Objective: To elucidate the phenotype and the genotype-phenotype correlations in Chinese patients with X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD).
Methods: Clinical features of 40 Chinese patients with X-ALD were studied and mutation spectrums were investigated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing.
Results: Among these patients, four were siblings from two unrelated families, the others were unrelated. There were 31 cases with childhood cerebral (CCALD), 8 cases with adolescent cerebral (ACALD) and 1 case with adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN). Visual impairment, which presented in 12 cases (30%), was the most common initial symptom. Nine (69%) of 13 cases who had hydrocortisone and ACTH measured showed adrenal insufficiency. By follow-up date, 19 cases (47.5%) were dead. The interval from onset to death varied from 1 to 6 years and the average were 3.3 years. The mean age at death was 10.5 years. Eleven cases (27.5%) were in vegetable state. The mean interval from onset to apparently vegetable state was 2.8 years (range from 1 to 6 years). Four cases had progressive neurological disability. Four cases were lost follow-up. One case with CCALD and one case with ACALD progressed slowly. The courses of the disease of these two patients were 5 years and 15 years respectively. Thirty five mutations were identified in 40 cases. Most were located within exon 1-3 (40%, 16/40) and exon 6-8 (42%, 17/40). There is a distinct clustering of missense mutations in exon 6 (17%, 7/40). Five types of mutations were associated with CCALD, three with ACALD and a missense mutation was identified in the patients with AMN. The two patients with long disease courses had a missense mutation c.1559 T>A and a nonsense mutation c.1785 G>A respectively. The siblings with similar manifestations and onset age were observed in two families, whose mutations were c.887 A>G and c.1028 G>T.
Conclusion: The phenotypes, disease severity and rate of neurodegeneration could not be predicted by the nature of mutations.