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Regression of Kayser-Fleischer Rings During Oral Zinc Therapy: Correlation with Systemic Manifestations of Wilson's Disease

Esmaeli Bita M.D.; Burnstine, Michael A. M.D.; Martonyi, Csaba L. C.O.P.R.A.; Sugar, Alan M.D.; Johnson, Virginia M.S.; Brewer, George J. M.D.

Fourteen patients presenting with neuropsychiatric manifestations of Wilson's disease were treated with oral tetrathiomolybdate (TM) for 8 weeks followed by oral zinc (Zn) maintenance therapy. The patients were evaluated prospectively at baseline and at yearly intervals for up to 5 years by slit-lamp biomicroscopy and photography, quantitative neurologic and speech pathology examinations, 24-h urine copper collection, and a quantitative scoring of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. Kayser-Fleischer (KF) ring size decreased significantly during the 5-year study period (p < 0.0001). Although results of neurologic examination, speech pathology examination, and 24-h urine copper level analysis in symptomatic Wilson's disease patients improved during the study period, KF ring regression did not correlate with the improvement in these clinical parameters (p > 0.05). However, there was a correlation between MRI scores and KF ring regression (p = 0.02). Anticopper therapy with TM followed by zinc maintenance therapy is a safe and effective treatment for patients with neurologically symptomatic Wilson's disease. This treatment leads to reduction in KF ring size; however, KF ring reduction is not a good predictor of clinical improvement for patients with neuropsychiatric manifestations of Wilson's disease.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.