We report on two Italian families with an early-adult onset autosomal dominant disorder, characterized by leukoencephalopathy, migraine, psychiatric disturbances, stroke and dementia. These findings fulfill the diagnostic criteria for cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) syndrome. Moreover, to confirm the CADASIL gene location to 19p12, we performed a linkage analysis with four microsatellite markers. The results of the genetic study gave positive but not significant led scores, indicating only weak evidence of a linkage with 19p12. In one autopsy case, we found extensive ischemic changes due to the selective involvement of the small muscular arteries of the cerebral white matter. The lesions consisted of a thickening of the media with deposition of granular eosinophilic material. Ultrastructural examination of the arterial walls showed graded damage to smooth muscle cells, mostly of the longitudinal layer, and an abnormal proliferation of basal lamina components. Immunocytochemical analysis showed strong reactivity using antibodies to collagen IV and smooth myosin proteins. The results suggest a primary involvement of the smooth muscle cells of small cerebral arteries, with a secondary alteration of basal lamina components and elastic tissue.
- Cerebral arteriopathy
- Smooth muscle cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine