Childhood Cerebral X-Linked Adrenoleukodystrophy with Atypical Neuroimaging Abnormalities and a Novel Mutation

J Postgrad Med. 2018 Jan-Mar;64(1):59-63. doi: 10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_349_17.


Childhood cerebral X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (XALD) typically manifests with symptoms of adrenocortical insufficiency and a variety of neurocognitive and behavioral abnormalities. A major diagnostic clue is the characteristic neuroinflammatory parieto-occipital white matter lesions on magnetic resonance imaging. This study reports a 5-year 10-month old boy presenting with generalized skin hyperpigmentation since 3 years of age. Over the past 9 months, he had developed right-sided hemiparesis and speech and behavioral abnormalities, which had progressed over 5 months to bilateral hemiparesis. Retrospective analyses of serial brain magnetic resonance images revealed an unusual pattern of lesions involving the internal capsules, corticospinal tracts in the midbrain and brainstem, and cerebellar white matter. The clinical diagnosis of childhood cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy was confirmed by elevated basal levels of adrenocorticotropin hormone and plasma very long chain fatty acid levels. Additionally, sequencing of the ABCD1 gene revealed a novel mutation. The only specific palliative therapy that could be offered after diagnosis was dietary intervention. The patient died within 16 months of onset of neurological symptoms. Awareness that childhood cerebral XALD can present with atypical neuroimaging patterns early in its course may aid diagnosis at a stage when definitive treatment can be attempted and timely genetic counseling be offered to the family.