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Hum Mol Genet. 1999 Mar;8(3):453-7.

Single sperm analysis of the CAG repeats in the gene for dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA): the instability of the CAG repeats in the DRPLA gene is prominent among the CAG repeat diseases.

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Department of Neurology, Jichi Medical School, 3311-1 Minamikawachi, Kawachi, Tochigi 329-0498, Japan.


Dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) is known to show the most prominent genetic anticipation among CAG repeat diseases. To investigate the mechanism underlying the meiotic instability of expanded CAG repeats in the gene for DRPLA, we determined the CAG repeat sizes of 427 single sperm from two individuals with DRPLA. The mean variance of the change in the CAG repeat size in sperm from the DRPLA patients (288.0) was larger than any variances of the CAG repeat size in sperm from patients with Machado-Joseph disease (38. 5), Huntington's disease (69.0) and spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (16.3), which is consistent with the clinical observation that the genetic anticipation on the paternal transmission of DRPLA is the most prominent among CAG repeat diseases. The variance of the change in CAG repeat size was significantly different between the two DRPLA patients (F-test, P < 0.0001). However, the segregation ratio of single sperm with an expanded allele to ones with a normal allele is not statistically different ( P = 0.161) from the expected 1:1 segregation ratio, and thus segregation distortion of expanded alleles in meiosis in male patients with DRPLA was not demonstrated.

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