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Neurocutaneous syndromes 

Neurocutaneous syndromes
Neurocutaneous syndromes

Robert Grant

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date: 11 December 2019

This chapter describes several neurocutaneous syndromes, including tuberous sclerosis, neurofibromatosis, Sturge–Weber syndrome, Von-Hippel–Lindau disease and ataxia telangiectasia amongst others.

Tuberous sclerosis, also known as Epiloia or Bournville’s Disease, is an autosomal dominant multisystem disease it usually presents in childhood with a characteristic facial rash, adenoma sebaceum, seizures, and sometimes learning difficulties. Central nervous system lesions in tuberous sclerosis are due to a developmental disorder of neurogenesis and neuronal migration. Other organs such as the heart and kidney are less commonly involved. The condition has very variable clinical expression and two-thirds of cases are thought to be new mutations, therefore it is important to examine and screen relatives. Management may involve many specialists and close co-operation between specialists is essential.

The neurofibromatoses are autosomal-dominant neurocutaneous disorders that can be divided into ‘peripheral’ and ‘central’ types, although there is significant overlap. The characteristic features of neurofibromatosis type 1 are café au lait spots, neurofibromas, Lisch nodules, osseous lesions, macrocephaly, short stature and mental retardation, axillary freckling, and associations with several different types of tumours.

Sturge–Weber syndrome involves a characteristic ‘port-wine’ facial naevus or angioma associated with an underlying leptomeningeal angioma or other vascular anomaly. It affects approximately 1/20 000 people. There can be seizures, low IQ, and underlying cerebral hemisphere atrophy as a result of chronic state of reduced perfusion and increased oxygen extraction. Patients may present with focal seizures which are generally resistant to anticonvulsant medication and can develop glaucoma.

Von-Hippel– Lindau disease is one of the most common autosomal-dominant inherited genetic diseases that are associated with familial cancers. Von-Hippel–Lindau disease is characterized by certain types of central nervous system tumours, cerebellar and spinal haemangioblastomas, and retinal angiomas, in conjunction with bilateral renal cysts carcinomas or phaechromocytoma, or pancreatic cysts/islet cell tumours (Neumann and Wiestler 1991).

Other neurocutaneous syndromes discussed include Hypomelanosis of Ito, Gorlin syndrome, Sjogren–Larsson syndrome, Proteus syndrome, Hemiatrophy and hemihypertrophy, Menke’s syndrome, Xeroderma pigmentosum and Cockayne’s syndrome.

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