Phenotypic heterogeneity in a SOD1 G93D Italian ALS family: an example of human model to study a complex disease.
ABSTRACT We report different clinical expression in seven members of a large family with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the G93D mutation in exon 4 of the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene. The ALS clinical course in the proband showed an unusually fast progression of the disease compared to the paucisymptomatic presentation associated to this mutation in the two previously Italian families described. The remaining mutation carriers did not show the aggressive clinical course displayed by the proband. We selected few genes known to be ALS modifiers searching for genetic variants that could explain the wide phenotypic diversity within the family. Exclusion of causative genes such as TDP43, FUS, PGRN and VAPB was performed too. We believe that this kind of family with contrasting phenotypes of ALS may be considered an excellent human model to study the relationship between a wider genetic profile, including modifier genes, and the clinical expression of the disease. Therefore, the novelty of our approach is also represented by the study of a single family to reproduce a composite structure in which search for possible modifier genes/genetic variants linked to SOD1 mutated.
SourceAvailable from: Luca Diamanti03/2015;
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ABSTRACT: The occurrence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) during pregnancy is uncommon and the effect of one on the other is not well described. The clinical and genetic features of five cases of ALS are reported with an onset during pregnancy or within 1 month from delivery. Charts from 239 women with a diagnosis of ALS attending the neuromuscular clinics at the Neuromuscular Omnicentre (NEMO) and at IRCCS Policlinico San Donato from 2008 to 2011 were reviewed. Of these, 12.8% of the women in child-bearing age had a diagnosis of ALS during pregnancy or immediately after delivery. Genetic screening of the major causative genes revealed two mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene; the analysis of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) promoter variation showed a segregation of the haplotype CA/AG (-2578C/A; -1190A/G) in patients developing ALS related to pregnancy. No effects on foetal development or neonatal course were observed. Pregnancy may unmask ALS but whether this is coincidental is unclear. Hormonal and inflammatory modifications might trigger ALS in subjects with increased susceptibility to oxidative stress related to the toxic function of SOD1 or in subjects with a reduction of neuroprotective molecules such as VEGF.European Journal of Neurology 01/2014; 21(4). DOI:10.1111/ene.12345 · 3.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Classic textbook neurology teaches that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a degenerative disease that selectively affects upper and lower motor neurons and is fatal 3-5 years after onset-a description which suggests that the clinical presentation of ALS is very homogenous. However, clinical and postmortem observations, as well as genetic studies, demonstrate that there is considerable variability in the phenotypic expression of ALS. Here, we review the phenotypic variability of ALS and how it is reflected in familial and sporadic ALS, in the degree of upper and lower motor neuron involvement, in motor and extramotor involvement, and in the spectrum of ALS and frontotemporal dementia. Furthermore, we discuss some unusual clinical characteristics regarding presentation, age at onset and disease progression. Finally, we address the importance of this variability for understanding the pathogenesis of ALS and for the development of therapeutic strategies.Nature Reviews Neurology 10/2014; 10(11). DOI:10.1038/nrneurol.2014.184 · 14.10 Impact Factor