• Vol. 38 No. 2, 139–141
  • 15 February 2009

Deletions in the Survival Motor Neuron Gene in Iranian Patients with Spinal Muscular Atrophy



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Introduction: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a common neuromuscular disorder with progressive paralysis caused by the loss of α-motor neurons in the spinal cord. The survival motor neuron (SMN) protein is encoded by 2 genes, SMN1 and SMN2. The most frequent mutation is the biallelic deletion of exon 7 of the SMN1 gene. In SMA, SMN2 cannot compensate for the loss of SMN1, due to the exclusion of exon 7. The aim of our study was to estimate the frequency of the common SMN1 exon 7 deletion in patients referred to our centre for carrier detection and prenatal diagnosis. Materials and Methods: We performed the detection of exon 7 deletion of the SMN1 gene for the affected patients and fetuses suspected to have SMA. Results: Of 243 families, 195 were classified as SMA type I, 30 as type II, and 18 as type III according to their family histories. The analysis of exon 7 deletion among living affected children showed that 94% of the patients with SMA type I, 95% with type II families and 100% with type III had homozygous deletions. Of the prenatal diagnoses, 21 (22.8%) of the 92 fetuses were found to be affected and these pregnancies were terminated. Conclusions: The homozygosity frequency for the deletion of SMN1 exon 7 for all 3 types was (94%), similar to those of Western Europe, China, Japan and Kuwait.

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a group of autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorders characterised by the degeneration of the anterior horn motor neurons of the spinal cord, leading to symmetrical muscle weakness and atrophy. SMA represents the second most common fatal autosomal recessive disorder after cystic fibrosis, with an incidence of 1/6000 to 1/10,000 in newborns and has an estimated carrier frequency of 1:50.

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