Recent evidence suggests that intermediate-length polyglutamine (PolyQ) expansions in the ataxin-2 (ATXN-2) gene are a risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This work was undertaken with the aim to investigate the frequency of ataxin-1 (ATXN-1) and ATXN-2 PolyQ expansions in a cohort of patients with sporadic ALS (sALS) and patients with familial ALS (fALS) from southern Italy.Methods:
We assessed the PolyQ lengths of ATXN-1 and ATXN-2 in 405 patients with sALS, 13 patients with fALS, and 296 unrelated controls without history of neurodegenerative disorders.Results:
We found significantly higher intermediate PolyQ expansions ≥32 for ATXN-1 alleles and ≥28 for ATXN-2 alleles in the sALS cohort (ATXN-1: ALS, 7.07% vs controls, 2.38%; p = 0.0001; ATXN-2: ALS, 2.72% vs controls, 0.5%; p = 0.001). ATXN-1 CAT and ATXN-2 CAA interruptions were detected in patients with ALS only. Age at onset, site of onset, and sex were not significantly related to the ATXN-1 or ATXN-2 PolyQ repeat length expansions.Conclusions:
Both ATXN-1 and ATXN-2 PolyQ intermediate expansions are independently associated with an increased risk for ALS.