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Brain : a journal of neurology

Late-onset familial amyloid polyneuropathy type I (transthyretin Met30-associated familial amyloid polyneuropathy) unrelated to endemic focus in Japan. Clinicopathological and genetic features.


PMID 10506096

Abstract

Clinicopathological and genetic features were assessed on 35 Japanese families affected by late-onset familial amyloid polyneuropathy type I (transthyretin Met30-associated familial amyloid polyneuropathy, FAP TTR Met30) whose siblings were unrelated to endemic Japanese foci. In these patients (50 years or older), the most common initial symptom was paraesthesias in the legs. Autonomic symptoms were generally mild and did not seriously affect daily activities. The male-to-female ratio was extremely high (10.7 : 1). A family history was evident in only 11 out of 35 families, and other patients were apparently sporadic. The rate of penetrance was very low. Symptomatic siblings of familial cases showed a late age of onset, male preponderance and clinical features similar to those of the probands. Asymptomatic carriers, predominantly female, were detected relatively late in life. The geographical distribution of these late-onset, FAP TTR Met30 cases was scattered throughout Japan. In three autopsy cases and 20 sural nerve biopsy specimens, neurons in sympathetic and sensory ganglia were relatively preserved. Amyloid deposition was seen in the peripheral nervous system, particularly in the sympathetic ganglia, dorsal root ganglia and proximal nerve trunks such as sciatic nerve. These abnormalities were milder than those seen in typical early-onset FAP TTR Met30, as observed in two Japanese endemic foci of this disease. While axonal degeneration was prominent in myelinated fibres, resulting in severe fibre loss, unmyelinated fibres were relatively preserved. Our cases of late-onset FAP TTR Met30 showed features distinct from those of typical early-onset FAP TTR Met30 that occurred in the two Japanese endemic foci. Factors responsible for clinicopathological differences between these two forms of FAP TTR Met30 need to be identified.

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