Rare Ophthalmology News

Disease Profile

Spastic paraplegia 2

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.

<1 / 1 000 000

US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset






Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)



Congenital and Genetic Diseases; Eye diseases; Nervous System Diseases


The following summary is from Orphanet, a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.

Orpha Number: 99015

A rare, X-linked leukodystrophy characterized primarily by spastic gait and autonomic dysfunction. When additional central nervous system (CNS) signs, such as intellectual deficit, ataxia, or extrapyramidal signs, are present, the syndrome is referred to as complicated SPG.

The prevalence and incidence of SPG2 have not been reported, but as part of the Pelizaeus-Merzbacher (PMD; see this term) spectrum, SPG2 roughly accounts for about 20 % of cases. There have been approximately 20 cases published on SPG2. SPG2 affects males but some female heterozygotes presenting in adulthood with a milder phenotype have also been reported.

Clinical description
SPG2 spans a continuum of phenotypes that goes from pure to complicated SPG2. Pure SPG2 manifests as early as infancy or early childhood (<5 years) but may be delayed until early adulthood. It presents with weakness, hyperreflexia, Babinski sign and spastic gait due to spastic paraparesis. Autonomic dysfunction (spastic urinary bladder and possibly bowel, with increased urinary and fecal frequency and incontinence) is frequent. Patients are able to walk and their speech is normal. There is no CNS involvement and no cognitive decline. Complicated SPG2 shares the same features as SPG2 but also shows additional CNS involvement like nystagmus, and ataxia that present in the first years of life. Optic atrophy may be present. Patients can also show a mild intellectual deficit.

SPG2 is due to missense substitutions affecting the PLP1 gene. PLP1 encodes the proteolipid protein (PLP), the most abundant protein of the myelin sheath in the central nervous system, and its alternatively spliced isoform (DM20). SPG2 is allelic to Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD; see this term) that is also due to PLP1 mutations.

Diagnostic methods
Diagnosis is based on clinical, electrophysiologic, and neuroradiological findings. White matter N-acetyl aspartate levels are reduced. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reveals patchy or diffuse hypomyelination on T2-weighted images. Patients with pure SPG2 can have very subtle T2 hyperintensity. Other MR techniques, including MR spectroscopy and diffusion tensor imaging are useful in the diagnosis of the disease. Molecular genetic testing of PLP1 confirms the diagnosis.

Differential diagnosis
Differential diagnosis includes other forms of hereditary spastic paraplegia (see this tem). Complicated SPG2 is not clearly distinguishable from mild Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD) and null syndrome (see these terms).

Antenatal diagnosis
Prenatal genetic testing is possible when a family's underlying PLP1 mutation has been identified.

Genetic counseling
Transmission is X-linked recessive.

Management and treatment
A son born to a female carrier has a 50% risk of inheriting the mutation and developing the disease, while a daughter has a 50% risk of being a carrier. All daughters of an affected male will be carriers but none of his sons will be affected. Management is multidisciplinary and involves neurologists, physical therapists, and orthopedic doctors. Treatment may include antiepileptic drugs for seizures, and physical therapy with antispasticity drugs (baclofen, diazepam, tizanidine, botulinum toxin, dantrolene) for spasticity. Regular surveillance is necessary.

Pure SPG2 patients show a normal life expectancy. In complicated SPG2 cases, patients deteriorate neurologically leading to a shorter life expectancy (between the fourth and seventh decade) typically from aspiration pneumonia, pulmonary embolism and other complications of generalized weakness.

Visit the Orphanet disease page for more resources.


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
80%-99% of people have these symptoms
Babinski sign
Increased reflexes
Muscle weakness
Muscular weakness
Spastic gait
Spastic walk
30%-79% of people have these symptoms
Abnormality of extrapyramidal motor function
Bowel incontinence
Loss of bowel control
Intellectual disability
Mental deficiency
Mental retardation
Mental retardation, nonspecific

[ more ]

Optic atrophy
Spastic/hyperactive bladder
5%-29% of people have these symptoms
Difficulty articulating speech
Limitation of joint mobility
Decreased joint mobility
Decreased mobility of joints
Limited joint mobility
Limited joint motion

[ more ]

Involuntary, rapid, rhythmic eye movements
Pulmonary embolism
Blood clot in artery of lung
Recurrent respiratory infections
Frequent respiratory infections
Multiple respiratory infections
respiratory infections, recurrent
Susceptibility to respiratory infections

[ more ]

Sensory neuropathy
Damage to nerves that sense feeling
Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Abnormal cerebellum morphology
Abnormality of the cerebellum
Cerebellar abnormalities
Cerebellar abnormality
Cerebellar anomaly

[ more ]

Degeneration of the lateral corticospinal tracts
Lack of coordination of movement
Flexion contracture
Flexed joint that cannot be straightened
Juvenile onset
Signs and symptoms begin before 15 years of age
Lower limb muscle weakness
Lower extremity weakness
Lower limb weakness
Muscle weakness in lower limbs

[ more ]

Lower limb spasticity
Pes cavus
High-arched foot
Skeletal muscle atrophy
Muscle degeneration
Muscle wasting

[ more ]

Spastic paraparesis
Spastic paraplegia
Spinocerebellar tract degeneration
X-linked recessive inheritance


Making a diagnosis for a genetic or rare disease can often be challenging. Healthcare professionals typically look at a person’s medical history, symptoms, physical exam, and laboratory test results in order to make a diagnosis. The following resources provide information relating to diagnosis and testing for this condition. If you have questions about getting a diagnosis, you should contact a healthcare professional.

Testing Resources

  • The Genetic Testing Registry (GTR) provides information about the genetic tests for this condition. The intended audience for the GTR is health care providers and researchers. Patients and consumers with specific questions about a genetic test should contact a health care provider or a genetics professional.


    Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

    Organizations Supporting this Disease

      Social Networking Websites

      • RareConnect is an online social network for patients and families to connect with one another and share their experience living with a rare disease. The project is a joint collaboration between EURORDIS (European Rare Disease Organisation) and NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders). Click on the link above to view the community for Hereditary spastic paraplegia.

        Learn more

        These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

        In-Depth Information

        • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
        • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
        • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
        • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Spastic paraplegia 2. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.