Long-term disability and prognosis in dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy: A correlation with CAG repeat length


  • Potential conflict of interest: nothing to report.


Dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) is a rare autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by CAG repeat expansion. Previous studies demonstrated that the onset of DRPLA is closely associated with CAG repeat length. However, the natural history of DRPLA has not yet been evaluated. We here retrospectively investigated the factors that determine the disease milestones and prognosis in 183 Japanese patients genetically diagnosed with DRPLA. We determined the age at onset, age at which each of the subsequent clinical manifestations appeared, age at becoming wheelchair-bound, and age at death. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that the patients with CAG repeats larger than the median length of 65 repeats developed each of the clinical features of DRPLA at a younger age than those with <65 repeats. The patients became wheelchair-bound at a median age of 33 years (n = 61; range, 3–77 years) and died at a median age of 49 years (n = 23; range, 18–80 years). The ages at becoming wheelchair-bound and at death strongly correlated with the expanded CAG repeat length. Moreover, the patients with ≥65 CAG repeats showed a more severe long-term disability and a poorer prognosis. In contrast, the rate of progression after the onset did not correlate with CAG repeat length. The CAG repeat length may have a considerable effect on not only the disease onset but also the disease milestones and prognosis in DRPLA patients. These effects of CAG repeat length may be relevant in designing future clinical therapeutic trials. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society