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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2001 October;92(5):381-4

language: Italian

Two case reports of cerebral autosomal dominant arteriophaty with subcortical infarctions and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL)

Pellicanò S., Costa A., Terra L.


Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarctions and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) was first reported in European families and since 1993 it has been observed in America, Africa and Asia, suggesting that today the disease probably still remains largely underdiagnosed. CADASIL appears to be essentially a disorder of the arteries linked to single missense mutations in the Notch3 gene locus on chromosome 19; the aberrant dimerisation of Notch3, due to abnormal disulphide bridging with another Notch3 molecule or with another protein, may be involved in the pathogenesis of the disorder. It is characterized by recurrent stroke episodes and focal neurologic deficits progressing to pseudobulbar palsy and dementia, caused by multiple lacunar infarctions with ischemic and diffuse white matter abnormalities on neuroimaging. Migraine with aura, epileptic seizures and affective disorders are frequent additional symptoms of CADASIL. It is usually observed in the 3rd decade, but some individuals remain asymptomatic close to the age of 60.MRI displays a marked leukoencephalopathy in affected individuals as early as in the age of 20. The authors emphasize the role of a direct DNA test for gene mutation to make a differential diagnosis between CADASIL and other forms of vascular leukoencephalopathy as Alzheimer's dementia, multiple sclerosis and Binswanger's subcortical arteriopathic encephalopathy where CADASIL's arteriopathy is characterized by major alterations of vascular smooth muscle cells and the presence of specific granular osmiophilic deposits.

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