Typical pathological changes of CADASIL in the optic nerve


Visual impairment due to retinal and optic nerve changes in cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is more common than previously thought. Deposits of granular osmiophilic material (GOM) have been shown in the wall of retinal arterioles, though retinal infarcts and vascular occlusions have never been reported. Ischaemic optic neuropathy, on the other hand, has been reported in one case of CADASIL but no pathology reports of the optic nerve have been published. Here we report optic nerve morphological findings in the autopsy material of a 41-year-old woman with genetically assessed CADASIL. Longitudinal and transverse sections of optic nerves were examined. Classical histological methods (haematoxylin-eosin and Nissl) were performed. Diffuse pallor of myelin and rarefaction of optic nerve fibres were observed. Classical GOM was evident in the tunica media of vessels in the meninges and white matter. Arteriole lumina were slightly narrowed. In conclusion, the typical pathological changes of CADASIL occur in the optic nerve and may contribute to impairment of visual function in CADASIL.

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Correspondence to A. Federico.

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Rufa, A., Malandrini, A., Dotti, M.T. et al. Typical pathological changes of CADASIL in the optic nerve. Neurol Sci 26, 271–274 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-005-0470-1

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Key words

  • Optic nerve
  • Morphology
  • Immunocytochemical analysis