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DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2023.1216487; PMCID: PMC10436302


COA8-related leukoencephalopathy is a recently described rare cavitating leukoencephalopathy caused by biallelic variants in the COA8 gene. Clinically, it presents heterogeneously and usually follows a bi-phasic clinical course with a period of acute onset and regression, followed by stabilization, and in some cases, even subtle improvement. We present a 4-year-old boy with a homozygous 2.5 kilobase pair deletion in the COA8 gene following a severe neurological deterioration resulting in death weeks after onset. Brain MRI revealed a distinctive pattern of cavitating leukodystrophy predominantly involving the posterior cerebral white matter which improved upon a follow-up MRI a month later. Brain pathology displayed overall white matter destruction with gliosis and infiltration by macrophages. There was preservation of astrocytes around blood vessels and axons around the zones of demyelination. This study is the first neuropathological examination of COA8-related leukoencephalopathy and provides further characterization of the clinical and MRI phenotype.

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Front Cell Neurosci



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APOPT1; COA8-related leukoencephalopathy; COX deficiency; case report; cavitating leukoencephalopathy; mitochondrial disorders; neuropathology


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This research was funded by research grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (377869 and 426534). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Publisher's Link: