Impaired eye movements in presymptomatic spinocerebellar ataxia type 6.
ABSTRACT Early detection of impaired neurological function in neurodegenerative diseases may aid in understanding disease pathogenesis and timing of therapeutic trials.
To identify early abnormalities of ocular motor function in individuals who have the spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6) gene (CACNA1A) but no clinical symptoms.
Physiological techniques were used to record and analyze eye movements and postural sway.
Four presymptomatic and 5 ataxic patients with SCA6, genetically identified, and 10 healthy controls.
Presymptomatic individuals had normal postural sway but definite ocular motor abnormalities. Two had a low-amplitude horizontal gaze-evoked nystagmus, 1 of whom had a significantly decreased eye velocity for upward saccades and an abnormal frequency of square-wave jerks. Another had abnormal square-wave jerks and a fourth had a reduced gain for pursuit tracking. Not all of the presymptomatic patients had the same findings, but a multivariate analysis discriminated the presymptomatic patients, as a group, from healthy controls and the ataxic patients.
Among the earliest functional deficits in SCA6 are eye movement abnormalities, including impaired saccade velocity, saccade metrics, and pursuit gain. This suggests that early functional impairments are caused by cellular dysfunction and/or loss in the posterior cerebellar vermis and flocculus. These findings might help to determine the timing of a treatment and to define variables that could be used as outcome measures for the efficacy of therapeutic trials.
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ABSTRACT: Ophthalmic findings are common features of neurodegenerative disorders and, in addition to being clinically important, have emerged as potentially useful biomarkers of disease progression in several conditions. Clinically, these visual system abnormalities can be a clue to diagnosis, as well as being a prominent cause of disability in affected patients. In this Review, we describe the various afferent visual system and other ophthalmic features of inherited neurodegenerative disorders, including the muscular dystrophies, Friedreich ataxia, the spinocerebellar ataxias, hereditary spastic paraplegia, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and other conditions. We focus on the expanding role of optical coherence tomography in diagnostic imaging of the retina and optic nerve head, and the possible use of ophthalmic findings as biomarkers of disease severity in hereditary neurodegenerative disorders. In addition, we discuss the ophthalmic manifestations and treatment implications of mitochondrial dysfunction, which is a feature of many inherited neurodegenerative diseases.Nature Reviews Neurology 05/2014; DOI:10.1038/nrneurol.2014.79 · 14.10 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Non-ataxic symptoms of spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) vary widely and often overlap with various types of SCAs. Duration and severity of the disease and genetic background may play a role in such phenotypic diversity. We conducted the study in order to study clinical characteristics of common SCAs in Thailand and the factors that may influence their phenotypes. 131 (49.43%) out of 265 Thai ataxia families with cerebellar degeneration had positive tests for SCA1, SCA2, Machado-Joseph disease (MJD) or SCA6. The study evaluated 83 available families including SCA1 (21 patients), SCA2 (15), MJD (39) and SCA6 (8). Comparisons of frequency of each non-ataxic sign among different SCA subtypes were analysed. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were undertaken to analyze parameters in association with disease severity and size of CAG repeat. Mean ages at onset were not different among patients with different SCAs (40.31 +/- 11.33 years, mean +/- SD). Surprisingly, SCA6 patients often had age at onset and phenotypes indistinguishable from SCA1, SCA2 and MJD. Frequencies of ophthalmoparesis, nystagmus, hyperreflexia and areflexia were significantly different among the common SCAs, whilst frequency of slow saccade was not. In contrast to Caucasian patients, parkinsonism, dystonia, dementia, and facial fasciculation were uncommon in Thai patients. Multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated that ophthalmoparesis (p < 0.001) and sensory impairment (p = 0.025) were associated with the severity of the disease. We described clinical characteristics of the 4 most common SCAs in Thailand accounting for almost 90% of familial spinocerebellar ataxias. There were some different observations compared to Caucasian patients including earlier age at onset of SCA6 and the paucity of extrapyramidal features, cognitive impairment and facial fasciculation. Severity of the disease, size of the pathological CAG repeat allele, genetic background and somatic heterogeneity of pathological alleles may influence clinical expressions of these common SCAs.BMC Neurology 04/2014; 14(1):75. DOI:10.1186/1471-2377-14-75 · 2.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Machado-Joseph disease (MJD), also named spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3) is the most common autosomal dominant ataxia worldwide. Although nystagmus is one of the most frequently reported ocular alterations in MJD patients its behaviour during the course of the disease, namely in its early stages, has only recently started to be investigated. The main goal of this work was to characterize the frequency of nystagmus in symptomatic and presymptomatic carriers of the MJD mutation, and investigate its usefulness as an early indicator of the disease. We conducted an observational study of Azorean MJD family members, comprising a total of 158 subjects which underwent neurological evaluation. Sixty eight were clinically and molecularly diagnosed with MJD, 48 were confirmed asymptomatic carriers and 42 were confirmed non-carriers of the MJD mutation. The frequency of nystagmus was calculated for the 3 groups. Nystagmus was present in 88% of the MJD patients. Seventeen percent of the at-risk subjects with a carrier result in the molecular test and none of the 42 individuals who received a non-carrier test result displayed nystagmus (p < 0.006). Although not reaching statistical significance, symptomatic subjects showing nystagmus had a tendency for a higher length of the CAG tract in the expanded allele, when compared to individuals who did not have nystagmus. The frequency of nystagmus in asymptomatic carriers and its absence in non-carriers of the mutation, suggests that nystagmus may appear before gait disturbance and can thus be considered an early sign of MJD.BMC Neurology 01/2014; 14(1):17. DOI:10.1186/1471-2377-14-17 · 2.49 Impact Factor