CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · J Neurosci Rural Pract 2017; 08(S 01): S089-S093
DOI: 10.4103/jnrp.jnrp_511_16
Review Article
Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice

Clinical and Genetic Characteristics of Leukodystrophies in Africa

Mutaz Amin
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan
Liena Elsayed
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan
Ammar Eltahir Ahmed
1   Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan
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03. September 2019 (online)


Recent understanding of the genetic basis of neurological disorders in Africa has grown rapidly in the last two decades. Africa harbors the largest genetic repertoire in the world which gives unique opportunity to discover novel variant, genes, and molecular pathways associated with various neurological diseases. Despite that, large-scale genomic and exome studies are severely lacking especially for neglected diseases such as leukodystrophies. This review aims to shed light on the currently developed research in leukodystrophies in Africa. We reviewed all research articles related to “Leukodystrophy in Africa” published in Medline/PubMed and Google Scholar databases up to date. We found very few studies in leukodystrophy from Africa, especially from the Sub-Saharan regions. Metachromatic leukodystrophy was the most studied type of leukodystrophy. Published studies from North Africa (Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt) were very limited in either sample size (case studies or single/few family studies) or molecular methods (targeted sequencing or polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphisms). More studies (GWAS or large family studies) with advanced techniques such as exome or whole genome sequencing are needed to unveil the genetic basis of leukodystrophy in Africa. Unmasking novel genes and molecular pathways of leukodystrophies invariably lead to better detection and treatment for both Africans and worldwide populations.