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    ABSTRACT: Recent reports have shown heterozygosity for some twenty different mutations in the CuZn-superoxide dismutase (CuZn-SOD) gene in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS), and analysed samples from patients have shown decreased enzymic activity. Here we report homozygosity for an exon 4 mutation, Asp90Ala in fourteen patients among four unrelated ALS families and four apparently sporadic ALS patients from Sweden and Finland. The erythrocyte CuZn-SOD activity is essentially normal. Our findings suggest that this CuZn-SOD mutation causes ALS by a gain of function rather than by loss, and that the Asp90Ala mutation is less detrimental than previously reported mutations.
    Nature Genetics 06/1995; 10(1):61-6. · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Five to 10% of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) cases are reported to be familial (FALS), and mutations of SOD1 account for 20% of these cases. However, estimates of SOD1 mutation prevalence have been exclusively based on case series and clinic referral cohorts. To assess the frequency and nature of SOD1 mutations in a large population-based cohort of Italian patients diagnosed with ALS over a 6-year period. All ALS cases incident in Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta, Italy, are collected through a prospective epidemiologic register. Almost all patients with ALS resident in the largest province of Piemonte (Turin) have been evaluated for SOD1 mutations in the 6-year period 2000 through 2005. During the study period, 386 residents of Turin province were diagnosed with ALS (mean crude incidence rate of 2.9/100,000/year). Twenty-two patients (5.7%) had a positive family history of ALS. SOD1 analysis was performed in 325 patients (84.2% of the whole cohort), including all FALS cases. Five patients carried a SOD1 coding mutation, three with a family history of ALS (13.6% of FALS) and two in sporadic cases (0.7% of sporadic ALS). In this population-based series, the frequency of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS) was lower than that reported in series from ALS referral centers. While the frequency of SOD1 mutations in FALS was similar to the data reported in the literature, only 0.7% of sporadic ALS cases had a SOD1 mutation. Our data indicate that studies from referral centers may overestimate the frequency of FALS and of SOD1 mutations in sporadic ALS.
    Neurology 03/2008; 70(7):533-7. · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS), a degenerative disorder of motor neurons, is associated with mutations in the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase gene SOD1 in some affected families. We confirm a recently reported ala4-->val mutation in exon 1 of the SOD1 gene and report that this mutation is both the most commonly detected of all SOD1 mutations and among the most clinically severe. By comparison with our other FALS families, the exon 1 mutation is associated with reduced survival time after onset: 1.2 years, as compared to 2.5 years for all other FALS patients. We also demonstrate that SOD1 is prominently expressed in normal motor neurons and that neural expression of SOD1 is not prevented by this exon 1 mutation. Assays of SOD1 enzymatic activity in extracts from red blood cells, lymphoblastoid cells, and brain tissues revealed an approximately 50% reduction in activity of cytosolic SOD1 in patients with this mutation compared to normal individuals. By contrast, patients with sporadic ALS had normal levels of SOD1 enzymatic activity. Why this SOD1 mutation causes motor neuron death in FALS remains to be established. While it may be that FALS is a consequence of loss of SOD1 function, it is also possible that motor neuron death in this dominantly inherited disease occurs because the mutations confer an additional, cytotoxic function on the SOD1 protein.
    Human Molecular Genetics 06/1994; 3(6):981-7. · 7.69 Impact Factor