Brain monoamine vesicular transport disease caused by homozygous SLC18A2 variants: A study in 42 affected individuals

Genet Med. 2023 Jan;25(1):90-102. doi: 10.1016/j.gim.2022.09.010. Epub 2022 Oct 31.

Abstract

Purpose: Brain monoamine vesicular transport disease is an infantile-onset movement disorder that mimics cerebral palsy. In 2013, the homozygous SLC18A2 variant, p.Pro387Leu, was first reported as a cause of this rare disorder, and dopamine agonists were efficient for treating affected individuals from a single large family. To date, only 6 variants have been reported. In this study, we evaluated genotype-phenotype correlations in individuals with biallelic SLC18A2 variants.

Methods: A total of 42 affected individuals with homozygous SLC18A2 variant alleles were identified. We evaluated genotype-phenotype correlations and the missense variants in the affected individuals based on the structural modeling of rat VMAT2 encoded by Slc18a2, with cytoplasm- and lumen-facing conformations. A Caenorhabditis elegans model was created for functional studies.

Results: A total of 19 homozygous SLC18A2 variants, including 3 recurrent variants, were identified using exome sequencing. The affected individuals typically showed global developmental delay, hypotonia, dystonia, oculogyric crisis, and autonomic nervous system involvement (temperature dysregulation/sweating, hypersalivation, and gastrointestinal dysmotility). Among the 58 affected individuals described to date, 16 (28%) died before the age of 13 years. Of the 17 patients with p.Pro237His, 9 died, whereas all 14 patients with p.Pro387Leu survived. Although a dopamine agonist mildly improved the disease symptoms in 18 of 21 patients (86%), some affected individuals with p.Ile43Phe and p.Pro387Leu showed milder phenotypes and presented prolonged survival even without treatment. The C. elegans model showed behavioral abnormalities.

Conclusion: These data expand the phenotypic and genotypic spectra of SLC18A2-related disorders.

Keywords: Brain monoamine vesicular transport disease; Dopamine agonist; Dystonia; SLC18A2; VMAT2.

MeSH terms

  • Amines
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain Diseases*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Dystonia*
  • Humans
  • Movement Disorders* / genetics
  • Rats
  • Vesicular Monoamine Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Vesicular Monoamine Transport Proteins / metabolism

Substances

  • Vesicular Monoamine Transport Proteins
  • Amines
  • SLC18A2 protein, human
  • Slc18a2 protein, rat