• Users Online: 1756
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

   Table of Contents      
Year : 1989  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 200-201

Atypical Wilson disease-A case report with CT scan

Neuro Ophthalmology Section, SCB Medical College. Cuttack 753 007, India

Correspondence Address:
Madhumati Misra
Neuro Ophthalmology Section, SCB Medical College. Cuttack 753 007
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 2638315

Rights and PermissionsRights and Permissions

A case of atypical Wilson disease is being reported. Possible mechanism of the process, diagnostic features and CT appearance of brain is described. Early detection and therapy with copper chelating agents result in neurologic and performance improvement of patients.

How to cite this article:
Misra M, Mohanty AB, Rath S. Atypical Wilson disease-A case report with CT scan. Indian J Ophthalmol 1989;37:200-1

How to cite this URL:
Misra M, Mohanty AB, Rath S. Atypical Wilson disease-A case report with CT scan. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1989 [cited 2023 Dec 10];37:200-1. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/ijo/pages/default.aspx/text.asp?1989/37/4/200/26044

  Introduction Top

Westphal in 1883 and Gowers in 1888 first suspected the inter-relationship of coooer metabolism and Wilson dis­ease. [1],[2] Corneal Kayser Fleisher(KF) rings were pathog­nomic of Wilson disease and the result of storage of brown copper containing granules in descemets membrane near corneal limbus. Wilson (1912) first described the clinical findings of rigidity, tremor,drooling and impairment of liver function. Cumings (1948) first conclusively demonstrated the inter-relationship of copper metabolism and Wilson disease. [3],[4] The variability of clinical picture of hepatic failure or bizzare neurological signs often delays diagnosis in children. Detection of KF rings in cornea sometimes gives. a clue to the diagnosis (Misra et al 1988). [6] We report a case of atypical wilson disease with review of literature.

  Case report Top

SP. a male child aged 10 years experienced slowly pro­gressive dystonic movement of all limbs, abnormal limb posture, difficulty in speech and walking every, last six months. He was the third child of a non consanguineous marriage and her family history was noncontributory.

Neurological examination revealed slow mentation, slurred speech, ataxic gait and bilateral dyskinesia. His liver was 3 finger enlarged, firm and nontender. There was no other visceromegaly. Ophthalmic examination revealed invol­untary eye movements with full pupillary reaction, normal visual acuity and field with normal optic fundii. Slit lamp examination showed K.F. rings on either eye close to the corneal limbus.

Detection of KF ring led to the suspicion of abnormal copper metabolism (? wilson disease) and extensive in­vestigation was done. Serum copper level was 42gm/ 100ml (N. 75-160gm/100ml), serum copper oxidase level was 0.08 optical density (N. 0.2-0.55 optical density), uri­nary copper excretion in 24 hours was 116.8 gm (N. less than 70 gm/24 hours) and serum ceruloplasmin level was 0.0510 optical density (N-0.2 to 0.55 OD). Serum calcium level was 10.2 mg%, phosphorus 5.5 mg %, alkaline phos­phates 18.76 units, SGOT/SGPT were 61/25 units per ml. Computed tomographic scan (CT scan) of head showed diffuse cerebral atrophy. [Figure - 1]

On basis of the findings of low serum copper/copper oxidase level and high urinary copper excretion, diagnosis of Wilson disease was established. Therapy with Dimen­capmol 1000 mg/day orally for 2 months resulted in neurological and performance improvement. Corneal KF rings however remained unchanged.

  Discussion Top

There are three different types of Wilson disease based upon the genetic variability. The juvenile type appear before 16-years of age and is predominantly a liver dis­ease before 5 years. The salvic type appear after 16 years of age and is predominantly a neurological disease. The serum ceruloplasmin remain normal to these two types of the disease (Swaiman et al. 1982). The third type, classified as atypical Wilson disease is characterised by low serum ceruloplasmin level and clinical picture similar to those of juvenile type (Misra et al 1988, Cox et al 1972). The patient reported has atypical form of the disease with low ceruloplasmin level.

Early in the first decade, the initial symptoms of Wilson disease are those of severe, acute or subacute hepatic failure without specific neurological symptoms. Between ages 5 and 10, children manifest dystonia as the most prominent clinical finding (Denny Brown 1964). The chil­dren eventually worsen with mild intention tremor (Misra et al 1988), dysarthria, KF ring and slowly progressive dementia characterised by unusual behaviours, tempor outbursts and decreased intellectual abilities.

Corneal KF rings may be seen with naked eye or slit lamp and are pathognomonic of Wilson disease. The rings are the result of storage of brown granules containing copper in the descemets membrane near corneal limbus (Misra et al. 1988).

Brainstem auditory potential wave latencies are increased (Fuitija et al 1981) and CT scan may reveal lucent areas in the basal region.

The basic biochemical abnormality in Wilson disease is the large deposit and accumulation of copper in the liver and tissues with accompanying cupri uria. Non-ceru­loplasmin bound copper concentration is increased in plasma, ceruloplasmin level is usually low but is often normal. There may be uric aciduria and amine aciduria as copper probably interferes with renal tubular function.

In the period before modern treatment with D-penicillam­ine, patients usually died within 5 years from severe hepatic and neurological impairment and only few man­aged to survive longer with mild neurologic impairment. (Goldstien et al 1974).

  Treatment Top

Dimercaprol was first introduced by Cumings in 1948. D­penicillamine is effective because it chelates with copper and lead to increase copper excretion in urine. Brain and hepatic dysfunction appear to be partly reversible and KF rings also tend to fade. The total dose of D-penicilliamine ranges from 500 to 2000 mg/day with an average 1000 mg/ day for 2 months at each session. Copper intake is kept low, 1.0 to 1.5 mg/24 hours (Strickland et al 1971). Potas­sium disulphide can be used (30 to 50 mg/day) to reduce copper absorption from gut. Therapy with levo dopa in addition to copper chelating agents has resulted in per­formance improvement in few patients with Wilson disease (Gelmers et al 1973)[11].

  References Top

Westphal C - uber eine dem Bilde der cerebrospinal en grauen Degeneration ahnliche Erk rankung des central en Nerven systems ohne anatomischen Befund, nebst einigen Bemerkun gen uber para doze contraction. Arch. psychiatre. 1883. 14.87.  Back to cited text no. 1
Gowers WR-A manual of disease of the nervous system. Vol. 2 T and A Churchill. London. 1888. P 656  Back to cited text no. 2
Wilson SAK - Progressive lenticular degeneration, a familial nervous system disease associated with Cairosis of the liver. Brain - 1912. 34.295.  Back to cited text no. 3
Cumings JN- The copper and iron content of the brain and liver in normal and in hepato lenticular degeneration. Brain. 1948. 71. 410.  Back to cited text no. 4
Misra M. Rath S- Hepato lenticular degeneration. Orissa Medical Journal, 1988 (In press).  Back to cited text no. 5
Swaiman KF, Menkes JH , Devivo Dc, Prensky AL -" Metabolic disorders of the central nervous system" . In the practice of paediatric neurology. 2nd Ed. Vol. I Ed. Swaiman KF and Wright F.S. The C.V. Mosby Co. London. 1982. P. 575.  Back to cited text no. 6
Cox OW. Fraser FC, Sass-Kortasak A-A genetic study of wilson's diesease : evidence for heterogeneity. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 1972. 24. 646.  Back to cited text no. 7
Denny - Brown D - Hepato lenticular degeneration (Wilson's disease). N. Engl. Jr. med. 1964. 270. 1149.  Back to cited text no. 8
Fujita M., Hosoki M and Miyazaki M - Brain- stem auditory evoked responses in spinocerebellar degeneration and Wilson's disease, Anna. Neurol, 9, 42, 1981..  Back to cited text no. 9
Goldstein N.P. and Owen C.A., Symposium on copper metabolism and wilsons's disease, Mayo clinic proceedings, 49,363, 1974.  Back to cited text no. 10
Strickland G.T. Bacckwell R.A. and Walten R.H. Metabolic studies in Wilson's disease, Amer. J. Med. 51, 31, 1971. Gelmers J.H., Troost j., Willemse J. Wilson's disease, modification by L.Dopa, Neuropaediatric, 4, 453, 1973.  Back to cited text no. 11


  [Figure - 1]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
Case report
Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded1    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal