Progressive cerebral degeneration of childhood with liver disease (Alpers Huttenlocher disease) with cytochrome oxidase deficiency presenting with epilepsia partialis continua as the first clinical manifestation.
Worle H. Kohler B. Schlote W. Winkler P. Bastanier CK.
Paediatric Centre, Olgahospital, Children's Hospital, Frankfurt, Germany.
A previously healthy and normally developed 17-year-old young female presented with a sudden onset of focal motor seizure status that proved to be refractory to anticonvulsive treatment. Severe encephalopathy with visual impairment leading to blindness, mental deterioration, and predominantly left spastic tetraparesis developed progressively. Hepatic disease evolved 4 months after onset of the first symptoms and led to death in hepatic failure 1 month later. Diagnostic studies revealed an elevated protein and lactate in the cerebrospinal fluid, slow-wave and intermittently continuous spike-wave activity in the EEG, and a complex i.v. (cytochrome-C oxidase) deficiency in the muscle biopsy. MRI scans revealed signal abnormalities in the occipital lobe, thalamus, and basal ganglia only after 3 months. Histopathological findings in liver biopsy and in postmortem brain examination displaying widespread predominantly right cortical spongiosis, neuronal loss and astrocytosis were consistent with the clinically suspected diagnosis of progressive neuronal degeneration of childhood with liver disease (PNDC) or Alpers Huttenlocher disease. This rare disorder of unknown origin is usually seen in infants and young children and is rarely reported in adolescence.