Ataxia with vitamin E deficiency: update of molecular diagnosis
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Ataxia with vitamin E deficiency (AVED) is a rare autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease, due to mutations in TTPA gene (Arita et al. in Biochem J 306(Pt. 2):437–443, 1995; Hentati et al. in Ann Neurol 39:295–300, 1996), which encodes for α-TTP, a cytosolic liver protein that is presumed to function in the intracellular transport of α-tocopherol. This disease is characterized clinically by symptoms with often striking resemblance to those of Friedreich ataxia. The neurological symptoms include ataxia, dysarthria, hyporeflexia, and decreased vibration sense, sometimes associated with cardiomyopathy and retinitis pigmentosa (Mariotti et al. in Neurol Sci 25:130–137, 2004). Vitamin E supplementation improves symptoms and prevents disease progress (Doria-Lamba et al. in Eur J Pediatr 165(7):494–495, 2006). Over 20 mutations have been identified in patients with AVED. In the present paper we summarize the recent findings on molecular genetic of this disease including the list of the known mutations.