Treatment implications of C9ORF72

University of California, San Francisco, Memory and Aging Center, Box 1207, San Francisco, CA 94143-1207, USA. .
Alzheimer's Research and Therapy (Impact Factor: 3.98). 11/2012; 4(6):46. DOI: 10.1186/alzrt149
Source: PubMed


Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a common dementia syndrome in patients under the age of 65 years with many features overlapping with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The link between FTD and ALS has been strengthened by the discovery that a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in a non-coding region of the C9ORF72 gene causes both familial and sporadic types of these two diseases. As we begin to understand the pathophysiological mechanisms by which this mutation leads to FTD and ALS (c9FTD/ALS), new targets for disease-modifying therapies will likely be unveiled. Putative C9ORF72 expansion pathogenic mechanisms include loss of C9ORF72 protein function, sequestration of nucleic acid binding proteins due to expanded hexanucleotide repeats, or a combination of the two. New animal models and other research tools informed by work in other repeat expansion neurodegenerative diseases such as the spinocerebellar ataxias will help to elucidate the mechanisms of C9ORF72-mediated disease. Similarly, re-examining previous studies of drugs developed to treat ALS in light of this new mutation may identify novel FTD treatments. Ultimately, research consortiums incorporating animal models and well-characterized clinical populations will be necessary to fully understand the natural history of the c9FTD/ALS clinical phenotypes and identify biomarkers and therapeutic agents that can cure the most common form of genetically determined FTD and ALS.

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Available from: Sharon J Sha, Jun 10, 2015
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    • "As previously reported, the C9orf72 mutation accounts for 23.5–47% of familial ALS/FTD and 4.1–21.0% of sporadic ALS in white populations (Dejesus-Hernandez et al., 2011; Renton et al., 2011; Gijselinck et al., 2012). The pathogenic mechanism of repeat expansions primarily includes interference with the normal expression of the encoded protein or the loss of protein function through the generation of abnormal toxic RNA foci that disrupt normal cellular pathways (Renton et al., 2011; Sha and Boxer, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: GGGGCC repeat expansions in the C9orf72 gene have been identified as a major contributing factor in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Given the overlapping of clinical phenotypes and pathological characteristics between these two diseases and Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and essential tremor (ET), we speculated regarding whether C9orf72 repeat expansions also play a major role in these three diseases. Using the repeat-primed polymerase chain reaction method, we screened for C9orf72 in three groups of patients with PD (n = 911), AD (n = 279), and ET (n = 152) in the Chinese Han population. There were no pathogenic repeats (>30 repeats) detected in either the patients or controls (n = 314), which indicated that the pathogenic expansions of C9orf72 might be rare in these three diseases. However, the analysis of the association between the number of repeats (p = 0.001), short/intermediate genotype (short: <7 repeats; intermediate: ≥7 repeats) (odds ratio 1.37 [1.05, 1.79]), intermediate/intermediate genotype (Odds ratio 2.03 [1.17, 3.54]), and PD risks indicated that intermediate repeat alleles could act as contributors to PD. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to reveal the correlation between C9orf72 and Chinese PD, AD, or ET patients. Additionally, the results of this study suggest the novel idea that the intermediate repeat allele in C9orf72 is most likely a risk factor for PD.
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    ABSTRACT: The clinical, neuropsychiatric and neuroimaging features of patients who carry the important new C9ORF72 mutation are discussed in this special series of Alzheimer's Research & Therapy. First reported in November 2011, the C9ORF72 mutation is the most common mutation associated with both frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in the Western hemisphere and Europe. It is a gene with strong penetrance, and the vast majority of subjects with the C9ORF72 mutation die from a neurodegenerative condition. The most common clinical manifestation of disease in gene carriers is behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia. An extremely long hexanucleotide repeat (usually greater than 400), appears to lead to ribonucleic acid aggregates within the nucleus and suppression of gene expression. Finding therapies for C9ORF72 will be difficult and require novel therapeutic approaches that involve suppression of the expression of the C9ORF72 repeat.
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