Acta Neuropathologica

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 187–192 | Cite as

Neuropathology of chronic vitamine E deficiency in fatal familial intrahepatic cholestasis

  • K. Saito
  • T. Yokoyama
  • M. Okaniwa
  • S. Kamoshita
Original Works


A progressive neuromuscular syndrome developed in a girl suffering from fatal familial intrahepatic cholestasis (Byler disease). The neuromuscular syndrome included muscular wasting of the legs, pes cavus, areflexia, decreased vibratory sensation, cerebellar symptoms, ophthalmoplegia, and visual disturbance with retinitis pigmentosa. The serum vitamin E level was extremely low. Postmortem neuropathologic study revealed the following lesions: (1) Systemic axonopathy involving the peripheral nerves and proximal axons of the dorsal root ganglia and posterior roots as well as the distal axons of the central nervous system (CNS) (2) Neuronal loss in the sensory and oculomotor nuclei of the brain stem, basal ganglia, Clarke's column, posterior horn, and dorsal root ganglia. (3) Neuronal lipofuscinosis. Axonopathy was severer in the more distal axonal segments, although the cuneate fasciculus was more affected than the gracile fasciculus. The severity of neuronal lipofuscinosis was not correlated with that of neuronal disintegration. The electron-dense bodies in the dystrophic swollen axons resembled lipofuscin granules. These neuropathologic lesions were considered to be the sequelae to chronic vitamin E deficiency.

Key words

Intrahepatic cholestasis Vitamin E deficiency Neuroaxonal dystrophy Peripheral neuropathy Neuronal lipofuscinosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Saito
    • 1
  • T. Yokoyama
    • 1
  • M. Okaniwa
    • 2
  • S. Kamoshita
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept of PathologyJichi Medical SchoolTochigi-kenJapan
  2. 2.Dept of PediatricsJichi Medical SchoolTochigi-kenJapan

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