Occurrence of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in Type 1 Gaucher Disease

Objective

To report the association between type 1 Gaucher disease (GD1) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 3 unrelated families and to explore whether GBA variants influence the risk of ALS.

Methods

We conducted retrospective chart reviews of patients with GD1 or their family members diagnosed with ALS. To further investigate whether there is an association between ALS and GD, we performed exploratory analyses for the presence of GBA variants in 3 ALS cohorts from Toronto (Canada), Montreal (Canada), and Project MinE (international), totaling 4,653 patients with ALS and 1,832 controls.

Results

We describe 2 patients with GD1 and 1 obligate GBA mutation carrier (mother of GD1 patient) with ALS. We identified 0 and 8 GBA carriers in the Toronto and Montreal cohorts, respectively. The frequencies of GBA variants in patients with ALS in the Montreal and Project MinE cohorts were similar to those of Project MinE controls or Genome Aggregation Database population controls.

Conclusions

The occurrence of ALS in biallelic or monoallelic GBA mutation carriers described here, in addition to common pathogenic pathways shared by GD1 and ALS, suggests that GBA variants could influence ALS risk. However, analyses of GBA variants in ALS cohorts did not reveal a meaningful association. Examination of larger cohorts and neuropathologic studies will be required to elucidate whether patients with GD1 are indeed at increased risk for ALS.

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