Management of Neuroacanthocytosis Syndromes

  • Ruth Helen Walker


Background: The two core neuroacanthocytosis (NA) syndromes, chorea-acanthocytosis (ChAc) and McLeod syndrome, are progressive neurodegenerative disorders that primarily affect the basal ganglia. The characteristic phenotype comprises a variety of movement disorders including chorea, dystonia, and parkinsonism, as well as psychiatric and cognitive symptoms attributable to basal ganglia dysfunction. These disorders are symptomatically managed on a case-by-case basis, with very few practitioners seeing more than a single case in their careers.

Methods: A literature search was performed on PubMed utilizing the terms neuroacanthocytosis, chorea-acanthocytosis, and McLeod syndrome, and articles were reviewed for mentions of therapies, successful or otherwise.

Results: There have been no blinded, controlled trials and only one retrospective case series describing ChAc. The various therapies that have been used in patients with NA syndromes are summarized.

Discussion: Management remains at present purely symptomatic, which is similar in principle to other more common basal ganglia neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington’s disease (HD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, there are some specific issues particular to NA syndromes that merit attention. An integrated multidisciplinary approach is the ideal management strategy for these complex and multifaceted neurodegenerative disorders.