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Acta Neuropathol. 1996 Oct;92(4):421-7.

Coexistence of Huntington's disease and familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: case presentation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


We present the clinical, molecular genetic and neuropathological findings of an 81-year-old man with concurrent Huntington's disease (HD) and familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS). His mother had been diagnosed clinically as having ALS. There was no known family history of HD, but a maternal uncle had died in a chronic care psychiatric hospital. The diagnosis of HD in the patient was suspected at age 66, after 8 years of personality change, hallucinations, agitation, cognitive decline and choreoathetosis. No symptoms of motor neuron disease were noticed at that time, but progressive weakness developed later. Postmortem examination revealed cerebral atrophy, marked atrophy of basal ganglia (grade 3), and atrophy of brain stem and spinal cord. The neostriatum displayed massive neuronal loss and gliosis. The neocortex showed changes characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. Pathological lesions also included loss of neurons and gliosis in the anterior horns, Clarke's columns and the hypoglossal nuclei; degeneration of the lateral corticospinal tracts, dorsal spinocerebellar tracts and fasciculus gracilis; and rare Bunina bodies and ubiquitin-positive filamentous skeins in motor-neuron perikarya. Molecular analysis demonstrated chromosome 4p16.3 expansion of trinucleotide repeats characteristic of HD. Analysis of Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase gene and heavy neurofilament subunit gene failed to demonstrate mutations. The concurrence of HD and FALS in our patient and three previously reported cases did not appear to be associated with cosegregation in other family members.

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