D.P. Wint, J.A. Butman, J.C. Masdeu, A. Meyer-Lindenberg, C.B. Mervis, D. Sarpal, C.A. Morris, and K.F. Berman. 2014

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder with a striking neurobehavioral profile characterized by extreme sociability and impaired visuospatial construction abilities, is caused by a hemideletion that includes the elastin gene, resulting in frequent supravavular aortic stenosis and other stenotic arterial lesions. Strokes have been reported in Williams syndrome. Although the extracranial carotid artery has been studied in a sample of patients with Williams syndrome, proximal intracranial arteries have not.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Using MRA, we studied the intracranial vessels in 27 participants: 14 patients with Williams syndrome (age range, 18 – 44 years; mean age, 27.3 9.1; 43% women) and 13 healthy control participants with similar age and sex distribution (age range, 22–52 years; mean age, 33.4 7.6; 46% women). All participants with Williams syndrome had hemideletions of the elastin gene. Blinded to group allocation or to any other clinical data, a neuroradiologist determined the presence of intracranial vascular changes in the 2 groups.

RESULTS: The Williams syndrome group and the healthy control group had similar patency of the proximal intracranial arteries, including the internal carotid and vertebral arteries; basilar artery; and stem and proximal branches of the anterior cerebral artery, MCA, and posterior cerebral arteries. The postcommunicating segment of the anterior cerebral artery was longer in the Williams syndrome group.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the elastin haploinsufficiency, the proximal intracranial arteries in Williams syndrome preserve normal patency.