More Than Hypomyelination in Pol-III Disorder

Child Neurology and Psychiatry Unit, IRCCS C. Mondino National Institute of Neurology Foundation, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy (DT)
Journal of neuropathology and experimental neurology 12/2012; 72(1). DOI: 10.1097/NEN.0b013e31827c99d2
Source: PubMed


The 4H syndrome (hypomyelination, hypodontia, hypogonadotropic hypogonadism) is a newly recognized leukodystrophy. The classical form is characterized by the association of hypomyelination, abnormal dentition, and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, but the recent identification of 2 genes responsible for the syndrome demonstrates that these 3 main characteristics can be variably combined among "Pol-III (polymerase III)-related leukodystrophies." The pathophysiology of this group of diseases is still to be elucidated, and there are no neuropathologic descriptions of brain tissue. We report the clinical, neuroradiologic, and neuropathologic findings of a patient affected by 4H syndrome with confirmed POLR3A mutations. We found a marked loss of oligodendrocytes, varying in severity in different brain regions, and accompanied by severe loss of myelin, moderately severe loss of axons, and patchy perivascular regions of better preserved white matter. There was relatively mild white matter astrogliosis and microgliosis. A macrophage reaction involving viable normal-appearing oligodendroglia suggests the possibility of an immunologic process in this disorder. Cortical laminar astrogliosis and mineralization of Layers I and II in particular were present. Thus, despite the uniformly hypomyelinating pattern seen on magnetic resonance imaging, neuropathologic examination reveals a complex heterogeneous leukodystrophy with prominent neuroaxonal and glial involvement in this disorder.


Available from: Geneviève Bernard, Dec 09, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To study the clinical and radiologic spectrum and genotype-phenotype correlation of 4H (hypomyelination, hypodontia, hypogonadotropic hypogonadism) leukodystrophy caused by mutations in POLR3A or POLR3B. METHODS: We performed a multinational cross-sectional observational study of the clinical, radiologic, and molecular characteristics of 105 mutation-proven cases. RESULTS: The majority of patients presented before 6 years with gross motor delay or regression. Ten percent had an onset beyond 10 years. The disease course was milder in patients with POLR3B than in patients with POLR3A mutations. Other than the typical neurologic, dental, and endocrine features, myopia was seen in almost all and short stature in 50%. Dental and hormonal findings were not invariably present. Mutations in POLR3A and POLR3B were distributed throughout the genes. Except for French Canadian patients, patients from European backgrounds were more likely to have POLR3B mutations than other populations. Most patients carried the common c.1568T>A POLR3B mutation on one allele, homozygosity for which causes a mild phenotype. Systematic MRI review revealed that the combination of hypomyelination with relative T2 hypointensity of the ventrolateral thalamus, optic radiation, globus pallidus, and dentate nucleus, cerebellar atrophy, and thinning of the corpus callosum suggests the diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: 4H is a well-recognizable clinical entity if all features are present. Mutations in POLR3A are associated with a more severe clinical course. MRI characteristics are helpful in addressing the diagnosis, especially if patients lack the cardinal non-neurologic features.
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