Age of onset in Huntington disease: sex specific influence of apolipoprotein E genotype and normal CAG repeat length.
Age of onset (AO) of Huntington disease (HD) is known to be correlated with the length of an expanded CAG repeat in the HD gene. Apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype, in turn, is known to influence AO in Alzheimer disease, rendering the APOE gene a likely candidate to affect AO in other neurological diseases too. We therefore determined APOE genotype and normal CAG repeat length in the HD gene for 138 HD patients who were previously analysed with respect to CAG repeat length. Genotyping for APOE was performed blind to clinical information. In addition to highlighting the effect of the normal repeat length upon AO in maternally inherited HD and in male patients, we show that the APOE epsilon2epsilon3 genotype is associated with significantly earlier AO in males than in females. Such a sex difference in AO was not apparent for any of the other APOE genotypes. Our findings suggest that subtle differences in the course of the neurodegeneration in HD may allow interacting genes to exert gender specific effects upon AO. (+info)
Genetics of the SCA6 gene in a large family segregating an autosomal dominant "pure" cerebellar ataxia.
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6) is an autosomal dominant cerebellar degeneration caused by the expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat in the CACNA1A gene. Mutations in patients are characterised by expanded alleles of between 21 and 30 repeat units and by extreme gonadal stability when transmitted from parents to children. We have investigated the SCA6 mutation in a large Spanish kindred in which previously reported spinocerebellar SCA genes and loci had been excluded. We observed a 23 CAG repeat expanded allele in the 13 clinically affected subjects and in three out of 10 presymptomatic at risk subjects. Transmission of the mutant allele was stable in six parent to child pairs and in 29 meioses through the pedigree. Linkage analysis with the SCA6-CAG polymorphism and marker D19S221 confirmed the location of SCA6 on chromosome 19p13. The molecular findings in this large family confirm the expansion of the CAG repeat in the CACNA1A gene as the cause of SCA6 and the high meiotic stability of the repeat. (+info)
Why children with inflammatory bowel disease are diagnosed at a younger age than their affected parent.
BACKGROUND: Genetic anticipation has been proposed to explain observed age differences at diagnosis of Crohn's disease in affected parents and offspring. AIMS: To compare affected parent-child pairs with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis with a control group of non-familial patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in order to quantify whether ascertainment bias could account for this effect. METHODS: 137 affected parent-child pairs from 96 families and 214 patients with sporadic IBD were studied. Age at onset of symptoms and diagnosis were ascertained by interview and disease confirmed from clinical records. RESULTS: Of the 137 affected parent-child pairs, 50 had Crohn's disease only, 51 had ulcerative colitis only, and in 36, one had Crohn's disease and the other ulcerative colitis. The median age of parents at diagnosis was 17.5 years older, 16 years older, and 18 years older in the Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and mixed disease families respectively (p<0.001 in each case). These observed age differences were compatible with those predicted from the regression lines of years of birth against age at diagnosis for the non-familial IBD patients. No evidence was found for an effect of parental sex on age at diagnosis or disease extent in offspring. CONCLUSIONS: There was no evidence of genetic anticipation or genomic imprinting of age at diagnosis in this sample of IBD families. Ascertainment bias is responsible for the age differences at diagnosis between affected parents and children. (+info)
Identification of a locus on chromosome 14q for idiopathic basal ganglia calcification (Fahr disease).
Idiopathic basal ganglia calcification (IBGC) is a neurodegenerative syndrome that is associated with a variety of movement disorders and neurobehavioral and cognitive manifestations. Despite numerous clinical, pathological, and biochemical investigations, its etiology remains unknown. We have identified a multigenerational family with dominantly inherited IBGC and, in 24 members of this family, performed a whole-genome scan using polymorphic microsatellite markers to identify the first chromosomal locus for this disorder (IBGC1). A maximum two-point LOD score of 3.37 was obtained at marker D14S1014, and a maximum multipoint LOD score of 4.95 was obtained between D14S75 and D14S306. The minimal haplotype shared by affected patients extended over a 17.1-cM region bounded by D14S70 and D14S66, which is potentially further narrowed to a 13.3-cM region by a recombination observed in a patient with probable affected status. The age at onset appeared to be decreasing by an average of >20 years with each transmission, which is consistent with genetic anticipation. (+info)
Very large (CAG)(n) DNA repeat expansions in the sperm of two spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 males.
Genetic anticipation, i.e. increasing disease severity and decreasing age of onset from one generation to the next, is observed in a number of diseases, including myotonic dystrophy type 1, Huntington's disease and several of the spinocerebellar ataxias. All of these disorders are associated with the expansion of a trinucleotide repeat and array length is positively correlated with disease severity and inversely correlated with the age of onset. The expanded repeat is highly unstable and continues to expand from one generation to the next, providing a molecular explanation for anticipation. Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is one of the latest additions to the list of triplet repeat diseases and is distinct from the other SCAs in that it is accompanied by retinal degeneration. Pedigree analyses have previously revealed that the SCA7 repeat is highly unstable and liable to expand, in particular when transmitted by a male. Surprisingly, though, an under-representation of male transmission has also been reported. We now demonstrate directly by single molecule analyses that the expanded repeat is extraordinarily unstable in the male germline and biased toward massive increases. Nearly all of the mutant sperm of two SCA7 males contain alleles that are so large that most of the affected offspring would at best have a severe infantile form of the disease. Indeed, the gross under-representation of such very large expanded alleles in patients suggests that a significant proportion of such alleles might be associated with embryonic lethality or dysfunctional sperm. (+info)
Clinical and molecular advances in autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxias: from genotype to phenotype and physiopathology.
Major advances have been made in the understanding of autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxias since genetic markers came into use in the 1980s. The subsequent mapping of nine genes, six of which have been identified, involved in this clinically diverse group of disorders highlighted their great genetic heterogeneity. Evidence is now accumulating that, except for SCA8, the same molecular and physiopathological processes underlie these diseases and other neurodegenerative disorders sharing the same mutational basis, the expansion of a (CAG)n-polyglutamine coding sequence. The clinical overlap among the different genetic entities makes prediction of the molecular origin impossible in a single patient so that molecular characterisation is necessary. However, extended clinical and neuropathological comparisons have shown that each genetic entity has a characteristic constellation of signs and symptoms that are related to CAG repeat size and disease duration. The combined genetic and clinical information form the basis of a new classification that will aid better understanding of disease evolution, assure follow up and permit genetic counselling by the clinician. (+info)
Structural basis for triplet repeat disorders: a computational analysis.
MOTIVATION: Over a dozen major degenerative disorders, including myotonic distrophy, Huntington's disease and fragile X syndrome, result from unstable expansions of particular trinucleotides. Remarkably, only some of all the possible triplets, namely CAG/CTG, CGG/CCG and GAA/TTC, have been associated with the known pathological expansions. This raises some basic questions at the DNA level. Why do particular triplets seem to be singled out? What is the mechanism for their expansion and how does it depend on the triplet itself? Could other triplets or longer repeats be involved in other diseases? RESULTS: Using several different computational models of DNA structure, we show that the triplets involved in the pathological repeats generally fall into extreme classes. Thus, CAG/CTG repeats are particularly flexible, whereas GCC, CGG and GAA repeats appear to display both flexible and rigid (but curved) characteristics depending on the method of analysis. The fact that (1) trinucleotide repeats often become increasingly unstable when they exceed a length of approximately 50 repeats, and (2) repeated 12-mers display a similar increase in instability above 13 repeats, together suggest that approximately 150 bp is a general threshold length for repeat instability. Since this is about the length of DNA wrapped up in a single nucleosome core particle, we speculate that chromatin structure may play an important role in the expansion mechanism. We furthermore suggest that expansion of a dodecamer repeat, which we predict to have very high flexibility, may play a role in the pathogenesis of the neurodegenerative disorder multiple system atrophy (MSA). CONTACT: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] (+info)
Complex patterns of male germline instability and somatic mosaicism in myotonic dystrophy type 1.
The genetic basis of myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is the expansion of a CTG repeat in the 3' untranslated region of DM1PK. Once into the disease range, the repeat becomes highly unstable and is biased toward expansion in both somatic and germline tissues. Intergenerational differences usually reveal an increase in allele length, concordant with the clinical anticipation characteristic of DM1, but there have also been cases with intergenerational contractions of the repeat length, accompanied by apparent anticipation. In order to gain a better understanding of this intergenerational behaviour, we have obtained semen samples from six DM males and used single molecule analyses to compare the allele distributions present in their sperm and blood with those of their offspring. We have confirmed that the male germline mutational pathway is distinct from that of the soma, but the extent of variation is highly variable from one individual to another and not obviously correlated with progenitor allele length. Nonetheless, in all cases the alleles present in the father's sperm overlap with those observed in their offspring. These data also provide further indications that the interpretation of intergenerational transmissions by standard analyses is frequently compromised by the masking of germline differences by age-dependent somatic expansion in the parent. (+info)