Intracranial calcifications in childhood: Part 2

Fabricio Guimarães Gonçalves, Luca Caschera, Sara Reis Teixeira, Angela Nicole Viaene, Lorenzo Pinelli, Kshitij Mankad, César Augusto Pinheiro Ferreira Alves, Xilma Rosa Ortiz-Gonzalez, Savvas Andronikou, Arastoo Vossough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article is the second of a two-part series on intracranial calcification in childhood. In Part 1, the authors discussed the main differences between physiological and pathological intracranial calcification. They also outlined histological intracranial calcification characteristics and how these can be detected across different neuroimaging modalities. Part 1 emphasized the importance of age at presentation and intracranial calcification location and proposed a comprehensive neuroimaging approach toward the differential diagnosis of the causes of intracranial calcification. Pathological intracranial calcification can be divided into infectious, congenital, endocrine/metabolic, vascular, and neoplastic. In Part 2, the chief focus is on discussing endocrine/metabolic, vascular, and neoplastic intracranial calcification etiologies of intracranial calcification. Endocrine/metabolic diseases causing intracranial calcification are mainly from parathyroid and thyroid dysfunction and inborn errors of metabolism, such as mitochondrial disorders (MELAS, or mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes; Kearns–Sayre; and Cockayne syndromes), interferonopathies (Aicardi–Goutières syndrome), and lysosomal disorders (Krabbe disease). Specific noninfectious causes of intracranial calcification that mimic TORCH (toxoplasmosis, other [syphilis, varicella-zoster, parvovirus B19], rubella, cytomegalovirus, and herpes) infections are known as pseudo-TORCH. Cavernous malformations, arteriovenous malformations, arteriovenous fistulas, and chronic venous hypertension are also known causes of intracranial calcification. Other vascular-related causes of intracranial calcification include early atherosclerosis presentation (children with risk factors such as hyperhomocysteinemia, familial hypercholesterolemia, and others), healed hematoma, radiotherapy treatment, old infarct, and disorders of the microvasculature such as COL4A1- and COL4A2-related diseases. Intracranial calcification is also seen in several pediatric brain tumors. Clinical and familial information such as age at presentation, maternal exposure to teratogens including viruses, and association with chromosomal abnormalities, pathogenic genes, and postnatal infections facilitates narrowing the differential diagnosis of the multiple causes of intracranial calcification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1448-1475
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Brain
  • Calcification
  • Children
  • Computed tomography
  • Endocrine
  • Intracranial
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Metabolic
  • Neoplastic
  • Physiological
  • Vascular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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