11/29/2016 10:20 AM EST
RNAse T2-deficient leukoencephalopathy
RNAse T2-deficient leukoencephalopathy is a disorder that affects the brain. People with RNAse T2-deficient leukoencephalopathy have neurological problems that become apparent during infancy; the problems generally do not worsen over time (progress). Most affected individuals have severe intellectual disability; muscle stiffness (spasticity); and a delay in developing motor skills such as sitting, crawling, and walking. Some do not learn to walk, and most do not develop the ability to speak. Other neurological features that can occur in RNAse T2-deficient leukoencephalopathyinclude hearing loss caused by abnormalities in the inner ear (sensorineural deafness), seizures, involuntary writhing movements of the hands (athetosis), uncontrolled muscle tensing (dystonia), and involuntary eye movements (nystagmus). In addition to the neurological problems associated with this disorder, some affected individuals have unusual facial features sometimes described as a "doll-like face."
The neurological problems in this disorder are caused by abnormalities in the brain. People with this condition have leukoencephalopathy, an abnormality of the brain's white matter that can be detected with medical imaging. White matter consists of nerve fibers covered by a fatty substance called myelin. Myelin insulates nerve fibers and promotes the rapid transmission of nerve impulses. In people with RNAse T2-deficient leukoencephalopathy, myelin is not made in sufficient amounts during development, leading to patchy white matter abnormalities (lesions) in the brain. In addition, individuals with RNAse T2-deficient leukoencephalopathy may have cysts in regions of the brain called the temporal lobes and enlargement of the fluid-filled cavities (ventricles) near the center of the brain. The white matter lesions are primarily concentrated around the cysts and the ventricles. An abnormally small head and brain size (microcephaly) often occurs in this disorder.
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