Reviewing the genetic causes of spastic-ataxias

and Department of Neurology (H.P.H.K.), University of Groningen, University Medical Centre Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.
Neurology (Impact Factor: 8.29). 10/2012; 79(14):1507-14. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31826d5fb0
Source: PubMed


Although the combined presence of ataxia and pyramidal features has a long differential, the presence of a true spastic-ataxia as the predominant clinical syndrome has a rather limited differential diagnosis. Autosomal recessive ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay, late-onset Friedreich ataxia, and hereditary spastic paraplegia type 7 are examples of genetic diseases with such a prominent spastic-ataxic syndrome as the clinical hallmark. We review the various causes of spastic-ataxic syndromes with a focus on the genetic disorders, and provide a clinical framework, based on age at onset, mode of inheritance, and additional clinical features and neuroimaging signs, that could serve the diagnostic workup.

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    • "Pyramidal tract signs were also observed in several of the previously reported STUB1 families [4,5]. In sum, this frequent combination of ataxia with pyramidal tract damage indicates that STUB1 ataxia should be added to the differential diagnosis of the rapidly increasing list of “spastic ataxia” spectrum disorders [14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gene STUB1, encoding the protein CHIP (C-terminus of HSC70-interacting protein), have recently been suggested as a cause of recessive ataxia based on the findings in few Chinese families. Here we aimed to investigate the phenotypic and genotypic spectrum of STUB1 mutations, and to assess their frequency in different Caucasian disease cohorts. 300 subjects with degenerative ataxia (n = 167) or spastic paraplegia (n = 133) were screened for STUB1 variants by whole-exome-sequencing (n = 204) or shotgun-fragment-library-sequencing (n = 96). To control for the specificity of STUB1 variants, we screened an additional 1707 exomes from 891 index families with other neurological diseases. We identified 3 ataxia patients (3/167 = 1.8%) with 4 novel missense mutations in STUB1, including 3 mutations in its tetratricopeptide-repeat domain. All patients showed evidence of pyramidal tract damage. Cognitive impairment was present only in one and hypogonadism in none of them. Ataxia did not start before age 48 years in one subject. No recessive STUB1 variants were identified in families with other neurological diseases, demonstrating that STUB1 variants are not simply rare polymorphisms ubiquitous in neurodegenerative disease. STUB1-disease occurs also in Caucasian ataxia populations (1.8%). Our results expand the genotypic spectrum of STUB1-disease, showing that pathogenic mutations affect also the tetratricopeptide-repeat domain, thus providing clinical evidence for the functional importance of this domain. Moreover, they further delineate the phenotypic core features of STUB1-ataxia. Pyramidal tract damage is a common accompanying feature and can include lower limb spasticity, thus adding STUB1-ataxia to the differential diagnosis of "spastic ataxias". However, STUB1 is rare in subjects with predominant spastic paraplegia (0/133). In contrast to previous reports, STUB1-ataxia can start even above age 40 years, and neither hypogonadism nor prominent cognitive impairment are obligatory features.
    Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 04/2014; 9(1):57. DOI:10.1186/1750-1172-9-57 · 3.36 Impact Factor
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    • "They are characterized by impaired walking with lack of gait and limb coordination, and usually by an early age of onset (Harding, 1983; Palau & Espinos, 2006). The prominent features may often be accompanied with spasticity and the disease is called spastic-ataxia (de Bot et al., 2012; Hammer et al., 2013). More than 20 ARCA genes and loci have been identified in the last 15 years thus demonstrating genetic heterogeneity (Anheim et al., 2010; Doi et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxias (ARCA) encompass a heterogeneous group of rare diseases that affect the cerebellum, the spinocerebellar tract and/or the sensory tracts of the spinal cord. We investigated a consanguineous Cypriot family with spastic ataxia, aiming towards identification of the causative mutation. Family members were clinically evaluated and studied at the genetic level. Linkage analysis at marker loci spanning known ARCA genes/loci revealed linkage to the APTX locus. Thorough investigation of the APTX gene excluded any possible mutation. Whole genome linkage screening using microsatellite markers and whole genome SNP homozygosity mapping using the Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 enabled mapping of the disease gene/mutation in this family to Chromosome 9p21.1-p13.2. Due to the large number of candidate genes within this region, whole-exome sequencing of the proband was performed and further analysis of the obtained data focused on the mapped interval. Further investigation of the candidate variants resulted in the identification of a novel missense mutation in the GBA2 gene. GBA2 mutations have recently been associated with hereditary spastic paraplegia and ARCA with spasticity. We hereby report a novel GBA2 mutation associated with spastic ataxia and suggest that GBA2 mutations may be a relatively frequent cause of ARCA.
    Annals of Human Genetics 11/2013; 78(1). DOI:10.1111/ahg.12045 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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    • "In VLOFA, spastic tetraparesis has been reported without marked ataxia (Lhatoo et al. 2001; Berciano et al. 2002; Labauge 2002). Therefore, atypical FRDA with retained or even increased tendon reflexes and/or spasticity may be considered as a differential diagnosis in patients with spastic ataxias (De Bot et al. 2012). Data on the presence of lower limb neuropathy in late-onset FRDA patients are sparse. "
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    ABSTRACT: One hundred and fifty years since Nikolaus Friedreich's first description of the degenerative ataxic syndrome which bears his name, his description remains at the core of the classical clinical phenotype of gait and limb ataxia, poor balance and coordination, leg weakness, sensory loss, areflexia, impaired walking, dysarthria, dysphagia, eye movement abnormalities, scoliosis, foot deformities, cardiomyopathy and diabetes. Onset is typically around puberty with slow progression and shortened life-span often related to cardiac complications. Inheritance is autosomal recessive with the vast majority of cases showing an unstable intronic GAA expansion in both alleles of the frataxin gene on chromosome 9q13. A small number of cases are caused by a compound heterozygous expansion with a point mutation or deletion. Understanding of the underlying molecular biology has enabled identification of atypical phenotypes with late onset, or atypical features such as retained reflexes. Late-onset cases tend to have slower progression and are associated with smaller GAA expansions. Early-onset cases tend to have more rapid progression and a higher frequency of non-neurological features such as diabetes, cardiomyopathy, scoliosis and pes cavus. Compound heterozygotes, including those with large deletions, often have atypical features. In this paper, we review the classical and atypical clinical phenotypes of Friedreich's ataxia.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 08/2013; 126(s1). DOI:10.1111/jnc.12317 · 4.28 Impact Factor
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