Canavan disease is a severe progressive autosomal recessive disorder, which is characterised by spongy degeneration of the brain. The disease is caused by mutations in the aspartoacylase gene. Two different mutations were reported on 98% of the alleles of Ashkenazi Jewish patients, in which population the disease is highly prevalent. In non-Jewish patients of European origin, one mutation (914C > A) is found in 50% of the alleles, the other alleles representing all kinds of different mutations. We here describe the results of the mutation analysis in 17 European, non-Jewish patients. Ten different mutations were found, of which four had not been described before (H21P, A57T, R168H, P181T). A deletion of exon 4, which until now had only been described once, was revealed in all five alleles of Turkish origin tested, indicating that this is a founder effect in the Turkish population.

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European Journal of Human Genetics
Department of Neurology

Sistermans, E.A, de Coo, I.F.M, van Beerendonk, H, Poll-The, B.T, Kleijer, W.J, & van Oost, B.A. (2000). Mutation detection in the aspartoacylase gene in 17 patients with Canavan disease: Four new mutations in the non-Jewish population. European Journal of Human Genetics, 8(7), 557–560. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5200477