X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) is a neurodegenerative disease resulting from mutations in the gene ABCD1 and alterations in peroxisomal beta-oxidation of long chain fatty acids. As it has been frequently discussed, it manifests a wide range of phenotypes in male, with progressive myelopathy being the most common. Even though the gene is localized to the X-chromosome and a region subject to X-inactivation, female carriers still are affected significantly by this condition. It has been stated that between 20 and 50% of women who are carriers may manifest some symptoms and recent evidence has suggested the differences in disease manifestations and relative rates of progression between men and women. However there have been only limited studies specifically addressing this and to date there has been no comprehensive review discussing the different phenotypes in female carriers, as well as the differences in disease onset, progression, disability, nervous system pathology and neuroimaging patterns compared to affected males. This is of key importance as similarities and differences between genders will assist in determining how best to target therapies in all affected individuals as opportunities for treatment present themselves. As will be further addressed in this review, we need to improve our understanding of the associations of emergent neuroimaging techniques to physical disability in this population. We reviewed the clinical presentations in the carrier population, the distinct disability profile and neuroimaging findings in order to put together pieces of this neglected segment in X-ALD and give direction to further studies.
- Skewed X-inactivation
- Symptomatic heterozygotes