There are a large number of well recognised syndromes comprising cerebellar ataxia in association with other neurological features. We report three family members who presented with a relapsing, early onset cerebellar ataxia, associated with progressive optic atrophy and sensorineural deafness. All three patients have areflexia (in the absence of a peripheral neuropathy), a pes cavus deformity, and show varying degrees of severity. Extensive neurological investigations have been normal, and the aetiology and pathophysiology of this disorder remain unclear. This may represent a separate syndrome of early onset cerebellar ataxia with associated features ("cerebellar ataxia plus"), which is likely to either have an autosomal dominant or maternal mitochondrial pattern of inheritance. The recognition of this association under the acronym of CAPOS (cerebellar ataxia, areflexia, pes cavus, optic atrophy, and sensorineural deafness) may help in the delineation of a new syndrome.
Autosomal dominant Progressive External Ophthalmoplegias are Mendelian disorders characterized by the accumulation of multiple deletions of mitochondrial DNA in critical tissues. Most of the Autosomal dominant Progressive External Ophthalmoplegias families carry heterozygous mutations in one of three genes: ANT1, encoding the muscle-heart specific mitochondrial adenine nucleotide translocator, Twinkle, encoding the mitochondrial DNA helicase, and POLG1, encoding the catalytic subunit of the mitochondrial DNA-specific polymerase. Mutations in both POLG1 alleles are also found in autosomal recessive Progressive External Ophthalmoplegias sibships with multiple affected members and in apparently sporadic cases. In addition, recessive POLG1 mutations are responsible for three additional diseases: Alpers-Huttenlocher hepatopathic poliodystrophy, Sensory-Ataxic Neuropathy Dysarthria and Ophthalmoplegia and juvenile SpinoCerebellar Ataxia-Epilepsy syndrome. Mitochondrial neuro-gastro-intestinal encephalomyopathy is an autosomal recessive disorder of juvenile onset, caused by mutations in the gene encoding Thymidine Phosphorylase. Thymidine Phosphorylase is involved in the control and maintenance of the pyrimidine nucleoside pool of the cell. Finally, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome is a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by a reduction in mitochondrial DNA copy number. Clinically, they include a myopathic form, a more generalized encephalomyopathic form and a fatal infantile hepato-cerebral syndrome leading to rapidly progressive liver and brain failure. To date, eight genes have been associated with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Novel disease genes have recently been added to this list, including OPA1 and GFER, and new clinical variants add further complexity to this expanding area of mitochondrial medicine.
Mitochondrial DNA; oxidative phosphorylation; mitochondrial disorders; MtDNA multiple deletions; MtDNA depletion
The Riley–Day syndrome is the most common of the hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies (Type III). Among the well-recognized clinical features are reduced pain and temperature sensation, absent deep tendon reflexes and a progressively ataxic gait. To explain the latter we tested the hypothesis that muscle spindles, or their afferents, are absent in hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy III by attempting to record from muscle spindle afferents from a nerve supplying the leg in 10 patients. For comparison we also recorded muscle spindles from 15 healthy subjects and from two patients with hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy IV, who have profound sensory disturbances but no ataxia. Tungsten microelectrodes were inserted percutaneously into fascicles of the common peroneal nerve at the fibular head. Intraneural stimulation within muscle fascicles evoked twitches at normal stimulus currents (10–30 µA), and deep pain (which often referred) at high intensities (1 mA). Microneurographic recordings from muscle fascicles revealed a complete absence of spontaneously active muscle spindles in patients with hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy III; moreover, responses to passive muscle stretch could not be observed. Conversely, muscle spindles appeared normal in patients with hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy IV, with mean firing rates of spontaneously active endings being similar to those recorded from healthy controls. Intraneural stimulation within cutaneous fascicles evoked paraesthesiae in the fascicular innervation territory at normal stimulus intensities, but cutaneous pain was never reported during high-intensity stimulation in any of the patients. Microneurographic recordings from cutaneous fascicles revealed the presence of normal large-diameter cutaneous mechanoreceptors in hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy III. Our results suggest that the complete absence of functional muscle spindles in these patients explains their loss of deep tendon reflexes. Moreover, we suggest that their ataxic gait is sensory in origin, due to the loss of functional muscle spindles and hence a compromised sensorimotor control of locomotion.
congenital insensitivity to pain; familial dysautonomia; HSAN; microneurography; muscle spindles; peripheral nerve; Riley–Day syndrome
We present recent advances in the genetics of recurrent vertigo, including familial episodic ataxias, migraneous vertigo, bilateral vestibular hypofunction and Meniere’s disease.
Although several vestibular disorders are more common within families, the genetics of vestibulopathies is largely not known. Genetic loci and clinical features of familial episodic ataxias have been defined in linkage disequilibrium studies with mutations in neuronal genes KCNA1 and CACNA1A. Migrainous vertigo is a clinical disorder with a high comorbidity within families much more common in females with overlapping features with episodic ataxia and migraine. Bilateral vestibular hypofunction is a heterogeneous clinical group defined by episodes of vertigo leading to progressive loss of vestibular function which also can include migraine. Meniere’s disease is a clinical syndrome characterized by spontaneous episodes of recurrent vertigo, sensorineural hearing loss, tinnitus and aural fullness and familial Meniere’s disease in around 10-20% of cases. An international collaborative effort to define the clinical phenotype and recruiting patients with migrainous vertigo and Meniere’s disease is ongoing for genome-wide association studies.
Vestibulopathies; recurrent vertigo; Meniere’s disease; genome-association studies.
Six families are described with hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy (HMSN) of probable autosomal recessive inheritance. Four of these were classified as HMSN type I and two as type II. The consanguinity rate in this series was high, suggesting that these recessive genes are rare. In comparison with the dominantly inherited forms of these disorders, the mean age of onset was significantly earlier for the type II cases but did not differ for the type I patients. Motor nerve conduction velocity was significantly less for the type I cases but did not differ for the type II form. The recessive type I cases tended to show a greater incidence of weakness, ataxia, tendon areflexia and scoliosis than in the dominant form. The importance of differentiating such cases from Friedreich's ataxia is emphasised.
Patients having neuropathy associated with Sjögren's syndrome may present with pain and superficial sensory involvement in the absence of sensory ataxia. Treatment for this form of associated neuropathy has not been established. The case of a patient with painful sensory neuropathy associated with Sjögren's syndrome, whose symptoms, particularly pain, responded well to intravenous immunoglobulin both at onset and in a relapse, is reported. Other patients with painful sensory neuropathy associated with Sjögren's syndrome may also be candidates for intravenous Ig treatment.
To quantify ataxia in a simple way four tests were developed and analysed, based on the neurological examination: a tapping test for the arms (test 1), another one for the legs (test 2), a quantified finger-to-nose test (test 3), and a modified Romberg test (test 4). All tests were performed by 115 volunteers, 13 patients with cerebellar ataxia and 25 patients with sensory ataxia due to neuropathy. The test-retest repeatability was excellent. Tests 1, 2 and 4 were age-dependent, with lower scores above age 65. On test 1, 2 and 4 both groups of patients performed worse than controls; the correlation with the ataxia scale of Nobile-Orazio and the modified disability Rankin scale was good (P < 0.05). Although test 3 could differentiate between sensory and cerebellar ataxia, it was not useful for quantifying the degree of ataxia. To determine the practical value of the four tests, 11 patients performed the tests for a second time after a follow up period of 16 months. The results indicate that tests 1, 2 and 4 are sensitive for the detection of ataxia and of changes in its severity.
A new group of recessively inherited metabolic disorders affecting glycoprotein metabolism has been identified--the carbohydrate-deficient-glycoprotein (CDG) syndromes. Here the course and clinical expression of CDG syndrome type I in 13 patients who have passed the age of 15 years are described. All presented with early onset psychomotor retardation, in most cases combined with slight facial dysmorphic features, some degree of hepatic dysfunction, and in one case, pericardial effusion. About half of the patients had subcutaneous lipodystrophy and comatose or stroke-like episodes during childhood. After the age of 15 the disease was mainly characterised by neurological symptoms consisting of non-progressive ataxia associated with cerebellar hypoplasia, stable mental retardation, variable peripheral neuropathy, and strabismus. One third of the patients had generalised seizures, usually sporadic, and all had retinal pigmentary degeneration. In all cases there was more or less pronounced thoracic deformity and no female had passed puberty. Also, the oldest female showed premature aging. Severe internal organ symptoms, which are common in pediatric patients, were absent. All patients had highly raised serum concentrations of the biochemical marker carbohydrate-deficient transferrin, which can be used to verify the diagnosis. It is concluded that after childhood, CDG syndrome type I is a largely non-progressive disease compatible with a socially functioning but dependent lifestyle.
The author reports his experience on Refsum's disease and that gained after personally examining in detail 64 patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease over the past ten years. The "cerebellar" inco-ordination in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (with or without distal wasting) and in Refsum's disease is analysed. Some variations in the motor and sensory neuropathy of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and Refsum's disease are discussed. The adequacy of motor conduction velocity in genetically distinguishing types of the above mentioned familial peripheral neuropathies is reviewed. Data on the neuropathy assessed by modern techniques of three original patients of Roussy and Levy (1926) are given. The possibility of extensor plantar responses in patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth and Refsum's disease without structural lesion of the pyramidal tract is pointed out. The existence of the association between Friedreich's ataxia and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is criticised. It is emphasised that spinocerebellar degeneration (other than Friedreich's ataxia) presenting with distal limb weakness and wasting and sensory impairment may mimic Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
Autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay (ARSACS: MIM 270550) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by early-onset cerebellar ataxia with spasticity and peripheral neuropathy. This disorder, considered to be rare, was first described in the late seventies among French Canadians in the isolated Charlevoix-Saguenay region of Quebec. Nowadays, it is known that the disorder is not only limited to this region but occurs worldwide. Our objective was to identify cases of autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay (ARSACS) in Dutch patients with recessive early-onset cerebellar ataxia by sequencing the complete SACS gene. In a Dutch cohort of 43 index patients with ataxia onset before age 25, we identified 16 index patients (total 23 patients) with mutations in the SACS gene. Nine of them had homozygous mutations, and seven of them had compound heterozygous mutations. Retrospectively, the phenotype of patients carrying mutations was remarkably uniform: cerebellar ataxia with onset before age 13 years, lower limb spasticity and sensorimotor axonal neuropathy, and cerebellar (vermis) atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging, consistent with the core ARSACS phenotype previously described. The high rate of mutations (37%) identified in this cohort of Dutch patients suggests that ARSACS is substantially more frequent than previously estimated. We predict that the availability of SACS mutation analysis as well as an increasing awareness of the characteristic ARSACS phenotype will lead to the diagnosis of many additional patients, possibly even at a younger age.
Early onset spastic cerebellar ataxia; Dutch population; Novel SACS gene mutations; ARSACS
Cerebellar stroke is a common cause of a vascular vestibular syndrome. Although vertigo ascribed to cerebellar stroke is usually associated with other neurological symptoms or signs, it may mimic acute peripheral vestibulopathy (APV), so called pseudo-APV. The most common pseudo-APV is a cerebellar infarction in the territory of the medial branch of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA). Recent studies have shown that a normal head impulse result can differentiate acute medial PICA infarction from APV. Therefore, physicians who evaluate stroke patients should be trained to perform and interpret the results of the head impulse test. Cerebellar infarction in the territory of the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) can produce a unique stroke syndrome in that it is typically accompanied by unilateral hearing loss, which could easily go unnoticed by patients. The low incidence of vertigo associated with infarction involving the superior cerebellar artery distribution may be a useful way of distinguishing it clinically from PICA or AICA cerebellar infarction in patients with acute vertigo and limb ataxia. For the purpose of prompt diagnosis and adequate treatment, it is imperative to recognize the characteristic patterns of the clinical presentation of each cerebellar stroke syndrome. This paper provides a concise review of the key features of cerebellar stroke syndromes from the neuro-otology viewpoint.
cerebellar stroke; vertigo; hearing loss; pseudo-APV; head impulse test
tropical ataxic neuropathy (TAN) is currently used to describe several
neurological syndromes attributed to toxiconutritional causes. However,
TAN was initially proposed to describe a specific neurological syndrome
seen predominantly among the Ijebu speaking Yorubas in south western
Nigeria. In this study, the prevalence of TAN was determined in Ososa,
a semiurban community in south western Nigeria described as endemic for
TAN in 1969, and its neurological features were compared with
Strachan's syndrome, prisoners of war neuropathy, the epidemic
neuropathy in Cuba, and konzo.
METHODS—A census of
Ososa was followed by door to door screening of all subjects aged 10 years and above with a newly designed screening instrument. Subjects
who screened positive had a neurological examination, and the diagnosis
of TAN was made if any two or more of bilateral optic atrophy,
bilateral neurosensory deafness, sensory gait ataxia, or distal
symmetric sensory polyneuropathy were present.
RESULTS—A total of
4583 inhabitants were registered in the census. Of these, 3428 subjects
aged 10 years and above were screened. The diagnosis of TAN was made in
206 of 323 subjects who screened positive for TAN. The prevalence of
TAN was 6.0%, 3.9% in males and 7.7% in females. The highest age
specific prevalence was 24% in the 60-69 years age group in women.
occurrence of TAN in Ososa continues at a higher prevalence than was
reported 30 years ago. Its neurological features and natural history do
not resemble those described for Strachan syndrome, epidemic neuropathy
in Cuba, or konzo. The increasing consumption of cassava foods linked
to its causation makes TAN of public health importance in Nigeria, the
most populous African country.
Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a CGG repeat expansion in the premutation range (55-200) in the fragile X mental retardation 1 gene. Onset is typically in the early seventh decade and men are principally affected. The major signs are cerebellar gait ataxia, intention tremor, frontal executive dysfunction, and global brain atrophy. Other frequent findings are parkinsonism (mild), peripheral neuropathy, psychiatric symptoms (depression, anxiety, agitation), and autonomic dysfunction. The clinical presentation is heterogeneous, with individuals presenting with varied dominating signs, such as tremor, dementia or neuropathy. MR imaging shows atrophy and patchy white matter lesions in the cerebral hemispheres and middle cerebellar peduncles. The latter has been designated the ‘MCP sign’, occurs in about 60% of affected men, and is relatively specific for FXTAS. Affected females generally have less severe disease, less cognitive decline, and some symptoms different from that of men, e.g., muscle pain. Management of FXTAS is complex and includes assessment of the patient's neurological and medical deficits, treatment of symptoms, and provision of relevant referrals, especially genetic counseling. Treatment is empiric, based on anecdotal experience and on knowledge of what works for symptoms of other disorders that also exist in FXTAS. Presently the disorder is under-recognized, since the first published report was in 2001, and since the presentation is variable and mainly consists of a combination of signs common in the elderly. However, accurate diagnosis is critical, for the patient and for the family, as they need education regarding their genetic and health risks.
fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome; FXTAS; fragile X mental retardation 1 gene; treatment
A unique case of initially right sided varicella zoster induced
Ramsay-Hunt syndrome with complete vestibular loss is reported. The
patient subsequently developed deficits of the left vestibule 5 months
later. An autoimmune pathogenesis of the left vestibular failure rather
than bilateral varicella zoster infection was suggested by the
following data: (1) no evidence of vesicular eruptions on the left
auricle and the virtual absence of antiviral antibodies after onset of
bilateral vestibulopathy; (2) prompt response of the left vestibule to
immunosuppressive therapy with corticosteroids; and (3) presence of
atypical nervous tissue specific autoantibodies against a 45 kDa protein.
Psoriasis vulgaris is a common inflammatory disease of the skin, and myelin-associated glycoprotein-related neuropathy is a chronic sensory-predominant polyneuropathy. Although both of these diseases are considered autoimmune diseases, psoriasis with concomitant myelin-associated glycoprotein-related neuropathy is very rare. Here, we report a case of myelin-associated glycoprotein-related neuropathy associated with psoriasis.
A 66-year-old Japanese man, having experienced sternocostoclavicular pain for ten years, was admitted to our hospital because of gait disturbance and numbness of the limbs. Our patient had normal cranial nerve function and normal limb muscle strength. His vibratory and position sense was severely impaired and his touch, temperature and pinprick sensations were mildly disturbed in a glove and stocking distribution. A myelin-associated glycoprotein western blot analysis showed the presence of a 91 to 94kDa band using purified human myelin-associated glycoprotein antigen. His skin lesions were moderately pruritic and Auspitz’s sign was positive. Our patient also showed osteitis of his clavicle and manubrium. We diagnosed our patient with myelin-associated glycoprotein-related neuropathy associated with psoriatic arthritis. Five days after intravenous immunoglobulin therapy, his deep sensory impairment began to improve and his sternocostoclavicular pain diminished dramatically.
Because myelin-associated glycoprotein-related neuropathy and psoriatic arthritis are both considered autoimmune diseases, we conclude that intravenous immunoglobulin therapy is very effective for patients with an association of these diseases.
The neurological complications of hypothyroidism, including dementia, cerebellar ataxia, myopathy and entrapment neuropathy, are well recorded, but peripheral neuropathy has rarely been documented (Swanson et al. 1981). In this paper two patients are described who developed myxoedema and peripheral neuropathy. The first patient had a very rapid onset of myxoedema, and during observation he developed spurious polycythaemia (Gaisbock's syndrome) over a period of nine days.
Autosomal recessive Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome (AR-CMT) is often characterised by an infantile disease onset and a severe phenotype. Mutations in the ganglioside-induced differentiation-associated protein 1 (GDAP1) gene are thought to be a common cause of AR-CMT. Mutations in the periaxin (PRX) gene are rare. They are associated with severe demyelination of the peripheral nerves and sometimes lead to prominent sensory disturbances. To evaluate the frequency of GDAP1 and PRX mutations in early onset CMT, we examined seven AR-CMT families and 12 sporadic CMT patients, all presenting with progressive distal muscle weakness and wasting. In one family also prominent sensory abnormalities and sensory ataxia were apparent from early childhood. In three families we detected four GDAP1 mutations (L58LfsX4, R191X, L239F and P153L), one of which is novel and is predicted to cause a loss of protein function. In one additional family with prominent sensory abnormalities a novel homozygous PRX mutation was found (A700PfsX17). No mutations were identified in 12 sporadic cases. This study suggests that mutations in the GDAP1 gene are a common cause of early-onset AR-CMT. In patients with early-onset demyelinating AR-CMT and severe sensory loss PRX is one of the genes to be tested.
AR-CMT; GDAP1; PRX; early onset peripheral neuropathy
Objective:Multifocal motor neuropathy with persistent conduction blocks is classically described as a chronic neuropathy with progressive onset, and acute forms have not previously been characterised. We report four cases of severe motor impairment with acute and generalised onset and with persistent motor conduction blocks.
Patients and results:An acute tetraparesis with diffuse areflexia but little or no sensory disturbance was the clinical picture. Serial electrophysiological tests showed persistent multifocal motor conduction blocks with absent F waves in most tested motor nerves. No or minor abnormalities of the sensory nerve action potentials were observed. Cerebrospinal fluid contained normal or mildly increased protein levels (<1 g/l) without cells. Campylobacter jejuni serology was negative in three patients and consistent with past infection in one patient. Anti-ganglioside antibodies were positive in three patients. A five day course of intravenous immunoglobulins produced nearly complete symptom resolution in three patients and was ineffective in one patient.
Conclusion:Because of the persistence of multifocal motor conduction blocks for several weeks or months as the isolated electrophysiological feature, these cases could not be consistent with Guillain–Barré syndrome or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. They suggest an original variant of multifocal motor neuropathy with an acute and generalised initial presentation and persistent motor conduction blocks affecting all four limbs.
Despite much effort, a 74 year old man with progressive
proximal weakness and sensory disturbances due to axonal neuropathy remained a diagnostic problem. Investigation of his family disclosed an
additional patient with a cerebellar syndrome and a family member with
mainly pyramidal features. Analysis of DNA showed a CAG repeat
expansion in the Machado-Joseph disease gene in all three patients.
Although not conclusively proved, we think that the neuropathy of the
index case is linked to the CAG repeat expansion. Machado-Joseph
disease should be considered in progressive axonal neuropathy.
We report an unusual case of sporadic adult onset cerebellar ataxia with hypogonadism. A 40-year-old unmarried man presented with progressive ataxia and dysarthria along with complaints of non-development of secondary sexual characteristics and erectile dysfunction. There were complaints of intermittent diarrhea. Clinical examination revealed a pan-cerebellar syndrome with features of hypoandrogenism. No eye movement abnormalities were evident. There were signs of malabsorption. Investigations confirmed the presence of auto-antibodies found in celiac disease, and a duodenal biopsy confirmed the same. Hypoandrogenism was postulated to be due to hypergonadotropic hypogonadism which has been mentioned in a few patients of celiac disease. However, the pattern seen in our patient was of a hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. This is probably secondary to an autoimmune hypophysitis seen in some patients in the absence of other clinical manifestations. Autoantibody testing should be a diagnostic necessity in any adult with a sporadic cerebellar ataxia.
Celiac disease; gluten ataxia; hypogonadism
We report an early onset spastic ataxia-neuropathy syndrome in two brothers of a consanguineous family characterized clinically by lower extremity spasticity, peripheral neuropathy, ptosis, oculomotor apraxia, dystonia, cerebellar atrophy, and progressive myoclonic epilepsy. Whole-exome sequencing identified a homozygous missense mutation (c.1847G>A; p.Y616C) in AFG3L2, encoding a subunit of an m-AAA protease. m-AAA proteases reside in the mitochondrial inner membrane and are responsible for removal of damaged or misfolded proteins and proteolytic activation of essential mitochondrial proteins. AFG3L2 forms either a homo-oligomeric isoenzyme or a hetero-oligomeric complex with paraplegin, a homologous protein mutated in hereditary spastic paraplegia type 7 (SPG7). Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in AFG3L2 cause autosomal-dominant spinocerebellar ataxia type 28 (SCA28), a disorder whose phenotype is strikingly different from that of our patients. As defined in yeast complementation assays, the AFG3L2Y616C gene product is a hypomorphic variant that exhibited oligomerization defects in yeast as well as in patient fibroblasts. Specifically, the formation of AFG3L2Y616C complexes was impaired, both with itself and to a greater extent with paraplegin. This produced an early-onset clinical syndrome that combines the severe phenotypes of SPG7 and SCA28, in additional to other “mitochondrial” features such as oculomotor apraxia, extrapyramidal dysfunction, and myoclonic epilepsy. These findings expand the phenotype associated with AFG3L2 mutations and suggest that AFG3L2-related disease should be considered in the differential diagnosis of spastic ataxias.
Mitochondria are cellular organelles important for converting sugar or fats into energy that cells can use for their functions and survival. Many neurological diseases are the result of mitochondrial dysfunction as affected cells are unable to cope with lowered energy supplies and increased oxidative stress. These deficiencies cause accumulation of cellular damage and eventually cell death. Spastic ataxias are neurological disorders involving cells with large energy requirements, the cerebellar Purkinje cells and the cerebral upper motor neurons. When these cells function improperly or die, individuals develop symptoms of incoordination (ataxia) and abnormal muscle tone in their legs (spastic paraplegia). Using emerging techniques of whole-exome sequencing we discovered that homozygous mutations in the AFG3L2 gene caused spastic ataxia in two brothers of a consanguineous family. AFG3L2 encodes a subunit of mitochondrial matrix proteases (m-AAA proteases) that regulate the functional integrity of mitochondria. Heterozygous mutations in AFG3L2 were previously found to cause a disorder involving the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum resulting in ataxia. Interestingly, another isoform of m-AAA proteases consists of AFG3L2 complexing with paraplegin, a similar protein associated with a hereditary spastic paraplegia. Our analysis provides insight into why different mutations in m-AAA protease subunits cause different neurological disorders.
OBJECTIVE—The neuropathy associated with
monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is typically
a predominantly demyelinating process that may have additional features
of axonal degeneration. Sixteen patients with MGUS and a pure or
predominantly axonal neuropathy are reported and compared with 20 consecutive patients with demyelinating neuropathy and MGUS who were
seen during the same period.
METHODS—Retrospective review of a consecutive
series of patients with neuropathy and MGUS evaluated during a five
RESULTS—The axonal group had mild, symmetric,
slowly progressive, predominantly sensory neuropathy, usually limited
to the legs. There were no differences in the age of onset or duration
of symptoms at the time of presentation, initial symptoms, or the
severity of weakness between the axonal and demyelinating cases.
However, the axonal process was associated with less vibration and
proprioceptive loss, did not include leg ataxia (present in 55% of
patients with demyelinating type), less often had generalised areflexia
(19% v 70%), IgM gammopathy (19% v 80%),
and anti-MAG antibodies (0% v 40%), and had lower CSF
protein concentrations (mean, 49 v 100mg/dl). The illness
was also generally milder with less disability (mean Rankin score 2.1 v 2.8). Fewer patients with axonal neuropathy improved
with immunomodulating therapy (27% v 75%).
CONCLUSION—There is an axonal neuropathy
associated with MGUS that is clinically and electrophysiologically
distinct from the more typical demyelinating pattern.
A patient with acute onset "classic" cerebellar ataxia of the right arm without clinically detectable deep sensory loss is reported, in relation to an acute posterior parietal infarct. Wild back and forth swaying of the arm, giving away, or worsening by suppression of vision were not seen. The lesion involved area 5, parts of area 7, the angular gyrus, the middle and posterior parieto-occipital gyri, and posterior parts of the superior and middle temporal gyri. The paracentral lobule, commonly thought to be responsible for parietal ataxia, was spared. Thus posterior parietal lesions can mimick cerebellar ataxia, possibly by severing specific projections to the ventrolateral thalamic nuclei. On the basis of previous studies in primates, the superior parietal gyrus may play a major part in the ataxia presented by this patient.
Two infants with sporadic congenital sensory neuropathy are described. The criteria of generalized lack of superficial sensory appreciation, hypotonia, areflexia, together with histological evidence of abnormalities of sensory neural structures in skin and peripheral nerves have been met. No abnormality of motor or autonomic nerves was shown.
Cerebellar ataxias are a group of disabling neurological disorders. Patients exhibit a cerebellar syndrome and can also present with extra-cerebellar deficits, namely pigmentary retinopathy, extrapyramidal movement disorders, pyramidal signs, cortical symptoms (seizures, cognitive impairment/behavioural symptoms), and peripheral neuropathy. Recently, deficits in cognitive operations have been unraveled. Cerebellar ataxias are heterogeneous both at the phenotypic and genotypic point of view. Therapeutical trials performed during these last 4 decades have failed in most cases, in particular because drugs were not targeting a deleterious pathway, but were given to counteract putative defects in neurotransmission. The identification of the causative mutations of many hereditary ataxias, the development of relevant animal models and the recent identifications of the molecular mechanisms underlying ataxias are impacting on the development of new drugs. We provide an overview of the pharmacological treatments currently used in the clinical practice and we discuss the drugs under development.
Cerebellum; ataxias; dominant; recessive; X-linked; therapy.