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Thyroid. 2004 Mar;14(3):187-90.

Absence of ion channels CACN1AS and SCN4A mutations in thyrotoxic hypokalemic periodic paralysis.

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Department of Pathology, Singapore General Hospital, Republic of Singapore.


Muscle weakness in patients with thyrotoxicosis during hypokalemic episodes (thyrotoxic periodic paralysis [TPP]) occurs sporadically and mostly in males. It is treated by infusion or oral supplementation with potassium and with resolution of the thyrotoxicosis state. The clinical features of TPP resemble familial hypokalemic periodic paralysis (hypoKPP), which has been linked to two mutations in the gene encoding the skeletal muscle calcium channel alpha-1 subunit (CACN1AS; Arg528His and Arg1239His) and to the sodium channel alpha-subunit (SCN4A; Arg672His). We screened for the mutations (CACN1AS by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism [PCR-RFLP]; SCN4A by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis) described in hypoKPP in 20 unrelated patients with documented episodes of TPP (mean age, 40.0 +/- 12.3 years 19 males). Forty-eight patients with hyperthyroidism resulting from Graves' disease (48.5 +/- 12.3 years; 13 males), 1 patient with idiopathic hypoKPP (a 32-year-old male) and 32 healthy subjects (41.0 +/- 19.1 years; 16 males) were included. We found none of the TPP patients carry CACN1AS and SCN4A mutations. The hyperthyroid patients and control subjects were also negative for the mutations. The patient with idiopathic hypoKPP was genotyped to have the Arg528His mutation. These results suggest that despite close similarities between TPP and hypoKPP, a likely genetic basis for TPP does not involve the same gene mutations associated with hypoKPP.

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