Acid ceramidase deficiency associated with spinal muscular atrophy with progressive myoclonic epilepsy

Joanna J. Gan, Virginie Garcia, Jane Tian, Michele Tagliati, Joseph E Parisi, Jeffrey M. Chung, Richard Lewis, Robert Baloh, Thierry Levade, Tyler Mark Pierson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spinal muscular atrophy with progressive myoclonic epilepsy (SMA-PME) is an extremely rare disorder related to the lysosomal storage disease, Farber lipogranulomatosis. Both disorders are autosomal recessive conditions caused by mutations in the ASAH1 gene encoding acid ceramidase. Farber disease is associated with joint deformities, lipomatous skin nodules, and often is fatal by 2-3 years of age; while SMA-PME is characterized by childhood-onset motor neuron disease and progressive myoclonic epilepsy. We report a case of SMA-PME with a novel mutation in the ASAH1 gene encoding acid ceramidase. The proband presented with childhood-onset of diffuse muscle atrophy and hypotonia. He also had diffuse weakness with greater proximal than distal involvement. Tongue fasciculations were present and his reflexes were either diminished or absent. He ambulated with an unsteady and hesitant gait. He subsequently developed myoclonic epilepsy along with other associated features including tremor, polymyoclonus, and sensorineural hearing loss. Neurophysiological studies revealed a motor neuron disorder and generalized epilepsy. Exome sequencing analysis identified compound heterozygous variants and biochemical analysis indicated acid ceramidase activity was approximately 12 percent of normal controls. Our proband was phenotypically similar to other cases of SMA-PME, albeit with somewhat lesser severity, slower progression, and greater longevity. As lysosomal disorders are sometimes amendable to early interventions, it is important to make early diagnoses in these cases. The combination of motor neuron disease and progressive myoclonic epilepsy should prompt genetic evaluation of ASAH1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)959-963
Number of pages5
JournalNeuromuscular Disorders
Volume25
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Keywords

  • Acid ceramidase
  • Lysosomal storage
  • Spinal muscular atrophy with progressive myoclonic epilepsy
  • Zebra bodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Neurology

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    Gan, J. J., Garcia, V., Tian, J., Tagliati, M., Parisi, J. E., Chung, J. M., Lewis, R., Baloh, R., Levade, T., & Pierson, T. M. (2015). Acid ceramidase deficiency associated with spinal muscular atrophy with progressive myoclonic epilepsy. Neuromuscular Disorders, 25(12), 959-963. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2015.09.007