Cases reported "spinocerebellar ataxias"

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1/79. Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) - correlations between phenotype and genotype in one large Belgian family.

    Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7), in which the degenerative process also affect the retina, belongs to the category of the autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia type II (ADCA II). We have described the neuropathology of this condition [Martin JJ, Van Regemorter N, Krols L, Brucher JM, de Barsy T, Szliwowski H, et al. On an autosomal dominant form of retino-cerebellar degeneration: an autopsy study of five patients in one family. Acta Neuropathol (Berl) 1994;88:277-286] in a very large Belgian family (CA-1). We have observed anticipation in the age of onset with increasing severity of the symptoms in consecutive generations. The SCA7 gene was mapped to chromosome 3p12-13 [David G, Abbas N, Stevanin G, Durr A, Yvert G, Cancel G, et al. Cloning of the SCA7 gene reveals a highly unstable CAG repeat expansion. Nat Genet 1997;17:65-70; Del-Favero J, Krols L, Michalik A, Theuns J, Lofgren A, Goossens D, et al. Molecular genetic analysis of autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia with retinal degeneration (ADCA type II) caused by CAG triplet repeat expansion. Hum Mol Genet 1998;7:177-186], and the gene identified. SCA7 is a new gene of unknown function that contains an expansion of CAG repeats in SCA7 patients. During the procedure of positional cloning, we examined 26 patients belonging to the CA-1 family and realized, in some of them, an ophthalmologic examination and neuro-imaging of the brain. This allowed us to differentiate four groups: (1) asymptomatic young carriers with 38 to 43 CAG repeats; (2) mildly symptomatic, older patients with 38-41 CAG repeats; (3) patients with the full-blown picture of SCA7 and age of onset during adolescence, with 54-55 CAG repeats; (4) children with early onset and rapid fatal course of the disease who had over 55 CAG repeats. We were able to draw correlations between clinical phenotype, age at onset and CAG repeat number and to make predictions, to some extent, as to the clinical course of the disease in new patients. ( info)

2/79. Neuropathology of Joubert syndrome.

    Very little documentation of the neuropathologic changes in Joubert syndrome exists. This paper presents a detailed postmortem neuropathologic study of a clinically and radiographically well-documented case of Joubert syndrome. In addition to aplasia of the cerebellar vermis and fragmentation of the dentate nuclei, there was marked dysplasia of structures at the pontomesencephalic junction and caudal medulla. There was abnormal decussation of the superior cerebellar peduncles and an enlarged iter (rostral 4th ventricle) with elongated tegmental nuclei (including the locus coeruleus). neurons of the basis pontis and reticular formation appeared reduced. Extensive malformations of the medulla included hypoplasia of the inferior olivary nuclei, solitary nuclei and tracts, and the nucleus and spinal tracts of trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve V). Even more striking was dysplasia of the caudal medulla at the cervicomedullary junction, which was characterized by the absence of a posterior median sulcus, neuronal swelling and axonal spheroids in the region of malformed nuclei gracilis and cuneatus, and absence of pyramidal decussation. This study suggests that, in addition to vermal agenesis, Joubert syndrome is characterized by malformation of multiple brainstem structures. The latter could explain certain clinical features of the syndrome, including episodic hyperpnea and oculomotor apraxia. ( info)

3/79. Identification of SCA2 mutation in cases of spinocerebellar ataxia with no family history in mid-eastern sicily.

    Differential diagnosis between autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia type I (ADCA I) and idiopathic cerebellar ataxia type P (IDCA-P) is very difficult given only clinical and neuroradiological data. The only certain distinctive characteristic is the presence or absence of family history. We observed 7 patients with late-onset cerebellar ataxia associated with other non-cerebellar signs and without a family history of the disease in which clinical signs were comparable to symptoms found in SCA2. The neuroradiological study showed olivopontocerebellar atrophy in all patients and the presence of hyperintensity of the transverse pontine fibers in 6 patients (85. 6%); molecular analysis showed SCA2 mutations in 2 patients. We also report the case of a patient who was initially considered as IDCA-P but who was later correctly identified as SCA2 with an atypical family history (false IDCA-P), after a genetic mutation was found and following an interview with the mother. Our data suggest that spinocerebellar ataxia syndrome should be defined as idiopathic not only after having excluded the possible symptomatic causes but also in the absence of family history, after having excluded the presence of genetic mutation. We believe that family history, in late-onset spinocerebellar ataxia, cannot be considered as the differential criterion among hereditary (ADCA-I) and non-hereditary (IDCA-P) forms; molecular analysis is required for a correct diagnosis. ( info)

4/79. Gordon Holmes spinocerebellar ataxia: a gonadotrophin deficiency syndrome resistant to treatment with pulsatile gonadotrophin-releasing hormone.

    The Gordon Holmes spinocerebellar ataxia syndrome (GHS) is associated with idiopathic hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism (IHH). There are conflicting reports in the literature as to whether the primary neuroendocrine defect is of hypothalamic GnRH secretion, as with most causes of IHH, or of pituitary resistance to GnRH action. Because of the anatomical inaccessibility of the hypophyseal portal circulation, direct measurement of GnRH levels in human subjects is not possible. Previous investigators have attempted to unravel this problem through the use of GnRH stimulation tests and the limitations of this approach may explain the differing results obtained. We used the more physiological approach of treating a male GHS patient for four weeks with GnRH, 7-10 microg/pulse, delivered subcutaneously at 90 minute frequency via a portable minipump. This therapy failed to induce any rise in plasma gonadotrophin and testosterone concentrations. By contrast, eight weeks treatment with exogenous gonadotrophins maintained physiological plasma testosterone concentrations and induced testicular enlargement with induction of spermatogenesis. The data indicate that the primary endocrinopathy in GHS is of pituitary gonadotrophin secretion and not of hypothalamic GnRH. Moreover, the patient did not harbour any mutation of the GnRH receptor gene. Two clinical observations are consistent with progressive involution of gonadotrophic function, rather than a congenital gonadotrophin deficiency. First, the patient's development was arrested at early mid-puberty at the time of original presentation and, second, effective spermatogenesis was induced extremely rapidly during gonadotrophin treatment, suggesting prior exposure of the testes to FSH. Both spinocerebellar ataxia and pituitary dysfunction might thus have been in evolution since late childhood. ( info)

5/79. An interrupted 34-CAG repeat SCA-2 allele in patients with sporadic spinocerebellar ataxia.

    In spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA-2), a difference of three CAG repeats distinguishes normal alleles (14 to 31 repeats) from pathogenic alleles (34 to 57 repeats). All sequenced pathogenic alleles have a pure CAG repeat structure, whereas interrupted repeats have been seen exclusively in normal alleles. The authors present two patients with sporadic SCA with an interrupted 34-CAG repeat allele, (CAG)24(CAA)(CAG)9, who showed a phenotype compatible with SCA-2. The interrupted allele coding for a 34 pure polyglutamine tract may cause the SCA phenotype. ( info)

6/79. A new mtDNA mutation associated with a progressive encephalopathy and cytochrome c oxidase deficiency.

    The authors describe a novel pathogenic G5540A transition in the mitochondrial transfer rna (tRNA)Trp gene of a sporadic encephalomyopathy characterized by spinocerebellar ataxia. Clinical features also included neurosensorial deafness, peripheral neuropathy, and dementia. biochemistry revealed a severe reduction of cytochrome c oxidase (COX) activity. Single-fiber PCR demonstrated higher levels of mutant genomes in COX-negative ragged red fibers than in normal fibers. These findings confirm that COX is more susceptible than other respiratory chain complexes to mutations in the mitochondrial tRNATrp gene. ( info)

7/79. Sisters homozygous for the spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6)/CACNA1A gene associated with different clinical phenotypes.

    Spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the CACNA1A gene. The neurodegeneration that occurs in CAG repeat diseases is considered to share a common mechanism that may result in the gain of a toxic function related to the expanded polyglutamine tracts. However, the phenotypic expression in homozygotes for CAG repeat diseases has been controversial, and is not clearly related to a gain of functional mechanism. We identified a Japanese family with two sisters who were homozygous for the SCA6 with identical CAG repeat expansion (25/25). They showed an earlier age of onset (27 years in both) than their father (44 years), a heterozygote with an expanded allele showing the same CAG repeat length as the homozygotes (25/14). Interestingly, the two sisters showed differences in disease progression and severity, although the age of onset and CAG repeat length were identical. These findings strongly suggest that the gene dosage influences the age of onset, but other unknown factors are also important in the phenotypic expression of homozygous SCA6. ( info)

8/79. Late-onset SCA2: 33 CAG repeats are sufficient to cause disease.

    SCA-2 is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder characterized by ataxia, slow saccades, and hyporeflexia. The authors evaluated a patient with a mild balance problem with a SCA-2 allele sized at 33 CAG repeats. The authors then ascertained her 91 year-old mother, who showed disease onset at age 86 with an SCA-2 allele of identical size. Their study indicates that 33 CAG repeats can be pathogenic at the SCA-2 locus, though such an allele may produce an extremely late onset and gradual rate of disease progression. ( info)

9/79. Morphological Purkinje cell changes in spinocerebellar ataxia type 6.

    Spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6) was recently identified as a form of autosomal dominant spinocerebellar ataxia associated with a small CAG repeat expansion of the gene encoding an alpha 1 A-voltage-dependent calcium channel gene subunit on chromosome 19p13. In this study 50-microm-thick sections of cerebellar tissue from one patient with SCA6 were subjected to free-floating immunohistochemical staining with calbindin-D and parvalbumin antibodies. Severe loss of purkinje cells was found, particularly in the vermis, and various morphological changes in purkinje cells and their dendritic arborizations were demonstrated. Many of the remaining purkinje cells were found to have heterotopic, irregularly shaped nuclei, an unclear cytoplasmic membrane outline, and somatic sprouts. Increased numbers of spine-like protrusions from swelling dendritic arborizations were found in the molecular layer. The axonal arrangement was disordered, and many torpedos were found in the granular layer and white matters. These morphological changes are completely different from those observed in paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (PCD) and multiple system atrophy (MSA) and are considered to be related to the genetic abnormality that causes abnormal development of purkinje cells. ( info)

10/79. Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 with parkinsonism in ethnic Chinese.

    OBJECTIVE: To describe the clinical and molecular genetic analysis of a large family of northern Chinese descent with a mutation at the SCA2 locus causing carbidopa-levodopa-responsive parkinsonism. BACKGROUND: Most causes of parkinsonism remain unknown. However, molecular genetic analysis of families with parkinsonism has recently identified five distinct loci and pathogenic mutations in four of those. Additionally, some of the spinocerebellar ataxia syndromes (SCA), particularly Machado-Joseph syndrome (SCA3), are known to cause parkinsonism. Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) has not previously been described as causing a typical dopamine-responsive asymmetric PD phenotype. methods: A large family was evaluated clinically and molecularly for apparent autosomal dominant parkinsonism. RESULTS: The phenotype includes presentation consistent with typical dopamine-responsive parkinsonism. Other presentations in this family include a parkinsonism/ataxia phenotype, which is classic for SCA2 and parkinsonism, resembling progressive supranuclear palsy. CONCLUSIONS: patients presenting with a family history of parkinsonism, including familial progressive supranuclear palsy and PD, should be tested for the spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 expansion. ( info)
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