Clinical profile of fatal familial insomnia: phenotypic variation in 129 polymorphisms and geographical regions

Objective

Elucidate the core clinical and genetic characteristics and identify the phenotypic variation between different regions and genotypes of fatal familial insomnia (FFI).

Methods

A worldwide large sample of FFI patients from our case series and literature review diagnosed by genetic testing were collected. The prevalence of clinical symptoms and genetic profile were obtained, and then the phenotypic comparison between Asians versus non-Asians and 129Met/Met versus 129Met/Val were conducted.

Results

In total, 131 cases were identified. The age of onset was 47.51±12.53 (range 17–76) years, 106 patients died and disease duration was 13.20±9.04 (range 2–48) months. Insomnia (87.0%) and rapidly progressive dementia (RPD; 83.2%) occurred with the highest frequency. Hypertension (33.6%) was considered to be an objective indicator of autonomic dysfunction. Genotype frequency at codon 129 was Met/Met (84.7%) and Met/Val (15.3%), and allele frequency was Met (92.4%) and Val (7.6%).129 Met was a risk factor (OR: 3.728, 95% CI: 2.194 to 6.333, p=0.000) for FFI in the non-Asian population. Comparison of Asians and non-Asians revealed clinical symptoms and genetic background to show some differences (p<0.05). In the comparison of 129 polymorphisms, a longer disease duration was found in the 129 MV group, with alleviation of some clinical symptoms (p<0.05). After considering survival probability, significant differences in survival time between genotypes remained (p<0.0001).

Conclusions

Insomnia, RPD and hypertension are representative key clinical presentations of FFI. Phenotypic variations in genotypes and geographic regions were documented. Prion protein gene 129 Met was considered to be a risk factor for FFI in the non-Asian population, and 129 polymorphisms could modify survival duration.

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