Accurate diagnosis, especially in progressive hereditary diseases, is essential for the treatment and genetic counseling of the patient and the family. Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCL) are amongst the most common groups of neurodegenerative diseases. Infantile, juvenile, and adult-onset types with multiple genotype-phenotype associations have been described. A fluorimetric enzyme assay for palmitoyl protein thioesterase (PPT) from leukocytes and fibroblasts has been previously developed to confirm the diagnosis of infantile NCL. We describe a patient with juvenile-onset NCL phenotype with a new CLN1 mutation and deficient PPT activity. Over 40 different mutations have been found in patients with PPT deficiency, indicating that screening for known mutations is not an efficient way to diagnose this disorder. Therefore, PPT enzyme analysis should precede mutation analysis in suspected PPT deficiency, particularly in patients with granular osmiophilic deposits (GROD) or in patients who have negative ultrastructural data. The use of enzyme assay led to the diagnosis of this patient with juvenile-onset Finnish variant NCL with PPT deficiency, and we expect that greater awareness of the utility of the enzymatic assay may lead to identification of other similar cases awaiting a definitive diagnosis.

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European Journal of Neurology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Kälviäinen, R., Eriksson, K., Losekoot, M., Sorri, I., Harvima, I., Santavuori, P., … van Diggelen, O. (2007). Juvenile-onset neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis with infantile CLN1 mutation and palmitoyl-protein thioesterase deficiency. European Journal of Neurology, 14(4), 369–372. doi:10.1111/j.1468-1331.2007.01668.x