Frequency of progranulin mutations in a German cohort of 79 frontotemporal dementia patients

Memory Clinic, Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology Freiburg, University Hospital Freiburg, Lehener Str. 88, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.
Journal of Neurology (Impact Factor: 3.84). 08/2009; 256(12):2043-51. DOI: 10.1007/s00415-009-5248-6
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mutations of the progranulin gene lead to progranulin haploinsufficiency and to frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTD) with TDP-43 positive inclusions. It is assumed that unknown genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors are responsible for the observed marked degree of phenotypic variability among mutation carriers. This is the first published series of German FTD cases screened for progranulin mutations. Mean age at onset was 62 years, 19 patients (24%) had a positive family history of dementia, and 11 patients (14%) had a positive family history for probable FTD. Data on FTD subtypes are presented. Two mutations were identified (3%), one of which has been described previously. Clinically, both patients showed the frontal-behavioural variant type of FTD. Remarkably, a sibling of one case presented with progressive nonfluent aphasia, clinically distinct from the brother. We also performed quantitative PCR analyses to detect potential whole progranulin gene and exon deletions. Here, results were negative.

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    ABSTRACT: Progranulin is a growth factor involved in the regulation of multiple processes including tumorigenesis, wound repair, development, and inflammation. The recent discovery that mutations in the gene encoding for progranulin (GRN) cause frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), and other neurodegenerative diseases leading to dementia, has brought renewed interest in progranulin and its functions in the central nervous system. GRN null mutations cause protein haploinsufficiency, leading to a significant decrease in progranulin levels that can be detected in plasma, serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of mutation carriers. The dosage of circulating progranulin sped up the identification of GRN mutations thus favoring genotype-phenotype correlation studies. Researchers demonstrated that, in GRN null mutation carriers, the shortage of progranulin invariably precedes clinical symptoms and thus mutation carriers are "captured" regardless of their disease status. GRN is a particularly appealing gene for drug targeting, in the way that boosting its expression may be beneficial for mutation carriers, preventing or delaying the onset of GRN-related neurodegenerative diseases. Physiological regulation of progranulin expression level is only partially known. Progranulin expression reflects mutation status and, intriguingly, its levels can be modulated by some additional factor (i.e. genetic background; drugs). Thus, factors increasing the production and secretion of progranulin from the normal gene are promising potential therapeutic avenues. In conclusion, peripheral progranulin is a nonintrusive highly accurate biomarker for early identification of mutation carriers and for monitoring future treatments that might boost the level of this protein.
    01/2012; 1(2):180-90.
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    ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration is the second most common form of cortical dementia in the presenium after Alzheimer’s disease. Clinically, based on consensus guidelines, three distinct disease entities can be distinguished: frontotemporal dementia, semantic dementia and progressive nonfluent aphasia. Dementia of frontal type and motor neuron disease inclusion dementia are the most frequent neuropathological subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. By using immunohistochemistry, the latter is characterized by the presence of filamentous ubiquitin-reactive but tau-negative inclusions in nerve cell bodies and neurites. In contrast, Pick‘s disease and familial frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17) are both characterized by abundant filamentous nerve cell inclusions made up of the microtubule-associated protein tau. The recent discovery of more than 15 different mutations in the tau gene in FTDP-17 brought the tau protein to the centre stage. These findings had a major impact on our understanding of neurodegenerative disorders characterized by tau filamentous inclusions in neurones and/or glial cells which are grouped under the generic term of tauopathies. However, as exciting these new molecular insights are, it would be inappropriate to lump frontotemporal lobar degeneration as tauopathies. Recent neuropathological and genetic data strongly suggest that there is more than one genetic background for frontotemporal lobar degeneration.
    Advanced Understanding of Neurodegenerative Diseases, 12/2011; , ISBN: 978-953-307-529-7
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the progranulin gene (GRN) were first implicated in frontotemporal lobar degeneration in 2006. The GRN p.Leu271LeufsX10 mutation is one of the most common GRN mutations worldwide. To gain further insight into the origin of this mutation in Italy, we performed a haplotype sharing analysis (32 families, residents of Lombardy) and refined the GRN p.Leu271LeufsX10 mutation dating. We showed that almost all families (30/32) can be traced to a single founder. We further estimated the age of this mutation using different methods and population growth rates both for Italy and Lombardy. Using DMLE, we dated the origin of this mutation to the Middle Ages, at the turn of the first millennium (phased families only, Italy: 39 and Lombardy: 32 generations ago; all families Italy: 45 and Lombardy 38 generations ago). Mutation dating was slightly postdated using Estiage (phased families only: 15 generations ago; all families: 20 generation ago). From a translational perspective, targeting mutation carriers offers a unique model to test disease-modifying drugs in clinical trials.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 08/2012; 33(1). DOI:10.3233/JAD-2012-121306 · 3.61 Impact Factor


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Oct 15, 2014