Networking Project on Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia


Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) is a rare, slowly progressing disease that characteristically causes patients to have spastic gaits. The HSP project calls for the establishment and execution of a multicentric study on the natural longitudinal course of hereditary spastic paraplegia.

Background and aims

Thanks to progress in genetic techniques, the causes of HSP are being gradually illuminated and are now able to serve as models for more-common degenerative diseases. It affects an average of only 2-4 out of every 100,000 persons, in the course of their lives.


Specialists will examine HSP patients with a view to determining the severity of their cases and systematically documenting any additional symptoms. The research is aimed especially at identifying new genetic causes of HSP. Special analyses of fat metabolism will help identify underlying disease mechanisms of some subforms of the disease.

Course of the study

Cranial and spinal images will be made with MRI scans, using a standardized procedure, and the nerve conduction velocities in study participants'  spinal cords, and arms and legs, will be determined.

In cases in which no genetic causes have been identified, genetic testing for all known HSP genes will be carried out. In family groups in which the causes of the disease remain unclear, a search for new HSP genes will be conducted, entailing sequencing of all gene regions that encode information for human-protein formation.

For study of fat metabolism, blood samples – and, in some cases, spinal fluid samples – will be analyzed for special fat components that are found in nerve sheaths or that play important roles in metabolic processes in the brain and the spinal cord.

Principle Investigator: Prof. Dr. Ludger Schöls

Study Coordination / Project management

Dr. Rebecca Schuele-Freyer
 +49 7071 29-82057

Participating sites


Local principle investigator:

Prof. Dr. Thomas Klockgether
Local contact: 
+49 228 287-15726


Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg
- Universitätsklinik für Neurologie 
Local principle investigator:
Prof. Dr. Stefan Vielhaber
Local contact:
+ 49 391 672-4600


Friedrich-Baur-Institut an der Neurologischen Klinik

Local principle investigator: 
Prof. Dr. Thomas Klopstock
Local contactt: 
+49 89 4400-57400


Universitätsmedidzin Rostock
- Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurologie
Local principle investigator:
PD Dr. Christoph Kamm
Local contact:
+49 381 494-4763


Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
- Zentrum für Neurologie, Abteilung Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen
Local principle investigator: 
Prof. Dr. Ludger Schöls
Local contact:
+49 7071 298-6529


Thursdays 1:30-4:30 pm

Patients +49 800-7799001

(free of charge)

Professionals +49 180-779900

(9 Cent/Min. German landline, mobile and out of Germany possibly more expensive)

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