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Papers of the Week

2022 Jan 13


Early-onset vascular leukoencephalopathy caused by bi-allelic NOTCH3 variants.


Stellingwerff M, Nulton C, Helman G, Roosendaal S, Benko W, Pizzino A, Bugiani M, Vanderver A, Simons C, van der Knaap M
Neuropediatrics. 2022 Jan 13.
PMID: 35026854.


Objective Heterozygous variants are known to cause cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL), with patients typically presenting in adulthood. We describe three patients presenting at an early age with a vascular leukoencephalopathy. Genome sequencing revealed bi-allelic variants in the gene. Methods Clinical records and available MRI and CT scans of three patients from two unrelated families were retrospectively reviewed. Results The patients presented at 9-14 months of age with developmental delay, seizures, or both. The disease course was characterized by cognitive impairment and variably recurrent strokes, migraine attacks, and seizures. MRI findings pointed at a small vessel disease, with extensive cerebral white matter abnormalities, atrophy, lacunes in the basal ganglia, microbleeds and microcalcifications. The anterior temporal lobes were spared. Bi-allelic cysteine-sparing variants in exons 1, 32 and 33 were found. Interpretation This study indicates that bi-allelic loss-of-function variants may cause a vascular leukoencephalopathy, distinct from CADASIL.