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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    • "SPG7 is traditionally classified as HSP. However, as ataxia is increasingly recognized as a major feature, SPG7 could also be classified as a spastic ataxia[28]. Interestingly, paraplegin is the binding partner of AFG3L2 on the inner mitochondrial membrane. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background and purpose: SPG7 is one of the most common forms of autosomal recessive hereditary spastic paraplegia. The phenotype has been shown to be heterogeneous, varying from a complex spastic ataxia to pure spastic paraplegia or pure ataxia. The aim of this study was to clinically and genetically characterize patients with SPG7 in Norway. Methods: Six Norwegian families with a clinical diagnosis of hereditary spastic paraplegia were diagnosed with SPG7 through Sanger sequencing and whole-exome sequencing. Haplotypes were established to identify a possible founder mutation. All patients were thoroughly examined and the clinical and molecular findings are described. Results: The core phenotype was spastic paraparesis with ataxia, bladder disturbances and progressive external ophthalmoplegia. The variant p.H701P was identified in homozygous state in one family and in compound heterozygous state in three families. Haplotype analysis of seven surrounding single nucleotide polymorphisms supports that this variant resides on a founder haplotype. Four of the families were compound heterozygous for the previously well-described p.A510V variant. Conclusion: SPG7 is a common subgroup of hereditary spinocerebellar disorders in Norway. The broad phenotype in the Norwegian SPG7 population illustrates the challenges with the traditional dichotomous classification of hereditary spinocerebellar disorders into hereditary spastic paraplegia or hereditary ataxia. A Norwegian founder mutation p.H701P was identified in four out of six families, making it a major cause of SPG7 in Norway.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · European Journal of Neurology
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Annals of Human Genetics
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