DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2023.1148377; PMCID: PMC10108901
Introduction: Rare neurodevelopmental disorders, including inherited white matter disorders or leukodystrophies, often present a diagnostic challenge on a genetic level given the large number of causal genes associated with a range of disease subtypes. This study aims to demonstrate the challenges and lessons learned in the genetic investigations of leukodystrophies through presentation of a series of cases solved using exome or genome sequencing.
Methods: Each of the six patients had a leukodystrophy associated with hypomyelination or delayed myelination on MRI, and inconclusive clinical diagnostic genetic testing results. We performed next generation sequencing (case-based exome or genome sequencing) to further investigate the genetic cause of disease.
Results: Following different lines of investigation, molecular diagnoses were obtained for each case, with patients harboring pathogenic variants in a range of genes including TMEM106B, GJA1, AGA, POLR3A, and TUBB4A. We describe the lessons learned in reaching the genetic diagnosis, including the importance of (a) utilizing proper multi-gene panels in clinical testing, (b) assessing the reliability of biochemical assays in supporting diagnoses, and (c) understanding the limitations of exome sequencing methods in regard to CNV detection and region coverage in GC-rich areas.
Discussion: This study illustrates the importance of applying a collaborative diagnostic approach by combining detailed phenotyping data and metabolic results from the clinical environment with advanced next generation sequencing analysis techniques from the research environment to increase the diagnostic yield in patients with genetically unresolved leukodystrophies.
genetic diagnosis; hypomyelination; leukodystrophy; medical genetics; neurogenetics; next generation sequencing (NGS); pediatric neurology; white matter disorders
Perrier S, Guerrero K, Tran LT, et al. Solving inherited white matter disorder etiologies in the neurology clinic: Challenges and lessons learned using next-generation sequencing. Front Neurol. 2023;14:1148377. Published 2023 Apr 3. doi:10.3389/fneur.2023.1148377