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Abstract

We report an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder in 25 white members from a large inbred Brazilian family, 22 of whom were evaluated clinically. This condition is characterized by (1) subnormal vision secondary to apparently nonprogressive congenital optic atrophy; (2) onset of progressive spastic paraplegia in infancy; (3) onset of progressive motor and sensory axonal neuropathy in late childhood/early adolescence; (4) dysarthria starting in the third decade of life; (5) exacerbated acoustic startle response; and (6) progressive joint contractures and spine deformities. Motor handicap was severe, and all patients were wheelchair bound after 15 years old. We performed a genome-wide screen including 25 affected individuals and 49 of their unaffected relatives. Linkage was detected at 11q13 region with a maximum logarithm of odds score of +14.43, obtained with marker D11S1883. The candidate region, which lies between D11S1908 and D11S1889, encompasses ∼4.8Mb and has more than 100 genes and expressed sequences. We propose the acronym SPOAN (spastic paraplegia, optic atrophy, and neuropathy) for this complex syndrome. Ann Neurol 2005;57:730–737