Hereditary spastic paraplegia: Genetic heterogeneity and common pathways

Exp Neurol. 2022 Nov:357:114203. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2022.114203. Epub 2022 Aug 13.


Hereditary Spastic Paraplegias (HSPs) are a heterogeneous group of disease, mainly characterized by progressive spasticity and weakness of the lower limbs resulting from distal degeneration of corticospinal tract axons. Although HSPs represent rare or ultra-rare conditions, with reported cases of mutated genes found in single families, overall, with 87 forms described, they are an important health and economic problem for society and patients. In fact, they are chronic and life-hindering conditions, still lacking a specific therapy. Notwithstanding the number of forms described, and 73 causative genes identified, overall, the molecular diagnostic rate varies among 29% to 61.8%, based on recent published analysis, suggesting that more genes are involved in HSP and/or that different molecular diagnostic approaches are necessary. The accumulating data in this field highlight several peculiar features of HSPs, such as genetic heterogeneity, the discovery that different mutations in a single gene can be transmitted in dominant and recessive trait in families and allelic heterogeneity, resulting in the involvement of HSP-genes in other conditions. Based on the observation of protein functions, the activity of many different proteins encoded by HSP-related genes converges into some distinct pathophysiological mechanisms. This suggests that common pathways could be a potential target for a therapy, possibly addressing several forms at once. Furthermore, the overlap of HSP genes with other neurological conditions can further expand this concept.

Keywords: Genetic heterogeneity; Hereditary spastic paraplegia; Pathogenetic pathways; Therapies.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Heterogeneity
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Pyramidal Tracts
  • Spastic Paraplegia, Hereditary* / diagnosis
  • Spastic Paraplegia, Hereditary* / genetics