Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1170-1173

Familial CNS-Isolated hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis due to a novel PRF1 mutation triggered by SARS-CoV2

1 Department of Neurology, University of Northwestern, Chicago, IL, USA
2 Department of Pediatric Neurology, Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA, USA
3 Department of Neurology; Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA

Correspondence Address:
Natalia Gonzalez Caldito
Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 259 E Erie St 19th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aian.aian_719_22

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Background: Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a potentially fatal hyperinflammatory condition that presents with fever, hepatosplenomegaly, and characteristic laboratory findings. Mutations in the perforin gene PRF1 have been implicated in cases of familial HLH (fHLH) and can cause isolated CNS-HLH in the absence of systemic HLH. Results: A five year-old boy presented with three weeks of headache, blurry vision, and emesis. He was diagnosed with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), thought to be triggered by SARS-CoV-2 given positive nasopharyngeal testing. He completed a five day course of high dose IV methylprednisolone and plasma exchange. In the subsequent months, he was admitted twice due to worsening clinical and radiological activity and after several courses of IV pulse steroids, plasmapheresis, and IV immunoglobulin (IVIG), his condition stabilized with rituximab and monthly IVIG. A few months later, his younger brother presented with a similar syndrome. It was discovered that his parents were second cousins, leading to concern for a genetic disorder. Genetic testing revealed a homozygous mutation for PRF1 in both siblings (variant c.4422G>A). Conclusions: This is the first presentation of CNS-isolated familial HLH triggered by SARS-CoV-2 in the pediatric population. Furthermore, this is the first report of this specific PRF1 mutation, the variant c.4422G>A, as pathogenic. It highlights the relevance of genetic testing in pediatric neuroinflammatory disorders that do not respond adequately to conventional treatments. It is possible that as our knowledge in neurogenetics develops, certain genes will be identified as predisposing factors to syndromes such as ADEM.

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