Atypical clinical presentation of ataxia telangiectasia

Am J Med Genet. 1993 Mar 15;45(6):777-82. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320450624.


Ataxia telangiectasia (AT) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by progressive cerebellar ataxia, oculocutaneous telangiectasias, immunodeficiency with recurrent infections, IgA and IgE deficiency, and increased incidence of malignancies. The pathognomonic biological abnormalities consist of spontaneous chromosomal instability resulting in a high in vivo occurrence of cells with translocations, especially involving chromosomes 7 and 14, and a relative insensitivity of DNA replication in vitro to radiation exposure. We report on a patient with the biological hallmarks of AT but with atypical clinical manifestations. Although progressive cerebellar ataxia was present, the neurological picture was broader than that usually seen in AT and included peripheral polyneuropathy and spinal atrophy. On the other hand, telangiectasias, recurrent infections, malignancies, IgA deficiency, or other immunological abnormalities were not present. This illustrates that the clinical picture of AT is broad and nonspecific, and highlights the diagnostic value of cytogenetic analysis and studies of radioresistance of DNA synthesis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / diagnosis*
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / genetics
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 14
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 7
  • DNA Replication / genetics
  • DNA Replication / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Radiation Tolerance / genetics