Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Primary dystonias are movement disorders with dystonia as a major symptom. They are frequently inherited as Mendelian traits. There are at least eight clinically distinct autosomal dominant and two X-linked recessive forms. In addition, pedigree analyses suggest the occurrence of an autosomal recessive variant. The clinical classification is increasingly being replaced by a genetic one. To date gene loci have been identified in at least six autosomal dominant forms, i.e., in idiopathic torsion dystonia (9q34), focal dystonia (18p), adult-onset idiopathic torsion dystonia of mixed type (8p21-q22), dopa-responsive dystonia (14q22.1-q22.2), and paroxysmal dystonic choreoathetosis (2q25-q33; 1p21-p13.3). Gene loci in the X-linked recessive forms have been assigned to Xq13.1 in the X-linked dystonia parkinsonism syndrome and to Xq22 in X-linked sensorineural deafness, dystonia, and mental retardation. The disease genes have been identified in two autosomal dominant forms and in one X-linked recessive form. Mutations in a gene coding for an ATP-binding protein were detected in idiopathic torsion dystonia (DYT1), and the GTP cyclohydrolase 1 gene is mutated in dopa-responsive dystonia (DYT5). In sensorineural deafness, dystonia, and mental retardation, mutations were found in the gene DDP coding for a polypeptide of unknown function. This article reviews the clinical and molecular genetics of primary dystonias, critically discusses present findings, and proposes referring to the known forms, most of which can be distinguished by genetic criteria, as dystonias 1-12.


Journal article



Publication Date





165 - 177


Carrier Proteins, Chromosome Mapping, Dystonia, GTP Cyclohydrolase, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Humans, Molecular Chaperones, Mutation