cerebellar ataxia

Corpus Callosum Agenesis with Facial Anomalies and Cerebellar Ataxia

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

The thick, bushy eyebrows and long eyelashes are part of the generalized hirsutism.  The eyelids appear puffy.  Strabismus of unknown type has been reported.

Systemic Features: 

Infants are hypertonic at birth but this seems to be less evident as they grow.  Slow physical growth and psychomotor delay are common.  The skull in newborns is small.  The ears are low-set, protruding, and posteriorly rotated.  The nostrils are anteverted and the lower lip protrudes.  There are severe cognitive defects which has been called mental retardation.  Speech is poor or may never develop.  Cerebellar ataxia and uncoordinated hand movements are features.  Brain imaging reveals cerebellar hypoplasia and some degree of corpus callosum agenesis including absence.

Genetics

Homozygous mutations in the FRMD4A gene (10p13) have been found to segregate with this disorder in a large consanguineous Bedouin kindred.

Pedigree: 
Autosomal recessive
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

No treatment has been reported.

References
Article Title: 

Spinocerebellar Ataxia 18

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Ocular signs in SCAR18 include nystagmus, oculomotor apraxia, and optic atrophy.  The nystagmus may be rotatory or horizontal and can be gaze-evoked.  Some patients have intermittent and tonic upgaze.  Visual acuity has not been reported.

Systemic Features: 

Patients are developmentally delayed and have intellectual disability.  These features do not seem to be progressive.  Ataxia, both truncal and cerebellar, is present.  Mobility is impaired from early childhood and eventually requires assistance.   Joint contractures sometimes develop and patients can be wheelchair-bound by the second decade.  Dysarthric speech is common.  No dysmorphic facial features are present.

Brain imaging shows progressive cerebellar and sometimes cerebral atrophy.

Genetics

This autosomal recessive disorder results from homozygous deletions in the GRID2 gene (4q22).  This gene codes for a subunit of the glutamate receptor channel and is thought to be selectively expressed in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum.

Pedigree: 
Autosomal recessive
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

No treatment has been reported.  However, physical therapy, assistive devices for mobility, and low vision aids may be helpful.

References
Article Title: 

Optic Atrophy, Areflexia, Ataxia, Hearing Loss

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Progressive optic atrophy is a consistent feature of all reported cases.  It may have its onset during the first year or two of life but always before the age of 10 years.  Nystagmus may be seen early during acute febrile episodes but eventually becomes permanent.

Systemic Features: 

Onset of neurological symptoms usually occurs in childhood during or following an acute febrile illness which may be recurrent.  This may consist of cerebellar ataxia, hypotonia, drowsiness, dysarthria, and lethargy.  There may be partial or full recovery following the febrile illness initially but some signs remain after subsequent episodes.  Areflexia and sensorineural deafness can be additional signs and pes cavus eventually appears.

The acute febrile episodes tend to decrease in time along with the progression of neurological signs.  Plantar responses remain normal while peripheral neuropathy and seizures are not consistent features.  MRI imaging of the brain is normal.  Cognitive function usually remains normal but some children have autism features and social adjustment problems have been noted.

Genetics

This is an autosomal dominant condition (which may be considered a form of ‘ataxia-plus’) secondary to heterozygous mutations in the ATP1A3 gene (19q13.31).  The protein product is a subunit of an ATPase enzyme primarily active in neural tissue.

Other mutations in the same gene have been found in dystonia-12 and alternating hemiplegia of childhood.

Pedigree: 
Autosomal dominant
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

No treatment is known for this condition but physical therapy and mobility-assistive devices may be helpful.  Low vision aids may be useful as well.

References
Article Title: 

A novel recurrent mutation in ATP1A3 causes CAPOS syndrome

Demos MK, van Karnebeek CD, Ross CJ, Adam S, Shen Y, Zhan SH, Shyr C, Horvath G, Suri M, Fryer A, Jones SJ, Friedman JM; FORGE Canada Consortium. A novel recurrent mutation in ATP1A3 causes CAPOS syndrome. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2014 Jan 28;9:15.

PubMed ID: 
24468074

Spastic Ataxia 2

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Horizontal nystagmus is present in some patients.

Systemic Features: 

Cerebellar ataxia, dysarthria, and spasticity of the lower limbs appear in the first two decades of life.  The spasticity may involve all 4 limbs late in life.  Cognition is not impacted. Cervical dystonia has been noted. No consistent changes have been found on brain imaging.  The neurologic signs are slowly progressive although patients may remain ambulatory.

Tremor, clonus, and extrapyramidal chorea has been seen in several families with what has been called spastic paraplegia-58 which may be the same disorder as SPAX2 since mutations are found in the same gene (KIF1C).  Symptoms and prognosis are similar in these conditions except for the reported presence of developmental delay and mild mental retardation in some individuals diagnosed to have SPG58.

Genetics

This is an autosomal recessive condition as the result of homozygous mutations in the KIF1C gene (17p13.2).

Pedigree: 
Autosomal recessive
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

No effective treatment for this disease is available although speech and physical therapy may be helpful.

References
Article Title: 

Motor protein mutations cause a new form of hereditary spastic paraplegia

Caballero Oteyza A, Battaloglu E, Ocek L, Lindig T, Reichbauer J, Rebelo AP, Gonzalez MA, Zorlu Y, Ozes B, Timmann D, Bender B, Woehlke G, Zuchner S, Schols L, Schule R. Motor protein mutations cause a new form of hereditary spastic paraplegia. Neurology. 2014 May 7. [Epub ahead of print].

PubMed ID: 
24808017

Exome sequencing links corticospinal motor neuron disease to common neurodegenerative disorders

Novarino G, Fenstermaker AG, Zaki MS, Hofree M, Silhavy JL, Heiberg AD, Abdellateef M, Rosti B, Scott E, Mansour L, Masri A, Kayserili H, Al-Aama JY, Abdel-Salam GM, Karminejad A, Kara M, Kara B, Bozorgmehri B, Ben-Omran T, Mojahedi F, Mahmoud IG, Bouslam N, Bouhouche A, Benomar A, Hanein S, Raymond L,Forlani S, Mascaro M, Selim L, Shehata N, Al-Allawi N, Bindu PS, Azam M, Gunel M, Caglayan A, Bilguvar K, Tolun A, Issa MY, Schroth J, Spencer EG, Rosti RO, Akizu N, Vaux KK, Johansen A, Koh AA, Megahed H, Durr A, Brice A, Stevanin G, Gabriel SB, Ideker T, Gleeson JG. Exome sequencing links corticospinal motor neuron disease to common neurodegenerative disorders. Science. 2014 Jan 31;343(6170):506-11.

PubMed ID: 
24482476

Spastic Ataxia 6, Charlevoix-Saguenay Type

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Patches of myelinated axons from retinal neurons in the retina are not unusual in the general population but are especially prominent among families in Canada with SPAX6.  These typically appear as striated white or yellowish-white patches with 'fuzzy' borders in the nerve fiber layer of the retina and radiate from the disc.   These findings are usually of no functional significance but if sufficiently large and dense can be demonstrated on perimetry as small scotomas.   OCT studies in two Belgian families have revealed increased thickness of the peri-papillary retinal nerve fiber layer in both patients and carriers without clinical evidence of myelination.  In addition the retinal nerve fiber layer has been described as 'hypertrophied' outside the areas of myelination.   Horizontal gaze nystagmus and deficits in conjugate pursuit movements are often present.   

Systemic Features: 

This neurodegenerative disorder begins in early childhood (12-18 months) with signs of cerebellar ataxia, pyramidal signs, and peripheral neuropathy.  Slightly older children develop a mixed-sensorimotor peripheral neuropathy. Dysarthria, limb spasticity, distal muscle wasting, and mitral valve prolapse are often present.  Knee reflexes are exaggerated while ankle reflexes are often absent.  Extensor plantar responses are usually present.  The EMG can show signs of denervation with slowed conduction while brain neuroimaging demonstrates regional atrophy in the cerebellum, especially the superior vermis.  Most patients eventually become wheelchair-bound.  However, cognitive and daily living skills are preserved into adulthood.  Most patients live into the sixth decade.

Genetics

Homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations in the SACS gene (13q12.12) are responsible for this autosomal recessive disorder.

The largest number of cases is found in the Charlevoix-Saguenay region of Quebec, Canada among the descendents of a founder but families have also been found in Asia and Europe.

Pedigree: 
Autosomal recessive
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

No treatment for the general disease is available but specific therapies for some functions such as urinary urgency are available.  Physical and speech therapy as well as special education assistance can be helpful for adaptation.

References
Article Title: 

Location score and haplotype analyses of the locus for autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay, in chromosome region 13q11

Richter A, Rioux JD, Bouchard JP, Mercier J, Mathieu J, Ge B, Poirier J, Julien D, Gyapay G, Weissenbach J, Hudson TJ, Melan?sson SB, Morgan K. Location score and haplotype analyses of the locus for autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay, in chromosome region 13q11. Am J Hum Genet. 1999 Mar;64(3):768-75. Erratum in: Am J Hum Genet 1999 Apr;64(4):1257.

PubMed ID: 
10053011

Aniridia 1

Clinical Characteristics
Ocular Features: 

Aniridia is the name of both a disorder and a group of disorders.  This because aniridia is both an isolated ocular disease and a feature of several malformation syndromes.  Absence of the iris was first reported in the early 19th century.  The hallmark of the disease is bilateral iris hypoplasia which may consist of minimal loss of iris tissue with simple radial clefts, colobomas, pseudopolycoria, and correctopia, to nearly complete absence.  Goniosocopy may be required to visualize tags of iris root when no iris is visible externally.  Glaucoma is frequently present (~67%) and often difficult to treat.  It is responsible for blindness in a significant number of patients.  About 15% of patients are diagnosed with glaucoma in each decade of life but this rises to 35% among individuals 40-49 years of age.  Hypoplasia and dysplasia of the fovea are likely responsible for the poor vision in many individuals.  Nystagmus is frequently present.  The ciliary body may also be hypoplastic. 

Visual acuity varies widely.  In many families it is less than 20/60 in all members and the majority have less than 20/200.  Photophobia can be incapacitating.  Posterior segment OCT changes suggest that outer retinal damage suggestive of a phototoxic retinopathy may also be a factor in the reduced acuity.  Cataracts (congenital in >75%), ectopia lentis (bilateral in >26%), optic nerve hypoplasia, variable degrees of corneal clouding with or without a vascularized pannus, and dysgenesis of the anterior chamber angle are frequently present. 

Increased corneal thickness (>600 microns) has been found in some series and should be considered when IOP measurements are made.  In early stages of the disease, focal opacities are present in the basal epithelium, associated with sub-basal nerves.  Dendritic cells can infiltrate the central epithelium and normal limbal palisade architecture is absent.  The tear film is often unstable.

Systemic Features: 

In addition to 'pure' aniridia in which no systemic features are found, at least six disorders have been reported in which systemic anomalies do occur.  Three of these have associated renal anomalies, including Wilms tumor with other genitourinary anomalies and mental retardation, sometimes called WAGR (194072) syndrome, another (612469) with similar features plus obesity sometime called WAGRO (612469) syndrome reported in isolated patients, and yet another with partial aniridia (206750) and unilateral renal agenesis and psychomotor retardation reported in a single family.  Aniridia with dysplastic or absent patella (106220) has been reported in a single three generation family.  Cerebellar ataxia and mental retardation with motor deficits (Gillespie syndrome; 206700) have been found in other families with anirdia.  Another 3 generation family has been reported in which aniridia, microcornea and spontaneously resorbed cataracts occured (106230).

About one-third of patients with aniridia also have Wilms tumor and many have some cognitive deficits.

Genetics

The majority of cases have a mutation in the paired box gene (PAX6) complex, or at least include this locus when chromosomal aberrations such as deletions are present in the region (11p13).  This complex (containing at least 9 genes) is multifunctional and important to the tissue regulation of numerous developmental genes.   PAX6 mutations, encoding a highly conserved transcription regulator, generally cause hypoplasia of the iris and foveal hypoplasia but are also important in CNS development.  It has been suggested that PAX6 gene dysfunction may be the only gene defect associated with aniridia.  More than 300 specific mutations, most causing premature truncation of the polypeptide, have been identified.  

AN1 results from mutations in the PAX6 gene.  Two additional forms of aniridia have been reported in which functional alterations in genes that modulate the expression of PAX6 are responsible: AN2 (617141) with mutations in ELP4 and AN3 (617142) with mutations in TRIM44.  Both ELP4 and TRIM44 are regulators of the PAX6 transcription gene.

Associated abnormalities may be due to a second mutation in the WT1 gene in WAGR (194072) syndrome, a deletion syndrome involving both WT1 and PAX6 genes at 11p13.  The WAGRO syndrome (612469) is caused by a contiguous deletion in chromosome 11 (11p12-p13) involving three genes: WT1, PAX6, and BDNF.  All types are likely inherited as autosomal dominant disorders although nearly one-third of cases occur sporadically.

Mutations in PAX6 associated with aniridia can cause other anterior chamber malformations such as Peters anomaly (604229).

Gillespie syndrome (206700 ) is an allelic disorder with neurological abnormalities including cerebellar ataxia and mental retardation.

Pedigree: 
Autosomal dominant
Treatment
Treatment Options: 

Treatment is directed at the associated threats to vision such as glaucoma, corneal opacities, and cataracts.  Glaucoma is the most serious threat and is the most difficult to treat. The best results have been reported with glaucoma drainage devices.  All patients should have eye examinations at appropriate intervals throughout life, focused on glaucoma screening.  It is well to keep in mind that foveal maldevelopment often precludes significant improvement in acuity and heroic measures must be carefully evaluated.  Specifically, corneal transplants and glaucoma control measures frequently fail.

Low vision aids are often helpful.  Tinted lenses can minimize photophobia.  Occupational and vocational training should be considered for older individuals.

Young children with aniridia should have periodic examinations with renal imaging as recommended by a urologist.

In mice, postnatal topical ocular application of ataluren-based eyedrop formulations can reverse malformations caused by PAX6 mutations.

References
Article Title: 

Familial aniridia with preserved

Elsas FJ, Maumenee IH, Kenyon KR, Yoder F. Familial aniridia with preserved ocular function. Am J Ophthalmol. 1977 May;83(5):718-24.

PubMed ID: 
868970
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