Dementia has an enormous impact on medical and financial resources in aging societies like Japan. Diagnosis of dementia can be made by physical and mental examinations, imaging tests, and findings of high abnormal proteins in cerebrospinal fluids. In addition, genetic tests can be
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Dementia has an enormous impact on medical and financial resources in aging societies like Japan. Diagnosis of dementia can be made by physical and mental examinations, imaging tests, and findings of high abnormal proteins in cerebrospinal fluids. In addition, genetic tests can be performed in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and Parkinson’s disease (PD). In this case series, we presented three cases of dementia with unknown causes who carry novel variants in the genes associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Three patients (Patients 1, 2, and 6) were found by screening 18 dementia patients using a gene panel including 63 genes. The age of onset for Patient 1 was 74 years old, and his father had PD and mother had AD. The age of onset for Patient 2 was 75 years old, and her mother had AD. The age of onset for Patient 6 was 83 years old, and her father, two sisters, and daughter had dementia. The Mini-Mental State Examination produced results of 20, 15, and 22, respectively. The suspected diagnosis by neurological examinations and imaging studies for Patients 1 and 2 was AD, and for Patient 6 was FTD. Patient 1 was treated with donepezil; Patient 2 was treated with donepezil and memantine; and Patient 6 was treated with donepezil, galantamine, and rivastigmine. The three rare variants identified were: CLCN1
, encoding a chloride channel, c.2848G>A:p.Glu950Lys (Patient 1); RYR2
, encoding a calcium releasing ryanodine receptor, c.13175A>G:p.Lys4392Arg (Patient 2); and DCTN1
, encoding a subunit of dynactin, c. 3209G>A:p.Arg1070Gln (Patient 6). The detected variants were interpreted according to the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) guidelines. The minor allele frequency for each variant was 0.025%, 0.023%, and 0.0004% in East Asians, respectively. The DCTN1
variant found in Patient 6 might be associated with FTD. Although none of them were previously reported in dementia patients, all variants were classified as variants of unknown significance (VUS). Our report suggests that results of genetic tests in elderly patients with dementia need to be carefully interpreted. Further data accumulation of genotype–phenotype relationships and development of appropriate functional models are warranted.