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Psychiatric symptoms and CAG expansion in Huntington's disease


Weigell-Weber, Maike; Schmid, Werner; Spiegel, Roland (1996). Psychiatric symptoms and CAG expansion in Huntington's disease. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 67(1):53-57.

Abstract

The mutation responsible for Huntington's disease (HD) is an elongated CAG repeat in the coding region of the IT15 gene. A PCR-based test with high sensitivity and accuracy is now available to identify asymptomatic gene carriers and patients. An inverse correlation between CAG copy number and age at disease onset has been found in a large number of affected individuals. The influence of the CAG repeat expansion on other phenotypic manifestations, especially specific psychiatric symptoms has not been studied intensively.

In order to elucidate this situation we investigated the relation between CAG copy number and distinct psychiatric phenotypes found in 79 HD-patients. None of the four differentiated categories (personality change, psychosis, depression, and nonspecific alterations) showed significant differences in respect to size of the CAG expansion. In addition, no influence of individual sex on psychiatric presentation could be found. On the other hand in patients with personality changes maternal transmission was significantly more frequent compared with all other groups.

Therefore we suggest that clinical severity of psychiatric features in HD is not directly dependent on the size of the dynamic mutation involved. The complex pathogenetic mechanisms leading to psychiatric alterations are still unknown and thus genotyping does not provide information about expected psychiatric symptoms in HD gene carriers.

Abstract

The mutation responsible for Huntington's disease (HD) is an elongated CAG repeat in the coding region of the IT15 gene. A PCR-based test with high sensitivity and accuracy is now available to identify asymptomatic gene carriers and patients. An inverse correlation between CAG copy number and age at disease onset has been found in a large number of affected individuals. The influence of the CAG repeat expansion on other phenotypic manifestations, especially specific psychiatric symptoms has not been studied intensively.

In order to elucidate this situation we investigated the relation between CAG copy number and distinct psychiatric phenotypes found in 79 HD-patients. None of the four differentiated categories (personality change, psychosis, depression, and nonspecific alterations) showed significant differences in respect to size of the CAG expansion. In addition, no influence of individual sex on psychiatric presentation could be found. On the other hand in patients with personality changes maternal transmission was significantly more frequent compared with all other groups.

Therefore we suggest that clinical severity of psychiatric features in HD is not directly dependent on the size of the dynamic mutation involved. The complex pathogenetic mechanisms leading to psychiatric alterations are still unknown and thus genotyping does not provide information about expected psychiatric symptoms in HD gene carriers.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Medical Genetics
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Genetics
Health Sciences > Genetics (clinical)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Genetics (clinical), genotype-phenotype-correlation, unstable trinucleotide repeat, personality change, psychosis, depression
Language:English
Date:16 February 1996
Deposited On:26 Jan 2023 10:34
Last Modified:28 Apr 2024 01:46
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0148-7299
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1096-8628(19960216)67:1<53::AID-AJMG9>3.0.CO;2-T
Official URL:https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/%28SICI%291096-8628%2819960216%2967%3A1%3C53%3A%3AAID-AJMG9%3E3.0.CO%3B2-T
PubMed ID:8678115