Phenotype and genotype heterogeneity of PLA2G6-associated neurodegeneration in a cohort of pediatric and adult patients

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2023 Jul 5;18(1):177. doi: 10.1186/s13023-023-02780-9.


Background: Phospholipase-associated neurodegeneration (PLAN) caused by mutations in the PLA2G6 gene is a rare neurodegenerative disorder that presents with four sub-groups. Infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy (INAD) and PLA2G6-related dystonia-parkinsonism are the main two subtypes. In this cohort, we reviewed clinical, imaging, and genetic features of 25 adult and pediatric patients harboring variants in the PLA2G6.

Methods: An extensive review of the patients' data was carried out. Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy Rating Scale (INAD-RS) was used for evaluating the severity and progression of INAD patients. Whole-exome sequencing was used to determine the disease's underlying etiology followed by co-segregation analysis using Sanger sequencing. In silico prediction analysis based on the ACMG recommendation was used to assess the pathogenicity of genetic variants. We aimed to survey a genotype-genotype correlation in PLA2G6 considering all reported disease-causing variants in addition to our patients using the HGMD database and the chi-square statistical approach.

Results: Eighteen cases of INAD and 7 cases of late-onset PLAN were enrolled. Among 18 patients with INAD, gross motor regression was the most common presenting symptom. Considering the INAD-RS total score, the mean rate of progression was 0.58 points per month of symptoms (Standard error 0.22, lower 95% - 1.10, and upper 95% - 0.15). Sixty percent of the maximum potential loss in the INAD-RS had occurred within 60 months of symptom onset in INAD patients. Among seven adult cases of PLAN, hypokinesia, tremor, ataxic gate, and cognitive impairment were the most frequent clinical features. Various brain imaging abnormalities were also observed in 26 imaging series of these patients with cerebellar atrophy being the most common finding in more than 50%. Twenty unique variants in 25 patients with PLAN were detected including nine novel variants. Altogether, 107 distinct disease-causing variants from 87 patient were analyzed to establish a genotype-phenotype correlation. The P value of the chi-square test did not indicate a significant relationship between age of disease onset and the distribution of reported variants on PLA2G6.

Conclusion: PLAN presents with a wide spectrum of clinical symptoms from infancy to adulthood. PLAN should be considered in adult patients with parkinsonism or cognition decline. Based on the current knowledge, it is not possible to foresee the age of disease onset based on the identified genotype.

Keywords: INAD; Mutation; Neuroaxonal dystrophy; PLA2G6; PLA2G6-associated dystonia–parkinsonism; PLAN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Genotype
  • Group VI Phospholipases A2 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neuroaxonal Dystrophies* / genetics
  • Parkinsonian Disorders* / genetics
  • Phenotype


  • Group VI Phospholipases A2
  • PLA2G6 protein, human