J Clin Neurol.  2014 Jan;10(1):32-36.

CAG-Expansion Haplotype Analysis in a Population with a Low Prevalence of Huntington's Disease

  • 1Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. teeratorn.pul@mahidol.ac.th
  • 2Department of Medical Sciences, Medical Genetic Section, National Institute of Health, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand.


AND PURPOSE: The prevalence of Huntington's disease (HD) among East Asians is less than one-tenth of that among Caucasians. Such a low prevalence may be attributable to a lack of carriers of specific predisposing haplogroups associated with the high instability of the Huntingtin gene (HTT). The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between specific HTT haplogroups and the occurrence of HD in a Thai population.
CAG-repeat sizes and HTT haplotypes were analyzed in 18 Thai HD patients and 215 control subjects. Twenty-two tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNPs) were genotyped.
Only 18 patients from 15 unrelated families were identified over the last 17 years. Pathological CAG-repeat alleles ranged from 39 to 48 repeats (43.5+/-3.0, mean+/-SD), and normal alleles ranged from 9 to 24 repeats (16.49+/-1.74). Only two of the chromosomes studied comprised intermediate alleles. Unlike the Caucasian data, all but 1 of the 22 tSNPs were not associated with the occurrence of HD. The predisposing haplogroups for Caucasian HD (haplogroups A1 and A2) are very rare in Thai patients (<4%). Both HD and normal chromosomes are commonly haplogroups A5 and C, in contrast to the case for Chinese and Japanese patients, in whom only haplogroup C was common in HD chromosomes. The frequency of CAG-repeat sizes of haplogroup A5 and C were also similarly distributed.
HD chromosomes of Thai patients may arise randomly from each haplogroup, with a similar mutation rate. This rate is much lower than the CAG expansions from Caucasian HD haplogroups. These data suggest that the different mechanisms underlie CAG expansion in Thai and Caucasian patients.


Huntington's disease; CAG repeat; haplogroup; prevalence; intermediate allele
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