Adult-onset adrenoleukodystrophy presenting with status epilepticus and psychosis

Ami Mehul Mehta, Mukhyaprana Prabhu, Gokul Krishnan

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is an X linked recessive genetic disorder caused by an abnormality in the ABCD1 gene on the X chromosome, that affects 1 in 20 000 people. In X linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD), a defect in lignoceroyl-coenzyme A ligase causes pathognomonic tissue accumulation of very long chain fatty acids (VLCFA) in the adrenal cortex and nervous system. The phenotypic variability ranges from cerebral inflammatory demyelination of childhood onset, leading to death within 5 years, to adults remaining presymptomatic through more than five decades. Our case is that of a man who was previously diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder presented with dystonic posturing. During transit, he had an episode of generalised convulsive status epilepticus. He presented with spasticity and exaggerated reflexes. Three important signs of adrenal insufficiency were observed: hypotension, hyperpigmentation and comatose state. The diagnosis of X-ALD should be considered in young men presenting with gradually progressive unexplained cognitive and behavioural problems, a strong family history, adrenal insufficiency, bilateral upper motor signs with absent ankle reflexes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere244757
JournalBMJ Case Reports
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 30-11-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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