What is tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)?

Updated: Aug 21, 2018
  • Author: David Neal Franz, MD; Chief Editor: Amy Kao, MD  more...
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In 1880, Bourneville first described the cerebral manifestations of this disorder, applying the term "sclerose tubereuse" to indicate the superficial resemblance of the lesions to a potato. In 1908 Vogt set forth the triad of intractable epilepsy, mental retardation, and adenoma sebaceum; this description (until relatively recently) represented the hallmark of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) to most clinicians. Unfortunately, this concept led many primary care physicians and even neurologists to conclude, incorrectly, that a diagnosis of TSC predestines a child to crippling, lifelong neurological and psychological morbidity.

TSC is now known to be a genetic disorder affecting cellular differentiation, proliferation, and migration early in development, resulting in a variety of hamartomatous lesions that may affect virtually every organ system of the body. Less than one third of affected persons fit the classic Vogt triad.

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