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Open Access Research article

Homozygosity for a missense mutation in the 67 kDa isoform of glutamate decarboxylase in a family with autosomal recessive spastic cerebral palsy: parallels with Stiff-Person Syndrome and other movement disorders

Clare N Lynex1*, Ian M Carr1, Jack P Leek1, Rajgopal Achuthan1, Simon Mitchell2, Eamonn R Maher3, C Geoffrey Woods1, David T Bonthon1 and Alex F Markham1

Author Affiliations

1 Molecular Medicine Unit, University of Leeds, Clinical Sciences Building, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK

2 Neonatal Medical Unit, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester, UK

3 Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Section of Medical and Molecular Genetics, The Medical School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

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BMC Neurology 2004, 4:20  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-4-20

Published: 30 November 2004



Cerebral palsy (CP) is an heterogeneous group of neurological disorders of movement and/or posture, with an estimated incidence of 1 in 1000 live births. Non-progressive forms of symmetrical, spastic CP have been identified, which show a Mendelian autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance. We recently described the mapping of a recessive spastic CP locus to a 5 cM chromosomal region located at 2q24-31.1, in rare consanguineous families.


Here we present data that refine this locus to a 0.5 cM region, flanked by the microsatellite markers D2S2345 and D2S326. The minimal region contains the candidate gene GAD1, which encodes a glutamate decarboxylase isoform (GAD67), involved in conversion of the amino acid and excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate to the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA).


A novel amino acid mis-sense mutation in GAD67 was detected, which segregated with CP in affected individuals.


This result is interesting because auto-antibodies to GAD67 and the more widely studied GAD65 homologue encoded by the GAD2 gene, are described in patients with Stiff-Person Syndrome (SPS), epilepsy, cerebellar ataxia and Batten disease. Further investigation seems merited of the possibility that variation in the GAD1 sequence, potentially affecting glutamate/GABA ratios, may underlie this form of spastic CP, given the presence of anti-GAD antibodies in SPS and the recognised excitotoxicity of glutamate in various contexts.

Table 4. GAD1 single nucleotide substitutions detected on mutation analysis and occurring in sequences submitted to NCBI SNP database and in the literature. This is not a definitive list, but includes those described at the time of the mutational analysis. *Nucleotide positions were not provided by Maestrini et al. [47].