Tremor as an early sign of hereditary spastic paraplegia due to mutations in ALDH18A1

Brain Dev. 2021 Jan;43(1):144-151. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2020.07.015. Epub 2020 Aug 11.


Background: The ALDH18A1 gene is located at 10q24.1 and encodes delta-1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase (P5CS), a mitochondrial bifunctional enzyme that catalyzes the first two steps in de novo biosynthesis of proline, ornithine, citrulline, and arginine. ALDH18A1-related disorders have been classified into four groups, such as autosomal dominant and recessive hereditary spastic paraplegia (SPG9A and SPG9B, respectively), as well as autosomal dominant and recessive cutis laxa (ADCL3 and ARCL3A, respectively). Neurodegeneration is a characteristic feature of all groups.

Case report: Here, we report a girl with compound heterozygous disease-causing variants (c.-28-2A>G and c.383G>A, p.Arg128His) in the ALDH18A1 gene, revealed by whole exome sequencing. The c.-28-2A>G variant in intron 1, inherited from the mother, is a novel mutation, while the c.383G>A variant in exon 4, inherited from the father, has already been reported. The patient presented with vigorous infantile tremor preceding progressive spastic paraplegia. Dysmorphic features included elongated face, deep-set ears, upturned nose, long philtrum and pointed chin. Intrauterine and postnatal growth retardation, microcephaly, global developmental delay and profound intellectual disability were also noticed. Blood fasting ammonia level, plasma proline, ornithine and arginine levels were normal, while citrulline level was slightly decreased. Brain MRI revealed moderate hypoplasia of the corpus callosum and reduction of white matter volume.

Conclusions: The patient represents SPG9B, a rare form of autosomal recessive hereditary spastic paraplegias. The early onset tremor, preceding lower limb spasticity appears to be a unique early manifestation of neurodegeneration in this case.

Keywords: ALDH18A1-related disorders; Growth retardation; Hereditary spastic paraplegia type 9B; Intellectual disability; Neurodegeneration.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exons / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Pedigree
  • Spastic Paraplegia, Hereditary / diagnosis*
  • Spastic Paraplegia, Hereditary / genetics*
  • Tremor / genetics


  • ALDH18A1 protein, human
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase