Delving into the complexity of hereditary spastic paraplegias: how unexpected phenotypes and inheritance modes are revolutionizing their nosology

Hum Genet. 2015 Jun;134(6):511-38. doi: 10.1007/s00439-015-1536-7. Epub 2015 Mar 11.


Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSP) are rare neurodegenerative diseases sharing the degeneration of the corticospinal tracts as the main pathological characteristic. They are considered one of the most heterogeneous neurological disorders. All modes of inheritance have been described for the 84 different loci and 67 known causative genes implicated up to now. Recent advances in molecular genetics have revealed clinico-genetic heterogeneity of these disorders including their clinical and genetic overlap with other diseases of the nervous system. The systematic analysis of a large set of genes, including exome sequencing, is unmasking unusual phenotypes or inheritance modes associated with mutations in HSP genes and related genes involved in various neurological diseases. A new nosology may emerge after integration and understanding of these new data to replace the current classification. Collectively, functions of the known genes implicate the disturbance of intracellular membrane dynamics and trafficking as the consequence of alterations of cytoskeletal dynamics, lipid metabolism and organelle structures, which represent in fact a relatively small number of cellular processes that could help to find common curative approaches, which are still lacking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytoskeleton / genetics
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / pathology
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / genetics*
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / metabolism*
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / pathology
  • Genetic Loci
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / genetics
  • Paraplegia / genetics*
  • Paraplegia / metabolism*
  • Paraplegia / pathology