JOURNAL ARTICLE

Brain white matter demyelinating lesions and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a patient with C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion

Miguel Oliveira Santos, Inês Caldeira, Marta Gromicho, Ana Pronto-Laborinho, Mamede de Carvalho
Multiple Sclerosis and related Disorders 2017, 17: 1-4
29055436
A hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9orf72 gene is associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. It has been described before four patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and C9orf72-ALS. However, C9orf72 positivity is not associated with increased risk of MS. Inflammatory pathways related to NF-κB have been linked to ALS and MS, and appear to be important in C9orf72-ALS patients. A 42-year-old woman presented with progressive bulbar symptoms for 9 months. Neurological examination disclosed spastic dysarthria, atrophic tongue with fasciculations, brisk jaw and limb tendon reflexes, and bilateral Hoffman sign. Electrophysiological assessment confirmed ALS. Brain MRI revealed multiple and bilateral juxtacortical and periventricular inflammatory changes, some with gadolinium-enhancement, configuring a probable MS-like pattern. CSF evaluation was unremarkable, with no oligoclonal bands. Visual and somatosensory evoked potentials were normal. Follow-up brain MRI 6 months later showed two new lesions in two relatively characteristic locations of MS, with no gadolinium-enhancement. Genetic screening revealed a C9orf72 expansion. As patient had no clinical manifestation of MS, a diagnosis of radiologically isolated syndrome was considered. We speculate that these demyelinating lesions might facilitate expressivity of C9orf72 expansion, through NF-κB activation. This plausible association may lead to the identification of a therapeutic target in this subgroup of C9orf72-ALS patients.

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