Background: Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) are a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative diseases with progressive lower limb spasticity and weakness. The aim of this study is to determine the frequency of different SPG mutations in Hungarian patients, and to provide further genotype-phenotype correlations for the known HSP causing genes.
Methods: We carried out genetic testing for 58 probands with clinical characteristics of HSP. For historical reasons, three different approaches were followed in different patients: 1) Sanger sequencing of ATL1 and SPAST genes, 2) whole exome, and 3) targeted panel sequencing by next generation sequencing.
Results: Genetic diagnosis was established for 20 probands (34.5%). We detected nine previously unreported mutations with high confidence for pathogenicity. The most frequently affected gene was SPAST with pathogenic or likely pathogenic mutations in 10 probands. The most frequently detected variant in our cohort was the SPG7 p.Leu78*, observed in four probands. Altogether five probands were diagnosed with SPG7. Additional mutations were detected in SPG11, ATL1, NIPA1, and ABCD1.
Conclusion: This is the first comprehensive genetic epidemiological study of patients with HSP in Hungary. Next generation sequencing improved the yield of genetic diagnostics in this disease group even when the phenotype was atypical. However, considering the frequency of the HSP-causing gene defects, SPG4, the most common form of the disease, should be tested first to be cost effective in this economic region.
Keywords: Ethnic distribution; Hereditary spastic paraplegia; SPAST; SPG4; SPG7; Spastic paraplegia; Spastin.
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