1995 Volume 42 Issue 3 Pages 367-376
The association of familial hypogonadism with progressive cerebellar ataxia is only rarely encountered, and the exact link between the symptoms remains unknown. We report here two sisters presenting with Holmes type cerebellar ataxia, hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and retinochoroidal degeneration recently diagnosed as Boucher-Neuhauser syndrome. There was consanguinity between the parents of the affected individuals and the condition seemed to be inherited as an autosomal recessive defect. On endocrinological examinations, in both cases, the responses of LH and FSH to LH-RH (100μg) were impaired even after repetitive stimulation with LH-RH (400μg, 7 days), suggesting that the hypogonadism was due to a primary pituitary disturbance. Impaired GH responses to GRF (100 μg) and insulin-induced hypoglycemia (0.1U/kg) were also noted. The two sisters shared an almost identical clinical and endocrinological picture. Their karyotypes were 46, XX. They had been treated for primary and secondary amenorrhea at the age of 20 years and neurological problems had started at the age of 30 years. This unique family displays clinical evidence of a possible common mechanism responsible for a progressive hypothalamo-pituitary and cerebellar impairment of late onset.