Background: Myoclonus–dystonia (M-D) is an autosomal dominant inherited movement disorder. Various mutations within the epsilon-sarcoglycan (SGCE) gene have been associated with M-D, but mutations are detected in only about 30% of patients. The lack of stringent clinical inclusion criteria and limitations of mutation screens by direct sequencing might explain this observation.
Methods: Eighty-six M-D index patients from the Dutch national referral centre for M-D underwent neurological examination and were classified according to previously published criteria into definite, probable and possible M-D. Sequence analysis of the SGCE gene and screening for copy number variations were performed. In addition, screening was carried out for the 3 bp deletion in exon 5 of the DYT1 gene.
Results: Based on clinical examination, 24 definite, 23 probable and 39 possible M-D patients were detected. Thirteen of the 86 M-D index patients carried a SGCE mutation: seven nonsense mutations, two splice site mutations, three missense mutations (two within one patient) and one multiexonic deletion. In the definite M-D group, 50% carried an SGCE mutation and one single patient in the probable group (4%). One possible M-D patient showed a 4 bp deletion in the DYT1 gene (c.934_937delAGAG).
Conclusions: Mutation carriers were mainly identified in the definite M-D group. However, in half of definite M-D cases, no mutation could be identified. Copy-number variations did not play a major role in the large cohort.
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