Background: Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSP) are a group of neurodegenerative diseases that present with weakness and stiffness in the lower limb muscles and lead to progressive neurological decline. Bi-allelic loss-of-function variants in genes that encode subunits of the adaptor protein complex 4 (AP-4) lead to complex HSP. This study aimed to identify causative genetic variants in consanguineous families with HSP from Azerbaijan and Pakistan.
Methods: We performed a thorough clinical and neuroradiological characterization followed by exome sequencing in 7 patients from 3 unrelated families. Segregation analysis was subsequently performed by Sanger sequencing.
Results: We describe 7 patients (4 males, 2-31 years of age) with developmental delay and spasticity. Similar to the previously reported cases with AP4B1-associated HSP, cases in the present report besides spasticity in the lower limbs had additional features including microcephaly, facial dysmorphism, infantile hypotonia, and epilepsy. The imaging findings included thin corpus callosum, white matter loss, and ventriculomegaly.
Conclusion: In this study, we report 7 novel cases of HSP caused by bi-allelic variants in AP4B1 in Azerbaijani and Pakistani families. Our observations will help clinicians observe and compare common and unique clinical features of AP4B1-associated HSP patients, further improving our current understanding of HSP.
Keywords: AP4B1; Epilepsy; Genetics; Spastic paraplegia.
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