Clinical phenotype of individuals with spinocerebellar ataxia 2 (SCA2) is characterised by cerebellar ataxia and cognitive impairment. Although L-dopa-responsive Parkinsonism is considered as a rare clinical presentation in SCA2, it has been brought to the attention of many neurologists in several studies. The authors report an autopsy case of SCA2 with Parkinsonism from a Japanese family using archival materials of our Brain Bank to describe unique neuropathologic findings. The individual clinically showed Parkinsonism as a predominant phenotype instead of cerebellar ataxia. Besides the classic SCA2 neuropathologic alterations, Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites were present in the brainstem nuclei. Genetic analysis revealed shorter abnormal expansion of CAG repeats (less than 39). In contrast, the authors could not find ?-synuclein pathology in two SCA2 cases without Parkinsonism. The present case will provide a neuropathologic evidence of correlation between ?-synucleinopathy and Parkinsonism of SCA2 as well as shed light on understanding the pathomechanism of Parkinsonism in SCA2.
This is the first autopsy case of SCA2 with parkinsonian phenotype. At the age of 46, the patient got symptoms of parkinsonism to which anti-parkinsonian drugs were effective. He had mosaic 38, 40 CAG repeat expansions on chromosome 12q23-24, being diagnosed as SCA2, and his mother and his son also had CAG expansions on the same locus. In addition to parkinsonism, he also exhibited autonomic disturbance, dementia, and mild cerebellar ataxia Brain images revealed severe atrophy of pons and medulla oblongata, resembling MSA-C. HVA and 5-HIAA were reduced in the cerebrospinal fluid, and the heart-mediastinum (H/M) ratio in myocardial 123I-MIBG cintigram was decreased, which suggested Lewy body pathology. He died at the age of 75 and the autopsy revealed atrophy of the olivo-ponto-cerebellar (OPC) system and substantia nigra which was compatible to SCA2, although the OPC system atrophy was less severe than formerly reported SCA2 cases. The degrees of atrophy of the OPC system and substantia nigra might explain the predominancy of clinical symptoms. Anti-1C2 positive inclusions in the pontine nuclei, inferior olive nuclei, cerebellum and substantia nigra confirmed a polyglutamine disease. In addition, there were the anti-phosphorylated alpha-synuclein positive, Lewy body related pathological changes in the substantia nigra, the locus ceruleus, the dorsal motor nuclei of vagus, and the sympathetic nerve in the myocardium. Major genetic abnormalities related to Parkinson disease were not detected. As another case of SCA2 with Lewy body pathology was reported in Japan, the coexistence of SCA2 and Lewy body pathology may not be accidental. Since myocardial MIBG scincigram can predict Lewy body pathology, we should seek more clinical cases of SCA2 with Lewy body pathology.
Two recent studies identified a mutation (p.Asp620Asn) in the vacuolar protein sorting 35 gene as a cause for an autosomal dominant form of Parkinson disease . Although additional missense variants were described, their pathogenic role yet remains inconclusive.
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