addition, homogeneous accumulation of zebra bodies contrasted with heterogeneity of neuronal inclusions found in other chronic cases. Finally, the involvement of sensory neurons was prominent and potentially related to allodynia. Molecular study of HEXA gene in this patient showed an TATC1278/? genotype.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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