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Facial-onset sensory-motor neuronopathy, a rare variant of Huntington’s disease or chance association?

Published on: 15th July, 2021

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 9136190397

Objectives: To describe a patient with facial-onset sensory-motor neuronopathy (FOSMN) that later developed Huntington’s disease (HD). Case report: A 62-year-old woman complained of progressive dysphagia 8 years before referral. At initial evaluation, there was excessive salivation, dysphagia, and sensory-motor trigeminal impairment. Denervation was noted on the upper limbs and the tongue. Blink reflexes were abolished. Genetic study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-related genes was normal. She was diagnosed with FOSMN syndrome. Her clinical state progressively worsened with corneal anesthesia, severe denutrition, right arm and axial weakness. Seven years after referral, she was unable walk and developed generalized chorea. Abnormal huntingtin gene repeat expansion confirmed the diagnosis of HD. She died 16 years after onset of dysphagia. Conclusion: Cases with both HD and ALS have already been reported but not FOSMN and HD, to our knowledge. Some FOSMN cases have been linked to ALS-related gene mutations and HD phenocopies have been associated with C9ORF72 repeat expansions. Recently, huntingtin repeat expansions were described in the ALS population. Although a chance association cannot be excluded, data from the literature are in favor of a pathogenic relationship between FOSMN and HD in this particular case. We suggest that huntingtin gene be more systematically studied in patients with FOSMN.
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