A case of Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker (GSS) disease with supranuclear gaze palsy

J Clin Mov Disord. 2019 Dec 11:6:7. doi: 10.1186/s40734-019-0082-1. eCollection 2019.


Background: Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease (GSS), an autosomal dominant prion disorder, usually presents as a slowly progressive cerebellar ataxia followed by later cognitive decline. We present a member of the GSS Indiana Kindred with supranuclear palsy, a less common feature in GSS.

Case presentation: A 42-year-old man presented with 12 months of progressive gait and balance difficulty. Exam was notable for ataxia and cerebellar eye movement abnormalities. Genetic testing revealed a F198S variant in the prion protein (PRNP) gene, the pathological variant of GSS associated with his family, the Indiana kindred. Eighteen months after initial presentation supranuclear palsy developed.

Conclusions: GSS is a neurodegenerative prion disease with diverse clinical presentations, and exhibits greater variability in disease phenotype compared to other inherited spongiform encephalopathies. GSS should be on the differential for patients with ataxia and supranuclear palsy, and it is important to assess both horizontal and vertical saccades and optokinetic nystagmus in patients with ataxia.

Keywords: Gait disorders/ataxia; Gerstman-Straussler-Scheinker disease; Prion disease; Supranuclear palsy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports