Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 81, Issue 4, pp 467–470 | Cite as

Brain lesions in chronic granulomatous disease

  • M. G. Hadfield
  • N. R. Ghatak
  • F. J. Laine
  • E. C. Myer
  • F. S. Massie
  • W. M. Kramer
Case Reports


In chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) enzyme-deficient neutrophils and mononuclear cells lack the respiratory brust required for biocidal activity. Recurrent infections lead to granulomas in various organs but brain lesions are rare. In the present case, a 23-year-old male with numerous infections since early childhood died of overwhelming pulmonary aspergillosis. He first began to experience neurological deficits at the age of 17. Computerized tomography and magnetic rsonance imaging revealed fleeting white matter lesions that were interpreted as multiple sclerosis (MS). At post mortem, three types of brain lesions were found: (1) Pigmented macrophages in perivascular spaces and the leptomeninges similar to those reported previously. They contained fine, golden-brown, lipofuscin-like material whose chemical composition included a sulfur peak by X-ray analysis. (2) Focal, well-demarcated, “burnt out” white matter lesions with loss of both myelin and axons and intense sclerosis. (3) Diffuse areas of mild pallor in the centrum ovale which spared the U fibers. The pigmented macrophages are characteristic of those seen in the periphery in CGD. The origin of the discrete, destructive white matter lesions is unclear. They may have resulted from: (i) earlier activity by CGD macrophages; (ii) previous infections due to sepsis or embolism; or (iii) possibly post-infectious encephalomyelitis. The more diffuse, mild, white matter lesions are attributed to edema. Evidence for MS, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or human immunodeficiency virus encephalitis was lacking. This case is presented to alert us to look more carefully for brain lesions in CGD, characterize them and to help determine their cause.

Key words

Chronic granulomatous disease White matter lesions Pigmented macrophages Lipofuscin Sulfur 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. G. Hadfield
    • 1
  • N. R. Ghatak
    • 1
  • F. J. Laine
    • 2
  • E. C. Myer
    • 3
  • F. S. Massie
    • 4
  • W. M. Kramer
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PathologyMedical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyMedical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyMedical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwelth UniversityRichmondUSA
  4. 4.St. Mary's HospitalRichmondUSA

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