Neurological impairment in nephropathic cystinosis: motor coordination deficits
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Neurological impairment in nephropathic cystinosis: motor coordination deficits

  • Author(s): Trauner, Doris A.
  • Williams, Jennifer
  • Ballantyne, Angela O.
  • Spilkin, Amy M.
  • Crowhurst, Jennifer
  • Hesselink, John
  • et al.

Nephropathic cystinosis is a rare genetic metabolic disorder that results in accumulation of the amino acid cystine in lysosomes due to lack of a cystine-specific transporter protein. Cystine accumulates in cells throughout the body and causes progressive damage to multiple organs, including the brain. Neuromotor deficits have been qualitatively described in individuals with cystinosis. This study quantitatively examined fine-motor coordination in individuals with cystinosis. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were also performed to determine whether structural changes were associated with motor deficits. Participants were 52 children and adolescents with infantile nephropathic cystinosis and 49 controls, ages 2–17 years, divided into preacademic and school-age groups. Results indicated that both the preacademic and school-age cystinosis groups performed significantly more poorly than their matched control groups on the Motor Coordination Test. Further, the level of performance was not significantly different between the preacademic and school-age groups. There were no significant differences in motor coordination scores based on MRI findings. This is the first study to document a persistent, nonprogressive, fine-motor coordination deficit in children and adolescents with cystinosis. The fact that these difficulties are present in the preschool years lends further support to the theory that cystinosis adversely affects neurological functioning early in development. The absence of a relationship between brain structural changes and motor function suggests that an alternative cause for motor dysfunction must be at work in this disorder.

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