Heritability of saccadic eye movements in spinocerebellar ataxia type 2: Insights into an endophenotype marker

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Abstract

Background: Saccade slowing has been proposed as endophenotype marker in Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 2 (SCA2), nevertheless the heritability of this trait has not been properly demonstrated. Thus the present paper was aimed to assess the heritability of different saccadic parameters in SCA2. Methods: Forty-eight SCA2 patients, 25 preclinical carriers and 24 non-SCA2 mutation carriers underwent electronystagmographical assessments of saccadic eye movements as well as neurological examination and ataxia scoring. Estimates of heritability based on the intraclass correlation coefficients were calculated for saccade velocity, accuracy and latency as well as for age at disease onset from 36, 17 and 15 sibling pairs of SCA2 patients, preclinical carriers and controls, respectively. Results: Saccade velocity was significantly reduced in SCA2 patients and preclinical carriers, whereas decreased saccade accuracy and increased saccade latency were only observed in the patients cohort. Intraclass correlation coefficient for saccade velocity was highly significant in SCA2 patients, estimating a heritability around 94%, whereas for the age at ataxia onset this estimate was around 68%. Conclusions: Electronystagmographical measure of saccade velocity showed higher familial aggregation between SCA2 patients leading the suitability of this disease feature as endophenotype marker, with potential usefulness for the search of modifier genes and neurobiological underpinnings of the disease and as outcome measure in future neuroprotective clinical trials.

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Rodríguez-Labrada, R., Vázquez-Mojena, Y., Canales-Ochoa, N., Medrano-Montero, J., & Velázquez-Pérez, L. (2017). Heritability of saccadic eye movements in spinocerebellar ataxia type 2: Insights into an endophenotype marker. Cerebellum and Ataxias, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40673-017-0078-2

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