• clinical manifestation;
  • DYT1/TOR1A mutation;
  • DYT6/THAP1 mutation;
  • genotype and phenotype;
  • primary/pure dystonia

Background:  Dystonia is defined as the presence of sustained involuntary muscle contractions, often leading to abnormal posture and movement. DYT1 is caused by a mutation in the TOR1A gene, whilst mutations in THAP1 gene have been identified as responsible for DYT6. The relative frequency and phenotype differences between DYT1 and DYT6 amongst Chinese primary dystonia patients have not been well-characterized.

Patients and methods:  One hundred eleven unrelated Chinese patients with primary dystonia were screened for mutations in TOR1A and THAP1 genes, and correlate this with clinical presentation. Exon 5 of TOR1A and all three exons and exon-intron conjunctions in THAP1 were screened by direct sequencing.

Results:  Three subjects were found to have the GAG deletion in the TOR1A gene, and two patients were detected with THAP1 gene mutations/variations (c.224A>T, c.449A>C). The overall mutation frequency was 4.5% in this cohort with TOR1A mutations found in 2.7% and THAP1 mutations found in 1.8%. No mutations were detected in the controls composed of 100 normal Chinese subjects. The clinical presentations of the DYT1 cases included onset in the limbs that could progress to the generalized dystonia within several years but without cranial involvement. Whilst in the DYT6 cases, the onset was cranial or cervical and progresses very slowly.

Conclusion:  The major clinical differences between DYT1 and DYT6 dystonia in China were the cranial involvement in DYT6 and progress to general dystonia within several years in DYT1.