Background: Point mutations in SPG4, the gene encoding spastin, are a frequent cause of autosomal dominant hereditary spastic paraplegia (AD-HSP). However, standard methods for genetic analyses fail to detect exonic microdeletions.
Methods: 121 mutation-negative probands were screened for rearrangements in SPG4 by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification.
Results: 24 patients with 16 different heterozygotic exon deletions in SPG4 (20%) were identified, ranging from one exon to the whole coding sequence. Comparison with 78 patients with point mutations showed a similar clinical picture but an earlier age at onset.
Conclusions: Exon deletions in SPG4 are as frequent as point mutations, and SPG4 is responsible for 40% of AD-HSP.
- AD-HSP, autosomal dominant hereditary spastic paraplegia
- HSP, hereditary spastic paraplegia
- MLPA, multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification
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Published Online First 10 November 2006
Competing interests: None declared.