Natural course of pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 2A

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2014 May 5:9:70. doi: 10.1186/1750-1172-9-70.


Introduction: Pontocerebellar hypoplasia Type 2 (PCH2) is a rare autosomal recessive condition, defined on MRI by a small cerebellum and ventral pons. Clinical features are severe developmental delay, microcephaly and dyskinesia.Ninety percent carry a p.A307S mutation in the TSEN54-gene. Our aim was to describe the natural course including neurological and developmental features and other aspects of care in a homogeneous group of PCH2 patients all carrying the p.A307S mutation.

Patients and methods: Patients were recruited via the German patients' organizations. Inclusion criteria were imaging findings of PCH2 and a p.A307S mutation. Data were collected using medical reports and patient questionnaires discussed in a standardized telephone interview.

Results: Thirty-three patients were included. When considering survival until age 11 years, 53% of children had died Weight, length and head circumference, mostly in the normal range at birth, became abnormal, especially head circumference (-5.58 SD at age 5 yrs). Neurologic symptoms: Choreathetosis was present in 88% (62% with pyramidal signs), 12% had pure spasticity. Epileptic seizures were manifest in 82%, status epilepticus in 39%. Non-epileptic dystonic attacks occurred in 33%. General symptoms: feeding difficulties were recorded in 100%, sleep disorder in 96%, apneas in 67% and recurrent infections in 52%; gastroesophageal reflux disease was diagnosed in 73%, 67% got percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy and 36% a Nissen-fundoplication. Neurodevelopmental data: All children made progress, but on a low level: such as fixing and following with the eyes was seen in 76%, attempting to grasp objects (76%), moderate head control (73%), social smile (70%), rolling from prone to supine (58%), and sitting without support (9%). Ten percent lost achieved abilities on follow-up. The presence of prenatal symptoms did not correlate with outcome.

Conclusion: Phenotype of this genetically homogeneous group of PCH2 children was severe with reduced survival, but compatible with some developmental progress. Our data support the hypothesis of an early onset degeneration which thereafter stabilizes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Endoribonucleases / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Olivopontocerebellar Atrophies / genetics
  • Olivopontocerebellar Atrophies / physiopathology*


  • Endoribonucleases
  • TSEN54 protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia Type 2A