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Huntington Disease An overview

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1 Huntington Disease An overview
This PowerPoint file contains a number of slides that may be useful for teaching of genetics concepts. You may use these slides and their contents for non-commercial educational purposes.

2 Huntington Disease (HD)
This presentation includes: Clinical classification and features. Structure and molecular basis of the HD gene. Clinical photographs showing involuntary movements in HD, and brain tissue of normal and affected patients. Pedigree of an HD family. Probability of inheriting the HD gene change. Advantages and disadvantages of predictive testing for HD.

3 Huntington Disease (HD)
Clinical Classification Movement/Cognitive/Psychiatric disorder Mean onset age years. Prevalence Incidence >1 in 10,000. Genetic Testing Diagnostic Presymptomatic – counselling protocol.

4 Huntington Disease (HD)
Physical features: - involuntary movements - weight loss - abnormal gait - speech & swallowing difficulties. Psychiatric Manifestations: - personality changes - depression - aggression - early onset dementia.

5 Fig. 3.7 ©Scion Publishing Ltd
Structure of the Huntington disease gene Short vertical bars represent exons. Fig. 3.7 ©Scion Publishing Ltd

6 Huntington disease - a triplet repeat disease
CAG CAG CAG CAG CAG CAG CAG CAG CAG CAG CAG …... CAG 11-34 CAG triplet repeats are normal: encodes a run of glutamine amino acid residues in the protein. A run of > 34 glutamine residues causes the protein to aggregate in the brain cells and cause progressive cell death. Runs of >34 CAG repeats in the HD gene expand further (particularly during male meiosis) causing earlier age of onset in children of men who have the gene – anticipation.

7 21 CAG repeats in a “normal”/usual Huntington disease gene
1 ttg ctg tgt gag gca gaa cct gcg ggg gca ggg gcg ggc tgg ttc cct ggc cag cca ttg gca gag tcc gca ggc tag ggc tgt caa tca tgc tgg ccg gcg tgg ccc cgc ctc cgc cgg cgc ggc ccc gcc tcc gcc ggc gca cgt ctg gga cgc aag gcg ccg tgg ggg ctg ccg gga cgg gtc caa gat gga cgg ccg ctc agg ttc tgc ttt tac ctg cgg ccc aga gcc cca ttc att gcc ccg gtg ctg agc ggc gcc gcg agt cgg ccc gag gcc tcc ggg gac tgc cgt gcc ggg cgg gag acc gcc atg gcg acc ctg gaa aag ctg atg aag gcc ttc gag tcc ctc aag tcc ttc cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag cag caa cag ccg cca ccg ccg ccg ccg ccg ccg ccg cct cct cag ctt cct cag 21 CAG repeats in a “normal”/usual Huntington disease gene

8 Huntington disease A patient in the advanced stages of the disease showing involuntary movements of the head and face. Photos courtesy of Professor Peter Harper, Cardiff. (b) Post mortem sections comparing normal brain (left) with brain from Huntington disease patient (right); note the loss of tissue in the Huntington disease brain. Photos courtesy of Dr David Crauford, St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester. Fig. 1.1 ©Scion Publishing Ltd Photos courtesy of (a) Prof. Peter Harper and (b) Dr David Crauford

9 Fig. 1.7 ©Scion Publishing Ltd
Pedigree of John Ashton’s family. This is shown as it might be recorded in the clinic. Fig. 1.7 ©Scion Publishing Ltd

10 Observations show that 40% of people with the HD gene are asymptomatic at the age of 50
Intuition says probability of parent having gene at age 50 = 1/2 x 1/2.5 = 1/5. Therefore son’s risk is ½ x 1/5 = 1/10. BUT THIS IS INCORRECT! Probabilities should be multiplied only when they are completely independent of each other, and these are not. Developing HD is conditional on having inherited the gene. Have to use Bayes theorem:- His mother’s probability of having gene for HD and asymptomatic at age 50 is 1/3.5 His risk is therefore 1/7. Probability: ½ at birth Probability of inheriting the altered HD gene at birth: ½ x ½ = ¼

11 Advantages of predictive testing for Huntington disease
Uncertainty of gene status removed. If negative: concerns about self and offspring reduced. If positive: make plans for the future arrange surveillance/treatment if any inform children/decide whether to have children.

12 Disadvantages of predictive testing for Huntington disease
If positive: removes hope introduces uncertainty (if and when) known risk to offspring impact on self/partner/family/friends potential problems with insurance/mortgage. If negative: expectations of a ‘good’ result ‘survivor’ guilt.

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