Phenotype Characterization of HD Intermediate Alleles in PREDICT-HD.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Huntington disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by a CAG repeat expansion on chromosome 4. Pathology is associated with CAG repeat length. Prior studies examining people in the intermediate allele (IA) range found subtle differences in motor, cognitive, and behavioral domains compared to controls. OBJECTIVE:The purpose of this study was to examine baseline and longitudinal differences in motor, cognitive, behavioral, functional, and imaging outcomes between persons with CAG repeats in three ranges: normal (?26), intermediate (27-35), and reduced penetrance (36-39). METHODS:We examined longitudinal data from 389 participants in three allele groups: 280 normal controls (NC), 21 intermediate allele [IA], and 88 reduced penetrance [RP]. We used linear mixed models to identify differences in baseline and longitudinal outcomes between groups. Three models were tested: 1) no baseline or longitudinal differences; 2) baseline differences but no longitudinal differences; and 3) baseline and longitudinal differences. RESULTS:Model 1 was the best fitting model for most outcome variables. Models 2 and 3 were best fitting for some of the variables. We found baseline and longitudinal trends of declining performance across increasing CAG repeat length groups, but no significant differences between the NC and IA groups. CONCLUSION:We did not find evidence to support differences in the IA group compared to the NC group. These findings are limited by a small IA sample size.
Project description:We aimed to describe the clinical phenotype conferred by the intermediate-length huntingtin allele CAG repeat expansion in a population-based study.The Prospective Huntington At Risk Observational Study (PHAROS) enrolled adults at risk for Huntington disease (HD). They were assessed approximately every 9 months with the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) by investigators unaware of participants' gene status. UHDRS scores were compared according to the Huntingtin gene CAG repeat number: expanded >36, intermediate 27-35, and nonexpanded controls <26.Fifty (5.1%) of the 983 participants had an intermediate allele (IA). They were similar to controls on UHDRS motor, cognitive, and functional measures, but significantly worse behaviorally on apathy and suicidal ideation. On 5 of the 9 other behavioral items and on total behavior, the IA group's scores were worse than those of controls and expanded participants, who themselves scored significantly worse than controls on 6 behavioral measures. Retention rates at 4 years were 48% for the IA group compared to 58% and 60% for the expanded and control groups.In a cohort at risk for HD, the IA was associated with significant behavioral abnormalities but normal motor and cognition. This behavioral phenotype may represent a prodromal stage of HD, with the potential for subsequent clinical manifestations, or be part of a distinct phenotype conferred by pathology independent of the CAG expansion length.
Project description:Careful characterization of the phenotype and genotype of Huntington disease (HD) can foster better understanding of the condition.We conducted a cohort study in the United States, Canada, and Australia of members of families affected by HD. We collected demographic and clinical data, conducted the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale and Mini-Mental State Examination, and determined Huntingtin trinucleotide CAG repeat length. We report primarily on cross-sectional baseline data from this recently completed prospective, longitudinal, observational study.As of December 31, 2009, 2,318 individuals enrolled; of these, 1,985 (85.6%) were classified into six analysis groups. Three groups had expanded CAG alleles (36 repeats or more): individuals with clinically diagnosed HD [n?=?930], and clinically unaffected first-degree relatives who had previously pursued [n?=?248] or not pursued [n?=?112] predictive DNA testing. Three groups lacked expanded alleles: first-degree relatives who had previously pursued [n?=?41] or not pursued [n?=?224] genetic testing, and spouses and caregivers [n?=?430]. Baseline mean performance differed across groups in all motor, behavioral, cognitive, and functional measures (p<0.001). Clinically unaffected individuals with expanded alleles weighed less (76.0 vs. 79.6 kg; p?=?0.01) and had lower cognitive scores (28.5 vs. 29.1 on the Mini Mental State Examination; p?=?0.008) than individuals without expanded alleles. The frequency of "high normal" repeat lengths (27 to 35) was 2.5% and repeat lengths associated with reduced penetrance (36 to 39) was 2.7%.Baseline analysis of COHORT study participants revealed differences that emerge prior to clinical diagnosis. Longitudinal investigation of this cohort will further characterize the natural history of HD and genetic and biological modifiers.Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00313495.
Project description:To directly estimate the frequency and penetrance of CAG repeat alleles associated with Huntington disease (HD) in the general population.CAG repeat length was evaluated in 7,315 individuals from 3 population-based cohorts from British Columbia, the United States, and Scotland. The frequency of ?36 CAG alleles was assessed out of a total of 14,630 alleles. The general population frequency of reduced penetrance alleles (36-39 CAG) was compared to the prevalence of patients with HD with genetically confirmed 36-39 CAG from a multisource clinical ascertainment in British Columbia, Canada. The penetrance of 36-38 CAG repeat alleles for HD was estimated for individuals ?65 years of age and compared against previously reported clinical penetrance estimates.A total of 18 of 7,315 individuals had ?36 CAG, revealing that approximately 1 in 400 individuals from the general population have an expanded CAG repeat associated with HD (0.246%). Individuals with CAG 36-37 genotypes are the most common (36, 0.096%; 37, 0.082%; 38, 0.027%; 39, 0.000%; ?40, 0.041%). General population CAG 36-38 penetrance rates are lower than penetrance rates extrapolated from clinical cohorts.HD alleles with a CAG repeat length of 36-38 occur at high frequency in the general population. The infrequent diagnosis of HD at this CAG length is likely due to low penetrance. Another important contributing factor may be reduced ascertainment of HD in those of older age.
Project description:Spinocerebellar degeneration (SCD) is a group of disorders characterized by progressive ataxia caused by dysfunction and atrophy of the cerebellum or its projections. Approximately one-third of SCD cases are familial SCD, the majority of which are attributed to CAG triplet repeat expansions including spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA)1, SCA2, Machado-Joseph disease (MJD)/SCA3, SCA6, SCA8, SCA12, SCA17, and dentate-rubro-pallido-luysian atrophy (DRPLA). The triplet repeat number of the alleles representing complete penetrance varies among diseases. Generally, there is a gap between the normal alleles and the complete penetrance alleles. Rarely, intermediate alleles with the repeat numbers between the abnormal and normal ranges are observed, although the implications of these intermediate alleles remain ambiguous.
Project description:Background:The study of complex neurodegenerative diseases is moving away from hypothesis-driven biological methods toward large scale multimodal approaches, requiring standardized collaborative efforts. Enroll-HD exemplifies such an integrated clinical research platform, designed and implemented to meet the research and clinical needs of Huntington's disease (HD). The aim of this study was to describe the unique organization of Enroll-HD and report baseline data analyses of its core study. Methods:The Enroll-HD platform incorporates electronic data capture, biosampling, and a longitudinal observational study spanning four continents (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01574053). The primary study population includes HD gene expansion carriers (HDGECs; CAG expansion ?36), subdivided into manifest/premanifest HD. The control population consists of genotype-negative first-degree relatives and family controls not genetically related. The study includes 10 core clinical assessments covering motor, cognitive, and behavioral domains. Results:This data set comprises 1,534 participants (HDGEC = 1,071; controls = 463). Participant retention was high; 42 participants prematurely withdrew from the study. Mean ± standard deviation SD CAG repeat size was 43.5 ± 3.5 for HDGECs and 19.8 ± 3.4 for controls. Motor and behavioral assessments identified numerical differences between controls and HDGECs (manifest > premanifest > controls). Functional and independence assessments were generally similar for the premanifest and control groups with overlap in range of scores obtained. For the majority of cognitive tests, there were large differences between participants with manifest HD and all other groups. Conclusions:These first data from the Enroll-HD clinical research platform demonstrate the maturity and potential of the platform in collecting high-quality, clinically relevant data. Future data sets will be substantially larger as the platform expands longitudinally and regionally.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Huntington disease (HD) (MIM: 143100) is a severe autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease caused by the expansion of CAG trinucleotides (>35) in the HTT. OBJECTIVE:To investigate the frequency of intermediate CAG alleles (IAs) in individuals residing in Rio de Janeiro city with no familial history of HD (general population, GP) in comparison with a sample of individuals from families presenting with HD who were previously investigated by our group (affected sample, AS). RESULTS:The frequency of normal CAG alleles was 96.2%, while that of IAs was 3.6%, and that of reduced penetrance alleles was 0.2% in the GP (n = 470 chromosomes); 7.2% (17/235 individuals) of the GP presented an IA in heterozygosis with a normal allele. There was no statistically significant difference between the frequencies of the IAs in the GP and in the AS (p = .9). The most frequent haplotype per normal allele was (CAG)17-(CCG)7 (101/461) and per IA was (CAG)27-(CCG)7 (6/17) in the GP. These haplotypes were also the most frequent in the normal and IA chromosomes of the AS, respectively. CONCLUSION:The genetic profiles of the IAs obtained from GP and AS were rather similar. It is important to investigate the frequencies of the IAs because expansions arise from a step-by-step mechanism in which, during intergenerational transmission, large normal alleles can generate IAs, which are then responsible for generating de novo HD mutations. The genetic investigation of IAs in the GP was also important because it was focused on the population of Rio de Janeiro, an understudied group. CCG7 was the most frequent CCG allele in linkage disequilibrium with normal, intermediate, and expanded CAG alleles, similar to the Western Europe population. However, a more robust investigation, in conjunction with haplogroup determination (A, B, or C), will be required to elucidate the ancestral origin of the HTT mutations in Brazilians.
Project description:The Huntington disease (HD) CAG repeat exhibits dramatic instability when transmitted to subsequent generations. The instability of the HD disease allele in male intergenerational transmissions is reflected in the variability of the CAG repeat in DNA from the sperm of male carriers of the HD gene.In this study, we used a collection of 112 sperm DNAs from male HD gene-positive members of a large Venezuelan cohort to investigate the factors associated with repeat instability. We confirm previous observations that CAG repeat length is the strongest predictor of repeat-length variability in sperm, but we did not find any correlation between CAG repeat instability and either age at the time of sperm donation or affectedness status. We also investigated transmission instability for 184 father-offspring and 311 mother-offspring pairs in this Venezuelan pedigree. Repeat-length changes were dependent upon the sex of the transmitting parent and parental CAG repeat length but not parental age or birth order. Unexpectedly, in maternal transmissions, repeat-length changes were also dependent upon the sex of the offspring, with a tendency for expansion in male offspring and contraction in female offspring.Significant sibling-sibling correlation for repeat instability suggests that genetic factors play a role in intergenerational CAG repeat instability.
Project description:The length of the huntingtin (HTT) CAG repeat is strongly correlated with both age at onset of Huntington's disease (HD) symptoms and age at death of HD patients. Dichotomous analysis comparing HD to controls is widely used to study the effects of HTT CAG repeat expansion. However, a potentially more powerful approach is a continuous analysis strategy that takes advantage of all of the different CAG lengths, to capture effects that are expected to be critical to HD pathogenesis.We used continuous and dichotomous approaches to analyze microarray gene expression data from 107 human control and HD lymphoblastoid cell lines. Of all probes found to be significant in a continuous analysis by CAG length, only 21.4% were so identified by a dichotomous comparison of HD versus controls. Moreover, of probes significant by dichotomous analysis, only 33.2% were also significant in the continuous analysis. Simulations revealed that the dichotomous approach would require substantially more than 107 samples to either detect 80% of the CAG-length correlated changes revealed by continuous analysis or to reduce the rate of significant differences that are not CAG length-correlated to 20% (n?=?133 or n?=?206, respectively). Given the superior power of the continuous approach, we calculated the correlation structure between HTT CAG repeat lengths and gene expression levels and created a freely available searchable website, "HD CAGnome," that allows users to examine continuous relationships between HTT CAG and expression levels of ?20,000 human genes.Our results reveal limitations of dichotomous approaches compared to the power of continuous analysis to study a disease where human genotype-phenotype relationships strongly support a role for a continuum of CAG length-dependent changes. The compendium of HTT CAG length-gene expression level relationships found at the HD CAGnome now provides convenient routes for discovery of candidates influenced by the HD mutation.
Project description:Trinucleotide (CAG) repeat expansions longer than 39 in the huntingtin (HTT) gene cause Huntington's disease (HD). The frequency of intermediate alleles (IA) with a length of 27-35 in the general population is not fully known, but studied in specific materials connected to the incidence of HD. The Swedish Huntingtin Alleles and Phenotype (SHAPE) study aims to assess the frequency of trinucleotide repeat expansions in the HTT gene in north Sweden. 8260 individuals unselected for HD from the counties of Norr- and Västerbotten in the north of Sweden were included. DNA samples were obtained and analysis of the HTT gene was performed, yielding data on HTT gene expansion length in 7379 individuals. A high frequency of intermediate alleles, 6.8%, was seen. Also, individuals with repeat numbers lower than ever previously reported (<5) were found. These results suggest a high frequency of HD in the norther parts of Sweden. Subsequent analyses may elucidate the influence of IA:s on traits other than HD.
Project description:Huntington disease (HD) is a dominantly transmitted neurodegenerative disorder that arises from expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat on chromosome 4p16.3. CAG repeat allele lengths are defined as fully penetrant at >or=40, reduced penetrance at 36-39, high normal at 27-35, and normal at <or=26. Fathers, but not mothers, with high normal alleles are at risk of transmitting potentially penetrant HD alleles (>or=36) to offspring. We estimated the conditional probability of an offspring inheriting an expanded penetrant allele given a father with a high normal allele by applying probability definitions and rules to estimates of HD incidence, paternal birth rate, frequency of de novo HD, and frequency of high normal alleles in the general population. The estimated probability that a male high normal allele carrier will have an offspring with an expanded penetrant allele ranges from 1/6,241 to 1/951. These estimates may be useful in genetic counseling for male high normal allele carriers.