Parkinsonism and spastic paraplegia type 7: Expanding the spectrum of mitochondrial Parkinsonism




Pathogenic variants in the spastic paraplegia type 7 gene cause a complicated hereditary spastic paraplegia phenotype associated with classical features of mitochondrial diseases, including ataxia, progressive external ophthalmoplegia, and deletions of mitochondrial DNA.


To better characterize spastic paraplegia type 7 disease with a clinical, genetic, and functional analysis of a Spanish cohort of spastic paraplegia type 7 patients.


Genetic analysis was performed in patients suspecting hereditary spastic paraplegia and in 1 patient with parkinsonism and Pisa syndrome, through next‐generation sequencing, whole‐exome sequencing, targeted Sanger sequencing, and multiplex ligation‐dependent probe analysis, and blood mitochondrial DNA levels determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction.


Thirty‐five patients were found to carry homozygous or compound heterozygous pathogenic variants in the spastic paraplegia type 7 gene. Mean age at onset was 40 years (range, 12–63); 63% of spastic paraplegia type 7 patients were male, and three‐quarters of all patients had at least one allele with the c.1529C>T (p.Ala510Val) mutation. Eighty percent of the cohort showed a complicated phenotype, combining ataxia and progressive external ophthalmoplegia (65% and 26%, respectively). Parkinsonism was observed in 21% of cases. Analysis of blood mitochondrial DNA indicated that both patients and carriers of spastic paraplegia type 7 pathogenic variants had markedly lower levels of mitochondrial DNA than control subjects (228 per haploid nuclear DNA vs. 176 vs. 573, respectively; P < 0.001).


Parkinsonism is a frequent finding in spastic paraplegia type 7 patients. Spastic paraplegia type 7 pathogenic variants impair mitochondrial DNA homeostasis irrespective of the number of mutant alleles, type of variant, and patient or carrier status. Thus, spastic paraplegia type 7 supports mitochondrial DNA maintenance, and variants in the gene may cause parkinsonism owing to mitochondrial DNA abnormalities. Moreover, mitochondrial DNA blood analysis could be a useful biomarker to detect at risk families. © 2019 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society


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