Neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation (NBIA) describes a group of progressive neurodegenerative disorders characterized by high brain iron and the presence of axonal spheroids, usually limited to the central nervous system. Mutations in the PANK2 gene account for the majority of NBIA cases and cause an autosomal recessive inborn error of coenzyme A metabolism called pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN). More recently, it was found that mutations in the PLA2G6 gene cause both infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy (INAD) and, more rarely, an atypical neuroaxonal dystrophy that overlaps clinically with other forms of NBIA. High brain iron is also present in a portion of these cases. Clinical assessment, neuroimaging, and molecular genetic testing all play a role in guiding the diagnostic evaluation and treatment of NBIA.
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