Adult-onset of Tangier disease: I. Morphometric and pathologic studies suggesting delayed degradation of neutral lipids after fiber degeneration

Peter J Dyck, R. D. Ellefson, J. K. Yao, P. N. Herbert

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Abstract

A 67-year-old woman, with the typical biochemical features of Tangier disease, had a syringomyelia-like syndrome which has now been observed in several patients with symptomatic onset in adult life. She developed progressive facial diplegia, bilateral wasting of hand muscles and loss of sensation over cranial, cervical and brachial dermatomes over 17 years. Nociception alone was first affected, then nociception and thermal discrimination and finally all modalities of sensation. Quantified tests of cutaneous sensation confirmed that sensation was normal in lower limbs but markedly abnormal in upper limbs. Biopsied fascicles of cutaneous nerves from clinically affected (forearm) and from clinically unaffected (leg) regions permitted a comparison of well-advanced and early pathologic lesions, respectively. The selective vulnerability of unmyelinated and small myelinated fibers in affected regions in this disorder has been confirmed. The earliest morphologic abnormalities of myelinated fibers, but seen infrequently, were mitochondrial enlargement and structural abnormality, aggregation of mitochondria and dense bodies and clusters of neurofilaments. Increased numbers of sudanophilic lipid droplets did not seem to form in Schwann cell cytoplasm prior to fiber degeneration. On the contrary, for myelinated fibers there appeared to be an altered process of axonal degeneration from that seen in Wallerian degeneration and in other axonal degenerations. Distinctive linear bands of closely-packed, minute, osmiophilic and clear lipid droplets formed and their further degradation appeared delayed. Although less clearly demonstrated, lipid droplets in Schwann cells of unmyelinated fibers also appeared to form following their degeneration. We would propose that in Tangier disease, the degradation of myelin ovoids to neutral lipid in Schwann cells does not appear to be delayed. However, further degradation of neutral lipid or its transport away from Schwann cells appears to be retarded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-137
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Volume37
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1978

Fingerprint

Tangier Disease
Schwann Cells
Lipids
Nociception
Wallerian Degeneration
Syringomyelia
Skin
Intermediate Filaments
Myelin Sheath
Forearm
Upper Extremity
Lower Extremity
Leg
Mitochondria
Cytoplasm
Arm
Hand
Hot Temperature
Muscles
Lipid Droplets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

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title = "Adult-onset of Tangier disease: I. Morphometric and pathologic studies suggesting delayed degradation of neutral lipids after fiber degeneration",
abstract = "A 67-year-old woman, with the typical biochemical features of Tangier disease, had a syringomyelia-like syndrome which has now been observed in several patients with symptomatic onset in adult life. She developed progressive facial diplegia, bilateral wasting of hand muscles and loss of sensation over cranial, cervical and brachial dermatomes over 17 years. Nociception alone was first affected, then nociception and thermal discrimination and finally all modalities of sensation. Quantified tests of cutaneous sensation confirmed that sensation was normal in lower limbs but markedly abnormal in upper limbs. Biopsied fascicles of cutaneous nerves from clinically affected (forearm) and from clinically unaffected (leg) regions permitted a comparison of well-advanced and early pathologic lesions, respectively. The selective vulnerability of unmyelinated and small myelinated fibers in affected regions in this disorder has been confirmed. The earliest morphologic abnormalities of myelinated fibers, but seen infrequently, were mitochondrial enlargement and structural abnormality, aggregation of mitochondria and dense bodies and clusters of neurofilaments. Increased numbers of sudanophilic lipid droplets did not seem to form in Schwann cell cytoplasm prior to fiber degeneration. On the contrary, for myelinated fibers there appeared to be an altered process of axonal degeneration from that seen in Wallerian degeneration and in other axonal degenerations. Distinctive linear bands of closely-packed, minute, osmiophilic and clear lipid droplets formed and their further degradation appeared delayed. Although less clearly demonstrated, lipid droplets in Schwann cells of unmyelinated fibers also appeared to form following their degeneration. We would propose that in Tangier disease, the degradation of myelin ovoids to neutral lipid in Schwann cells does not appear to be delayed. However, further degradation of neutral lipid or its transport away from Schwann cells appears to be retarded.",
author = "Dyck, {Peter J} and Ellefson, {R. D.} and Yao, {J. K.} and Herbert, {P. N.}",
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T2 - I. Morphometric and pathologic studies suggesting delayed degradation of neutral lipids after fiber degeneration

AU - Dyck, Peter J

AU - Ellefson, R. D.

AU - Yao, J. K.

AU - Herbert, P. N.

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N2 - A 67-year-old woman, with the typical biochemical features of Tangier disease, had a syringomyelia-like syndrome which has now been observed in several patients with symptomatic onset in adult life. She developed progressive facial diplegia, bilateral wasting of hand muscles and loss of sensation over cranial, cervical and brachial dermatomes over 17 years. Nociception alone was first affected, then nociception and thermal discrimination and finally all modalities of sensation. Quantified tests of cutaneous sensation confirmed that sensation was normal in lower limbs but markedly abnormal in upper limbs. Biopsied fascicles of cutaneous nerves from clinically affected (forearm) and from clinically unaffected (leg) regions permitted a comparison of well-advanced and early pathologic lesions, respectively. The selective vulnerability of unmyelinated and small myelinated fibers in affected regions in this disorder has been confirmed. The earliest morphologic abnormalities of myelinated fibers, but seen infrequently, were mitochondrial enlargement and structural abnormality, aggregation of mitochondria and dense bodies and clusters of neurofilaments. Increased numbers of sudanophilic lipid droplets did not seem to form in Schwann cell cytoplasm prior to fiber degeneration. On the contrary, for myelinated fibers there appeared to be an altered process of axonal degeneration from that seen in Wallerian degeneration and in other axonal degenerations. Distinctive linear bands of closely-packed, minute, osmiophilic and clear lipid droplets formed and their further degradation appeared delayed. Although less clearly demonstrated, lipid droplets in Schwann cells of unmyelinated fibers also appeared to form following their degeneration. We would propose that in Tangier disease, the degradation of myelin ovoids to neutral lipid in Schwann cells does not appear to be delayed. However, further degradation of neutral lipid or its transport away from Schwann cells appears to be retarded.

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