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1/21. Two autopsy cases with pelizaeus-merzbacher disease phenotype of adult onset, without mutation of proteolipid protein gene.

    We report the autopsy cases of two brothers which are pathologically compatible with pelizaeus-merzbacher disease (PMD). Both patients had a late onset (at the ages of 29 and 42 years) and chronic neurological symptoms including tremor, ataxia and dementia. The T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging of the younger brother demonstrated increased signal areas with sparing of small areas in the cerebral white matter. The postmortem examinations, obtained at the ages of 45 and 61 years, showed similar neuropathological findings. Histologically, a cardinal finding was a lack of myelin in large parts of white matter with the preservation of islands of intact myelin, resulting in a "tigroid" appearance. Only small amounts of sudanophilic material were present. The axons were relatively well preserved, but oligodendrocytes were numerically reduced. Ultrastructurally, myelin sheaths in the white matter were markedly thin. immunohistochemistry showed that proteolipid protein (PLP) was reduced in the affected white matter. However, genetic studies did not reveal exonic mutations or duplications of the PLP gene. We conclude that the two cases are a rare type of dysmyelinating disorder with PMD phenotype of adult onset and could be caused by previously unrecognized abnormalities of the PLP gene or other genes. ( info)

2/21. Proton MR spectroscopy in connatal pelizaeus-merzbacher disease.

    BACKGROUND: pelizaeus-merzbacher disease (PMD) is a rare dysmyelinating disorder characterised by early pendular nystagmus, often rotatory and muscular hypotonia with subsequent ataxia, spasticity and mental retardation. Various point mutations or duplications in the PLP gene on the x chromosome are responsible for PMD in the majority of patients. Autosomal recessive inheritance, particularly in the connatal form, cannot be excluded. Three different forms of the disease have been identified based on their onset, progression and severity of myelin pathology indicated by MRI features. Objective. To determine if MR spectroscopy is useful in the diagnosis of the connatal form of PMD. MATERIALS AND methods: Proton MR spectroscopy was performed on two children with connatal PMD. RESULTS: Our patients showed a markedly decreased peak of Cho. This alteration is well represented by quantitative analysis of the NAA-to-Cho ratio, which is the most important ratio affected. A significant decrease of the Cho-to-Cr ratio is also present. In the connatal form of PMD, global lack of myelination may be relevant, as demonstrated by a significant Cho peak reduction. CONCLUSIONS: Proton MR spectroscopy may be of diagnostic value in metabolic and destructive disorders of the brain. A greater number of patients with connatal PMD is needed in order to elucidate the significance of reduction of the Cho peak. ( info)

3/21. Additional copies of the proteolipid protein gene causing pelizaeus-merzbacher disease arise by separate integration into the x chromosome.

    The proteolipid protein gene (PLP) is normally present at chromosome Xq22. Mutations and duplications of this gene are associated with Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD). Here we describe two new families in which males affected with PMD were found to have a copy of PLP on the short arm of the x chromosome, in addition to a normal copy on Xq22. In the first family, the extra copy was first detected by the presence of heterozygosity of the AhaII dimorphism within the PLP gene. The results of FISH analysis showed an additional copy of PLP in Xp22.1, although no chromosomal rearrangements could be detected by standard karyotype analysis. Another three affected males from the family had similar findings. In a second unrelated family with signs of PMD, cytogenetic analysis showed a pericentric inversion of the x chromosome. In the inv(X) carried by several affected family members, FISH showed PLP signals at Xp11.4 and Xq22. A third family has previously been reported, in which affected members had an extra copy of the PLP gene detected at Xq26 in a chromosome with an otherwise normal banding pattern. The identification of three separate families in which PLP is duplicated at a noncontiguous site suggests that such duplications could be a relatively common but previously undetected cause of genetic disorders. ( info)

4/21. Connatal pelizaeus-merzbacher disease in two girls.

    We report the clinical, radiological and electrophysiological signs in two unrelated girls with the connatal form of pelizaeus-merzbacher disease (PMD). MRI plays an important role in the diagnosis, demonstrating the virtual absence of myelination. PMD is classically described as an X-linked leukodystrophy. Our two cases reinforce the hypothesis of a possible autosomal recessive transmission of the connatal form of PMD in some families, as recently presented. ( info)

5/21. prenatal diagnosis of pelizaeus-merzbacher disease: detection of proteolipid protein gene duplication by quantitative fluorescent multiplex PCR.

    A prenatal diagnosis of pelizaeus-merzbacher disease (PMD) resulting from proteolipid protein gene (PLP) duplication was performed by a quantitative fluorescent multiplex PCR method. PLP gene copy number was determined in the proband, the pregnant mother, the male fetus and two aunts. Small amounts of genomic dna extracted from peripheral blood and from chorionic villi were used. The fetus, in common with the proband, was identified as PMD-affected being a carrier of the PLP gene duplication, inherited from the mother, while the two aunts were non-carriers. The data obtained were confirmed by segregation analysis of a PLP-associated dinucleotide-repeat polymorphism amplified by the same multiplex PCR. ( info)

6/21. A severe connatal form of Pelizaeus Merzbacher disease in a Czech boy caused by a novel mutation (725C>A, Ala242Glu) at the 'jimpy(msd) codon' in the PLP gene.

    Pelizaeus Merzbacher disease (PMD) is an X-linked recessive disorder of the central nervous system myelination caused by mutations involving the proteolipid protein gene (PLP). Early nystagmus and developmental delay, progressive pyramidal, cerebellar and dystonic signs as well as white matter changes in brain MRI are typical for PMD. The PLP gene can be affected by two major types of mutations. A duplication of the whole PLP gene is the most common mutation and results usually in the milder classical phenotype, whereas point mutations in PLP gene often result in the rarer and more severe connatal form of PMD. The PLP protein is a higly conserved across species and is identical in human, mouse and rat. We describe a 13-year-old Czech boy with an early and severe developmental delay. His maternal uncle died at the age of one year and was also early and severely psychomotoricly retarded. The patient was the first child of healthy unrelated parents born after an uneventful pregnancy and delivery in 1988. hyperbilirubinemia and bronchopneumonia and early stridor complicated his neonatal period. Diffuse hypotonia, nystagmus, psychomotor retardation, visual and hearing impairment have been observed in the patient since the age of 6 weeks. White matter abnormalities, cortical and periventricular atrophy were detected by MRI at the age of 6 and 11 years, respectively. Despite these signs and results an accurate clinical diagnosis was unclear until the age of 11 years. Last neurological examination in 1999 showed no nystagmus anymore, but extremely dystrophic limbs, truncal deformation, due to severe scoliosis, tetraplegia with hyperreflexia in C5C7 and areflexia L2S2 and positive pyramidal signs. The boy had no visual or speech contact. dna tests followed the clinical suspicion for PMD. At first, duplication of PLP gene was excluded by quantitative comparative PCR. Direct sequencing of PLP gene detected a novel mutation in exon 6, a missense mutation 725C-->A (Ala242Glu) in the patient and in his mother and later also in his maternal grandmother. The same codon, but to valine (Ala242Val) is mutated in jimpy(msd) mouse, which is the frequently used animal model for PMD. prenatal diagnosis for the next pregnancy has been offered to the family. The patient died recently at the age of 13 years due to respiratory failure. Our results support the data on the importance of this conserved amino acid alanine at codon 242. ( info)

7/21. pelizaeus-merzbacher disease: electrophysiological study of two sibs with the classic form and of their relatives.

    We examined two sibs with the classic form of pelizaeus-merzbacher disease (PMD) and their relatives. Electromyographic-electroneurographic studies and magnetic stimulation of motor pathways were performed. In both patients we found an absence of compound motor action potential (cMAP) after stimulation of the motor cortex and a normal conduction time by stimulating the cervical roots. Despite reported sparing of the peripheral nervous system in PMD, our conduction study of the tibial nerve revealed a slightly decreased motor nerve conduction velocity in one patient. In both patients the EMG study showed neurogenic findings. The elder sister showed a prolonged central motor conduction time. This study demonstrates abnormalities of motor corticospinal pathways also in PMD relatives suggesting that magnetic stimulation could be useful in detecting "subclinical" abnormalities in this dysmyelinating condition. Furthermore, in accordance with previous studies, we suggest that a slight involvement of the peripheral nervous system could be observed in PMD. ( info)

8/21. Genomic rearrangements resulting in PLP1 deletion occur by nonhomologous end joining and cause different dysmyelinating phenotypes in males and females.

    In the majority of patients with pelizaeus-merzbacher disease, duplication of the proteolipid protein gene PLP1 is responsible, whereas deletion of PLP1 is infrequent. Genomic mechanisms for these submicroscopic chromosomal rearrangements remain unknown. We identified three families with PLP1 deletions (including one family described elsewhere) that arose by three distinct processes. In one family, PLP1 deletion resulted from a maternal balanced submicroscopic insertional translocation of the entire PLP1 gene to the telomere of chromosome 19. PLP1 on the 19qtel is probably inactive by virtue of a position effect, because a healthy male sibling carries the same der(19) chromosome along with a normal x chromosome. Genomic mapping of the deleted segments revealed that the deletions are smaller than most of the PLP1 duplications and involve only two other genes. We hypothesize that the deletion is infrequent, because only the smaller deletions can avoid causing either infertility or lethality. Analyses of the dna sequence flanking the deletion breakpoints revealed Alu-Alu recombination in the family with translocation. In the other two families, no homologous sequence flanking the breakpoints was found, but the distal breakpoints were embedded in novel low-copy repeats, suggesting the potential involvement of genome architecture in stimulating these rearrangements. In one family, junction sequences revealed a complex recombination event. Our data suggest that PLP1 deletions are likely caused by nonhomologous end joining. ( info)

9/21. Unusual clinical and magnetic resonance imaging findings in a family with proteolipid protein gene mutation.

    BACKGROUND: pelizaeus-merzbacher disease (PMD) and a complicated form of familial spastic paraparesis (spastic paraplegia 2 [SPG2]) are X-linked development disorders of myelin formation caused by a mutation in the proteolipid protein (PLP) gene. Spastic paraplegia 2 is allelic to PMD. The wide range of PLP mutations results in a corresponding large spectrum of clinical severity in PMD, with a continuum of signs and symptoms to SPG2. OBJECTIVE: To report the results of genetic, neurophysiologic, and neuroimaging investigations performed in a child affected by a mild ataxic and spastic form of PLP-related disorder and in his relatives. RESULTS: A missense mutation in exon 6 of the PLP gene (Q233P) was found in the proband and in the female obligate carriers. In the proband, evoked potentials were altered and remained unchanged during the 7 years of follow-up. magnetic resonance imaging of the child demonstrated patchy hyperintensities of the paraventricular white matter, with microcystic components. These latter findings, along with pallidal calcium deposition, were also present in 2 females heterozygous for PLP mutation. CONCLUSION: The unusual genetic, magnetic resonance imaging, and clinical findings of this family confirm the wide variability of PLP-related disorders. ( info)

10/21. Complex chromosomal rearrangement and associated counseling issues in a family with pelizaeus-merzbacher disease.

    We report cytogenetic and molecular findings in a family in which pelizaeus-merzbacher disease has arisen by a sub-microscopic duplication of the proteolipid protein (PLP1) gene involving the insertion of approximately 600 kb from Xq22 into Xq26.3. The duplication arose in an asymptomatic mother on a paternally derived x chromosome and was inherited by her son, the proband, who is affected with pelizaeus-merzbacher disease. The mother also carries a large interstitial deletion of approximately 70 Mb extending from Xq21.1 to Xq27.3, which is present in a mosaic form. In lymphocytes, the mother has no normal cells, having one population with three copies of the PLP1gene (one normal X and one duplication x chromosome) and the other population having only one copy of the PLP1 gene (one normal X and one deleted x chromosome). Her karyotype is 46,XX.ish dup (X) (Xpter --> Xq26.3::Xq22 --> Xq22::Xq26.3 --> Xqter)(PLP )/46,X,del(X)(q21.1q27.3).ish del(X)(q21.1q27.3)(PLP-). Both ends of the deletion have been mapped by fluorescence in situ hybridization using selected dna clones and neither involves the PLP1 gene or are in the vicinity of the duplication breakpoints. prenatal diagnosis was carried out in a recent pregnancy and the complex counseling issues associated with these chromosomal rearrangements are discussed. ( info)
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