Dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA): clinical, genetic, and neuroradiologic studies in a family

J Neurol Sci. 1995 Jun;130(2):146-53. doi: 10.1016/0022-510x(95)00019-x.


The clinical, genetic, and neuroradiologic characteristics of dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) are delineated in six patients from three generations of a Japanese family. The clinical characteristics of the disease varied, the age at onset depending on patients with juvenile-onset were characterized by myoclonus, epilepsy, and mental retardation whereas cerebellar ataxia, choreoathetosis, and dementia were typical of adult- and senile-onset patients. All affected individuals showed one expanded allele with the repeat number of CAG at the DRPLA locus, ranging from 58 to 82, and a normal allele, ranging from 10 to 21. The most severely affected patient, a case of maternal transmission and with the largest allele, became bedridden in a vegetative state by age 12. On the CT and MRI, varying degrees of brain atrophy were present in all patients. T2-weighted MRI in patients with senile-onset showed symmetric high-signal lesions in the cerebral white matter, globus pallidus, thalamus, midbrain, and pons. However, MRI in younger patients revealed no such lesions and CT failed to demonstrate lesions in the globus pallidus and brain stem. Thus, intrafamilial heterogeneity of DRPLA was also evident on MRI. High-signal lesions involving both, subcortical white matter and thalamus may be characteristics of senile-onset patients and may correlate with their dementia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • Atrophy / genetics
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Child
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Female
  • Globus Pallidus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Japan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics*
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology*
  • Pedigree
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Red Nucleus / pathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • DNA