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Mov Disord. 2002 Sep;17(5):1068-71.

Ethnic differences in the expression of neurodegenerative disease: Machado-Joseph disease in Africans and Caucasians.

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University of Mississippi Medical Center, Neurology Department, Jackson, Mississippi, USA.


We describe several families of African origin with SCA3/Machado-Joseph disease gene expansions. In these cases, the phenotype ranges from ataxia with parkinsonian signs to a syndrome clinically almost indistinguishable from idiopathic, L-dopa-responsive Parkinson's disease. In contrast, these parkinsonian phenotypes are rare in those of European descent. Haplotype analysis shows that these African families do not share a common founder, thus a cis-acting element in the promoter is unlikely to be responsible these unusual presentations. We suggest that trans-acting factors are responsible for the variable phenotype and discuss the implications of diseases showing racially different expressivities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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