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Very mild presentation in adult with classical cellular phenotype of ataxia telangiectasia


  • Funding agencies: This work was supported by Cancer Research UK and the Ataxia Telangiectasia Society.

  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Nothing to report.

  • Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.

Correspondence to: A. Malcolm Taylor, School of Cancer Sciences, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Vincent Drive, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK;



The major clinical feature of ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) is severe progressive neurodegeneration with onset in infancy. This classical A-T phenotype is caused by biallelic null mutations in the ATM gene, leading to the absence of ATM protein and increased cellular radiosensitivity. We report an unusual case of A-T in a 41-year-old mother, A-T210, who had very mild neurological symptoms despite complete loss of ATM protein.


A neurological examination was performed, cellular radiosensitivity was assessed, and the ATM gene was sequenced. Skin fibroblasts and a lymphoblastoid cell line (LCL) were assayed for ATM protein expression and kinase activity.


Patient A-T210 showed mild chorea, dystonia, and gait ataxia, walked independently, and drove a car. LCL and skin fibroblasts were radiosensitive and did not express ATM protein. Two ATM-null mutations were identified.


The severe neurodegeneration resulting from loss of ATM can be mitigated in some circumstances. © 2012 Movement Disorder Society