Diagnostic utility of whole exome sequencing in patients showing cerebellar and/or vermis atrophy in childhood

Neurogenetics. 2013 Nov;14(3-4):225-32. doi: 10.1007/s10048-013-0375-8. Epub 2013 Oct 4.


Cerebellar and/or vermis atrophy is recognized in various types of childhood disorders with clinical and genetic heterogeneity. Although careful evaluation of clinical features and neuroimaging can lead to correct diagnosis of disorders, their diagnosis is sometimes difficult because clinical features can overlap with each other. In this study, we performed family-based whole exome sequencing of 23 families including 25 patients with cerebellar and/or vermis atrophy in childhood, who were unable to be diagnosed solely by clinical examination. Pathological mutations of seven genes were found in ten patients from nine families (9/23, 39.1 %): compound heterozygous mutations in FOLR1, C5orf42, POLG, TPP1, PEX16, and de novo mutations in CACNA1A, and ITPR1. Patient 1A with FOLR1 mutations showed extremely low concentration of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate in the cerebrospinal fluid and serum, and Patient 6 with TPP1 mutations demonstrated markedly lowered tripeptidyl peptidase 1 activity in leukocytes. Furthermore, Patient 8 with PEX16 mutations presented a mild increase of very long chain fatty acids in the serum as supportive data for genetic diagnosis. The main clinical features of these ten patients were nonspecific and mixed, and included developmental delay, intellectual disability, ataxia, hypotonia, and epilepsy. Brain MRI revealed both cerebellar and vermis atrophy in eight patients (8/10, 80 %), vermis atrophy/hypoplasia in two patients (2/10, 20 %), and brainstem atrophy in one patient (1/10, 10 %). Our data clearly demonstrate the utility of whole exome sequencing for genetic diagnosis of childhood cerebellar and/or vermis atrophy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Atrophy / diagnosis
  • Atrophy / genetics
  • Cerebellum / pathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Exome
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Tripeptidyl-Peptidase 1
  • Young Adult