[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type 2 (AOA2) is an autosomal recessive disease due to mutations in the senataxin gene, causing progressive cerebellar ataxia with peripheral neuropathy, cerebellar atrophy, occasional oculomotor apraxia and elevated alpha-feto-protein (AFP) serum level. We compiled a series of 67 previously reported and 58 novel ataxic patients who underwent senataxin gene sequencing because of suspected AOA2. An AOA2 diagnosis was established for 90 patients, originating from 15 countries worldwide, and 25 new senataxin gene mutations were found. In patients with AOA2, median AFP serum level was 31.0 microg/l at diagnosis, which was higher than the median AFP level of AOA2 negative patients: 13.8 microg/l, P = 0.0004; itself higher than the normal level (3.4 microg/l, range from 0.5 to 17.2 microg/l) because elevated AFP was one of the possible selection criteria. Polyneuropathy was found in 97.5% of AOA2 patients, cerebellar atrophy in 96%, occasional oculomotor apraxia in 51%, pyramidal signs in 20.5%, head tremor in 14%, dystonia in 13.5%, strabismus in 12.3% and chorea in 9.5%. No patient was lacking both peripheral neuropathy and cerebellar atrophy. The age at onset and presence of occasional oculomotor apraxia were negatively correlated to the progression rate of the disease (P = 0.03 and P = 0.009, respectively), whereas strabismus was positively correlated to the progression rate (P = 0.03). An increased AFP level as well as cerebellar atrophy seem to be stable in the course of the disease and to occur mostly at or before the onset of the disease. One of the two patients with a normal AFP level at diagnosis had high AFP levels 4 years later, while the other had borderline levels. The probability of missing AOA2 diagnosis, in case of sequencing senataxin gene only in non-Friedreich ataxia non-ataxia-telangiectasia ataxic patients with AFP level > or =7 microg/l, is 0.23% and the probability for a non-Friedreich ataxia non-ataxia-telangiectasia ataxic patient to be affected with AOA2 with AFP levels > or =7 microg/l is 46%. Therefore, selection of patients with an AFP level above 7 microg/l for senataxin gene sequencing is a good strategy for AOA2 diagnosis. Pyramidal signs and dystonia were more frequent and disease was less severe with missense mutations in the helicase domain of senataxin gene than with missense mutations out of helicase domain and deletion and nonsense mutations (P = 0.001, P = 0.008 and P = 0.01, respectively). The lack of pyramidal signs in most patients may be explained by masking due to severe motor neuropathy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) and ataxia telangiectasia (AT) are known to be the two most frequent forms of autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia (ARCA), knowledge on the other forms of ARCA has been obtained only recently, and they appear to be rarer. Little is known about the epidemiological features and the relative frequency of the ARCAs and only few data are available about the comparative features of ARCAs. We prospectively studied 102 suspected ARCA cases from Eastern France (including 95 from the Alsace region) between 2002 and 2008. The diagnostic procedure was based on a sequential strategic scheme. We examined the clinical, paraclinical and molecular features of the large cohort of patients and compared features and epidemiology according to molecular diagnosis. A molecular diagnosis could be established for 57 patients; 36 were affected with FRDA, seven with ataxia plus oculomotor apraxia type 2 (AOA2), four with AT, three with ataxia plus oculomotor apraxia type 1 (AOA1), three with Marinesco-Sjögren syndrome, two with autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay (ARSACS), one with ataxia with vitamin E deficiency (AVED) and one with autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia type 2 (ARCA2). The group of patients with no identified mutation had a significantly lower spinocerebellar degeneration functional score corrected for disease duration (SDFS/DD ratio; p = 0.002) and comprised a significantly higher proportion of cases with onset after 20 years (p < 0.01). Extensor plantar reflexes were rarer and cerebellar atrophy was more frequent in the group of patients with a known non-Friedreich ARCA compared to all other patients (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.0003, respectively). Lower limb areflexia and electroneuromyographic evidences of peripheral neuropathy were more frequent in the Friedreich ataxia group than in the group with a known non-Friedreich ataxia and were more frequent in the later group than in the group with no identified mutation (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.01, respectively). The overall prevalence of ARCA in Alsace is 1/19,000. We can infer the prevalence of FRDA in Alsace to be 1/50,000 and infer that AT is approximately eight times less frequent than FRDA. MSS, AOA2 and ARSACS appear only slightly less frequent than AT. Despite the broad variability of severity, Friedreich ataxia patients are clinically distinct from the other forms of ARCA. Patients with no identified mutation have more often a pure cerebellar degenerative disease or a spastic ataxia phenotype. It appears that ARCA cases can be divided into two major groups of different prognosis, an early-onset group with a highly probable genetic cause and an adult-onset group with better prognosis for which a genetic cause is more difficult to prove but not excluded. ARCAs are rare, early-disabling and genetically heterogeneous diseases dominated by FRDA. Several of the recently identified ARCAs, such as AVED, ARSACS, AOA1, AOA2 and MSS, have a prevalence close to AT and should be searched for extensively irrespective of ethnic origins. The strategic scheme is a useful tool for the diagnosis of ARCAs in clinical practice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ataxia with oculo-motor apraxia type 2 (AOA2) is a recently described autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia (ARCA) caused by mutations in the senataxin gene (SETX). We analysed the phenotypic spectrum of 19 AOA2 patients with mutations in SETX, which seems to be the third most frequent form of ARCA in Algeria after Freidreich ataxia and Ataxia with vitamin E deficiency. In AOA2 patients, the mean age at onset for all families was in the second decade. Cerebellar ataxia was progressive, slowly leading to disability which was aggravated by axonal polyneuropathy present in almost all the patients. Mean disease duration until wheelchair was around 20 years. Oculo-motor apraxia (OMA) was present in 32% of the patients while convergent strabismus was present in 37%. Strabismus is therefore also very suggestive of AOA2 when associated with ataxia and polyneuropathy even in the absence of OMA. Cerebellar atrophy was more severe in the eldest patients; however it may also be an early sign since it was present in the youngest and paucisymptomatic patients. The initial sign was gait ataxia in all but two patients who presented with head tremor and writer cramp, respectively. Serum alpha-fetoprotein, which was elevated in all tested patients, was a good marker to suggest molecular studies of the SETX gene.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2009 · Journal of the Neurological Sciences