Pathophysiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) remains partially understood even though it is accepted worldwide that motor neuron death results from a pluri-factorial process with a variable role of genetic factors. Although not distinguishable from a clinical point of view, familial forms of ALS (fALS, 10% of cases) and sporadic forms (sALS, 90% of cases) can be described. Since the identification of superoxide dismutase 1 gene (SOD1) mutations, more than 30 genes have been linked to fALS. Among these genes, five (C9ORF72, SOD1, TARDBP, FUS, TBK1) seem predominant with mutation frequencies of 40%, 20%, 5%, <5%, <5% in fALS and 6%, 3%, and <1% for the last three in sALS, respectively. The situation that classically leads to request genetic screening is the presence of a familial history of motor neuron disorders (MND) or fronto-temporal lobar dementia (FTLD). However, this dichotomy between fALS and sALS based on familial history can lead to mistakes since illegitimacy, ignorance of MND, FTD or psychiatric disorders within the family due to a familial censorship or lack of familial relationship, or a recessive autosomal inheritance could wrongly lead to failing to recognize a familial form. The significant development of genetic research and easier access to genetic tests in fALS increase the number of situations for which gene mutations are identified. The consequence is an increase in genetic requests from relatives of ALS patients who are eager to know their own genetic status and their own individual risk to develop ALS. Pre-symptomatic testing is thus becoming a daily issue in ALS Centers. This led us to propose a framework for such pre-symptomatic genetic testing for people at risk for developing ALS.

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Keywords : Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Genetic, Counselling, Presymptomatic



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