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Brain Dev. 2006 Jul;28(6):353-7. Epub 2006 Jan 10.

A distinct autosomal recessive ataxia maps to chromosome 12 in an inbred family from Jordan.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Medical Genetics, University of Iowa, UIHC, 2615 JCP, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Autosomal recessive ataxias are a heterogeneous group of rare disorders characterized by early onset ataxia associated with neurologic, ophthalmologic or systemic signs. The ataxias associated with myoclonus, epilepsy and progressive neurological degeneration are usually included with the progressive myoclonus epilepsies, one of which is Unverricht-Lundborg disease. We identified four siblings with ataxia, juvenile onset progressive action tremor and atonic seizures from a Jordanian family. The mode of inheritance of this syndrome is autosomal recessive. We performed a genome-wide screen for linkage and fine mapped the region that contains the disease locus. The four affected siblings have ataxia noted at the onset of walking with dysarthria and bulbar features, but no cerebellar hypoplasia on MRI. They all developed a fine tremor that progressed to a coarse action tremor, as well as atonic seizures. Treatment with valproate fully controlled the seizures and improved the tremor, but did not change the course of the ataxia. We mapped the gene responsible for this disorder to the pericentromeric region of chromosome 12. A recently described autosomal recessive variant of Unverricht-Lundborg disease also maps to the same region. We discuss the similarities and differences between our family and the family with the Unverricht-Lundborg disease variant.

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