Objectives: Genetic variant classification is a challenge in rare adult-onset disorders as in SCA-PRKCG (prior spinocerebellar ataxia type 14) with mostly private conventional mutations and nonspecific phenotype. We here propose a refined approach for clinicogenetic diagnosis by including protein modeling and provide for confirmed SCA-PRKCG a comprehensive phenotype description from a German multi-center cohort, including standardized 3D MR imaging.
Methods: This cross-sectional study prospectively obtained neurological, neuropsychological, and brain imaging data in 33 PRKCG variant carriers. Protein modeling was added as a classification criterion in variants of uncertain significance (VUS).
Results: Our sample included 25 cases confirmed as SCA-PRKCG (14 variants, thereof seven novel variants) and eight carriers of variants assigned as VUS (four variants) or benign/likely benign (two variants). Phenotype in SCA-PRKCG included slowly progressive ataxia (onset at 4-50 years), preceded in some by early-onset nonprogressive symptoms. Ataxia was often combined with action myoclonus, dystonia, or mild cognitive-affective disturbance. Inspection of brain MRI revealed nonprogressive cerebellar atrophy. As a novel finding, a previously not described T2 hyperintense dentate nucleus was seen in all SCA-PRKCG cases but in none of the controls.
Interpretation: In this largest cohort to date, SCA-PRKCG was characterized as a slowly progressive cerebellar syndrome with some clinical and imaging features suggestive of a developmental disorder. The observed non-ataxia movement disorders and cognitive-affective disturbance may well be attributed to cerebellar pathology. Protein modeling emerged as a valuable diagnostic tool for variant classification and the newly described T2 hyperintense dentate sign could serve as a supportive diagnostic marker of SCA-PRKCG.
© 2021 The Authors. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Neurological Association.