Fragile X-Associated Tremor Ataxia Syndrome: The Expanding Clinical Picture, Pathophysiology, Epidemiology, and Update on Treatment

Hall, Deborah A.; O‘Keefe, Joan A.

Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) is a progressive degenerative movement disorder characterized by kinetic tremor, cerebellar gait ataxia, parkinsonism, and cognitive decline. This disorder occurs in both males and females, frequently in families with children who have fragile X syndrome. The clinical features of this disorder, both classic and newly described, are summarized in this paper. In screening studies, fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene premutation (55-200“…CGG) expansions are most frequently seen in men with ataxia who have tested negative for spinocerebellar ataxias. Since the original description, the classic FXTAS phenotype has now been reported in females and in carriers of smaller (45-54“…CGG) and larger (>200“…CGG) expansions in FMR1. Premutation carriers may present with a Parkinson disease phenotype or hypotension, rather than with tremor and/or ataxia. Parkinsonism and gait ataxia may also be seen in individuals with gray zone (41-54“…CGG) expansions. Studies regarding medication to treat the symptoms in FXTAS are few in number and suggest that medications targeted to specific symptoms, such as kinetic tremor or gait ataxia, may be most beneficial. Great progress has been made in regards to FXTAS research, likely given the readily available gene test and the screening of multiple family members, including parents and grandparents, of fragile X syndrome children. Expansion of genotypes and phenotypes in the disorder may suggest that a broader disease definition might be necessary in the future.



Also Published In

Tremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Parkinson's Disease and Other Movement Disorders
Published Here
July 6, 2012