Niemann-Pick type C disease (NPC) is a rare lysosomal disease with a protean presentation, ranging from a fatal neonatal course with visceromegaly to an adult presentation with only neurological or psychiatric symptomatology. In this report we describe the genetic and clinical characteristics of 3 Mexican patients from different families with juvenile presentation of NPC. Clinical examination, imaging of central nervous and gastrointestinal system, and EEG were performed. Genetic studies include sequencing and deletion/duplication analysis of NPC1 and NPC2 genes. All patients presented with cognitive impairment, ataxia, and supranuclear vertical gaze palsy; one case had gelastic cataplexy. Also they developed epilepsy and cortical atrophy and two patients had thinning of corpus callosum. The 3 patients were compound heterozygotes for NPC1 sequence variants, including 5 missense and 1 nonsense mutations: p.P1007A and p.F1087L in Case 1; p.Q921P and p.G992R in Case 2; and p.R348∗ and p.V1165M in case 3. Mexican patients with juvenile NPC presented with a variable clinical phenotype and compound heterozygosity. This suggests a relative high frequency of mutation carriers as it is reported for European population. Consequently, clinicians should consider NPC as a diagnosis possibility in any adolescent or young adult patient with juvenile dementia and/or ataxia, even in absence of gelastic cataplexy and supranuclear vertical gaze palsy.
Bibliographical noteThe authors thank Silvia Moguel-Ancheita, MD, for the
ophthalmological evaluation of the patients, and Jose VentaSobero,
MD, for additional neurological examinations. Also,
thanks are due to the pediatric neurologists in their hospital
and the health personnel in their referring clinics currently
involved in management and treatment of the patients.