Reduced penetrance of the Huntington's disease mutation

Academic Article


  • Controversy persists concerning the significance of Huntington disease (HD) alleles in the 36-39 repeat range. Although some clinically affected persons have been documented with repeats in this range, elderly unaffected individuals have also been reported. We examined 10 paternal transmissions of HD alleles of 37-39 repeats in collateral branches of families with de novo HD. All 10 descendants, including many who are elderly, are without symptoms of HD. Forty percent of the transmissions were unstable, although none varied by more than one repeat. The observation that individuals with alleles of 37-39 repeats may survive unaffected beyond common life expectancy supports the presence of reduced penetrance for HD among some persons with repeat sizes which overlap the clinical range. Non-penetrance may be increased in the collateral branches of de novo mutation families when compared to penetrance estimates from patient series. There was no CAA→CAG mutation for the penultimate glutamine in either a de novo expanded 42 repeat allele or the corresponding non-penetrant 38 repeat allele in a family with fresh mutation to HD.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McNeil SM; Novelletto A; Srinidhi J; Barnes G; Kornbluth I; Altherr MR; Wasmuth JJ; Gusella JF; MacDonald ME; Myers RH
  • Start Page

  • 775
  • End Page

  • 779
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 5