Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) is an autosomal recessive, neurocutaneous disorder characterized by sunlight-induced skin cancers and defective DNA repair. Many XP children develop a primary neuronal degeneration. We describe 2 unusual XP patients who had a delayed onset of XP neurological disease. Somatic cell genetic studies indicated that they have the same defective DNA repair gene and are both in XP complemenation group A. These 2 patients, together with a group A patient previously reported from London, establish as a distinct clinical entity the late onset type of the juvenile onset form of XP neurological disease. The functional capacity of these patients' cultured fibroblast strains to survive after treatment with ultraviolet radiation indicates that their DNA repair defect is less severe than that of typical group A patients who have a more severe neurodegeneration with an earlier symptomatic onset. The premature death of nerve cells in XP patients (which is presumably due to their inherited defects in DNA repair mechanisms) suggests that normal repair of damaged DNA in neurons is required to maintain integrity of the human nervous system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology