Systematic analysis of genotype-phenotype variability in siblings with Aicardi Goutières Syndrome (AGS)

Mol Genet Metab. 2024 May;142(1):108346. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2024.108346. Epub 2024 Feb 13.


Objective: Aicardi Goutières Syndrome (AGS) is a genetic interferonopathy associated with multisystemic heterogeneous disease and neurologic dysfunction. AGS includes a broad phenotypic spectrum which is only partially explained by genotype. To better characterize this variability, we will perform a systematic analysis of phenotypic variability in familial cases of AGS.

Methods: Among thirteen families, twenty-six siblings diagnosed with AGS were identified from the Myelin Disorders and Biorepository Project (MDBP) at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Data were collected on the age of onset, genotype, neurologic impairment, and systemic complications. Neurologic impairment was assessed by a disease-specific scale (AGS Severity Scale) at the last available clinical encounter (range: 0-11 representing severe - attenuated phenotypes). The concordance of clinical severity within sibling pairs was categorized based on the difference in AGS Scale (discordant defined as >2-unit difference). The severity classifications were compared between sibling sets and by genotype.

Results: Five genotypes were represented: TREX1 (n = 4 subjects), RNASEH2B (n = 8), SAMHD1 (n = 8) ADAR1 (n = 4), and IFIH1 (n = 2). The older sibling was diagnosed later relative to the younger affected sibling (median age 7.32 years [IQR = 14.1] compared to 1.54 years [IQR = 10.3]). Common presenting neurologic symptoms were tone abnormalities (n = 10/26) and gross motor dysfunction (n = 9/26). Common early systemic complications included dysphagia and chilblains. The overall cohort median AGS severity score at the last encounter was 8, while subjects presenting with symptoms before one year had a median score of 5. The TREX1 cohort presented at the youngest age and with the most severe phenotype on average. AGS scores were discordant for 5 of 13 sibling pairs, most commonly in the SAMHD1 pairs. Microcephaly, feeding tube placement, seizures and earlier onset sibling were associated with lower AGS scores (respectively, Wilcoxon rank sum: p = 0.0001, p < 0.0001, p = 0.0426, and Wilcoxon signed rank: p = 0.0239).

Conclusions: In this systematic analysis of phenotypic variability in familial cases, we found discordance between siblings affected by AGS. Our results underscore the heterogeneity of AGS and suggest factors beyond AGS genotype may affect phenotype. Understanding the critical variables associated with disease onset and severity can guide future therapeutic interventions and clinical monitoring. This report reinforces the need for further studies to uncover potential factors to better understand this phenotypic variability, and consequently identify potential targets for interventions in attempt to change the natural history of the disease.

Keywords: Aicardi Goutières Syndrome; Developmental delay; Genotype; Leukodystrophy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System* / genetics
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases* / genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies*
  • Genotype*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1 / genetics
  • Male
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Nervous System Malformations* / complications
  • Nervous System Malformations* / genetics
  • Phenotype*
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Ribonuclease H / genetics
  • SAM Domain and HD Domain-Containing Protein 1 / genetics
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Siblings*


  • Exodeoxyribonucleases
  • three prime repair exonuclease 1
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Ribonuclease H
  • SAM Domain and HD Domain-Containing Protein 1
  • SAMHD1 protein, human
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins
  • ribonuclease HII
  • Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1
  • IFIH1 protein, human
  • RNA-Binding Proteins

Supplementary concepts

  • Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome