Objective: Recessive mutations in the CAPN1 gene have recently been identified in spastic paraplegia 76 (SPG76), a complex hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) that is combined with cerebellar ataxia, resulting in an ataxia-spasticity disease spectrum. This study aims to assess the influence of CAPN1 variants on the occurrence of SPG76 and identify factors potentially contributing to phenotypic heterogeneity.
Methods: We screened a cohort of 240 unrelated HSP families for variants in CAPN1 using high-throughput sequencing analysis. We described in detail the clinical and genetic features of the SPG76 patients in our cohort and summarized all reported cases.
Results: Six unreported CAPN1-associated families containing eight patients with or without cerebellar ataxia were found in our cohort of HSP cases. These patients carried three previously reported homozygous truncating mutations (p.V64Gfs* 103, c.759+1G>A, and p.R285* ), and three additional novel compound heterozygous missense mutations (p.R481Q, p.P498L, and p.R618W). Lower limbs spasticity, hyperreflexia, and Babinski signs developed in about 94% of patients, with ataxia developing in 63% of cases. In total, 33 pathogenic mutations were distributed along the three reported functional domains of calpain-1 protein, encoded by CAPN1, with no hotspot region. A comparison of gender distribution between the two groups indicated that female SPG76 patients were significantly more likely to present with complicated HSP than male patients (P = 0.015).
Interpretation: Our study supports the clinically heterogeneous inter- and intra-family variability of SPG76 patients, and demonstrates that gender and calpain-1 linker structure may contribute to clinical heterogeneity in SPG76 cases.
© 2020 The Authors. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc on behalf of American Neurological Association.