Mutations in MTHFR and POLG impaired activity of the mitochondrial respiratory chain in 46-year-old twins with spastic paraparesis

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Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) are characterized by lower extremity spasticity and weakness. HSP is often caused by mutations in SPG genes, but it may also be produced by inborn errors of metabolism. We performed next-generation sequencing of 4813 genes in one adult twin pair with HSP and severe muscular weakness occurring at the same age. We found two pathogenic compound heterozygous variants in MTHFR, including a variant not referenced in international databases, c.197C>T (p.Pro66Leu) and a known variant, c.470G>A (p.Arg157Gln), and two heterozygous pathogenic variants in POLG, c.1760C>T (p.Pro587Leu) and c.752C>T (p.Thr251Ile). MTHFR and POLG mutations were consistent with the severe muscle weakness and the metabolic changes, including hyperhomocysteinemia and decreased activity of both N(5,10)methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and complexes I and II of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. These data suggest the potential role of MTHFR and POLG mutations through consequences on mitochondrial dysfunction in the occurrence of spastic paraparesis phenotype with combined metabolic, muscular, and neurological components.

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Institutional grants of INSERM UMR_S 1256 were received from INSERM (French National Institute of Health and Medical Research) and the Region of Lorraine (France). MRB is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF 31003A_138521) and the Rare Disease Initiative Zurich (radiz), a clinical research priority program for rare diseases of the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

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Correspondence to Jean-Louis Guéant or Abderrahim Oussalah.

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Wiedemann, A., Chery, C., Coelho, D. et al. Mutations in MTHFR and POLG impaired activity of the mitochondrial respiratory chain in 46-year-old twins with spastic paraparesis. J Hum Genet (2019) doi:10.1038/s10038-019-0689-y

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