M Danielle Fallin

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

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Publications (4)31.43 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondria contribute to the dynamics of cellular metabolism, the production of reactive oxygen species, and apoptotic pathways. Consequently, mitochondrial function has been hypothesized to influence functional decline and vulnerability to disease in later life. Mitochondrial genetic variation may contribute to altered susceptibility to the frailty syndrome in older adults. To assess potential mitochondrial genetic contributions to the likelihood of frailty, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation was compared in frail and non-frail older adults. Associations of selected SNPs with a muscle strength phenotype were also explored. Participants were selected from the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), a population-based observational study (1989-1990, 1992-1993). At baseline, frailty was identified as the presence of three or more of five indicators (weakness, slowness, shrinking, low physical activity, and exhaustion). mtDNA variation was assessed in a pilot study, including 315 individuals selected as extremes of the frailty phenotype, using an oligonucleotide sequencing microarray based on the Revised Cambridge Reference Sequence. Three mtDNA SNPs were statistically significantly associated with frailty across all pilot participants or in sex-stratified comparisons: mt146, mt204, and mt228. In addition to pilot participants, 4,459 additional men and women with frailty classifications, and an overlapping subset of 4,453 individuals with grip strength measurements, were included in the study population genotyped at mt204 and mt228. In the study population, the mt204 C allele was associated with greater likelihood of frailty (adjusted odds ratio = 2.04, 95% CI = 1.07-3.60, p = 0.020) and lower grip strength (adjusted coefficient = -2.04, 95% CI = -3.33- -0.74, p = 0.002). This study supports a role for mitochondrial genetic variation in the frailty syndrome and later life muscle strength, demonstrating the importance of the mitochondrial genome in complex geriatric phenotypes.
    PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(6):e11069. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We previously reported strong genetic linkage on chromosome 14q to Alzheimer's disease (AD) using the presence of co-morbid hallucinations as a covariate. Those results suggested the presence of a gene increasing the risk for a genetically homogeneous form of AD characterized by the absence of comorbid hallucinations. Here we report our follow up of that study through the analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in five functional candidate genes. This work provides significant evidence of association for the gene coding for neuroglobin (NGB), a nervous system globin known to protect cells against amyloid toxicity and to attenuate the AD phenotype of transgenic mice. On further experiments we found that NGB expression is reduced with increasing age and lower in women consistent with their increased risk. NGB expression is up-regulated in the temporal lobe of AD patients consistent with a response to the disease process, as reported for NGB and hypoxia. We speculate that a compromised response due to DNA variation might increase the risk for AD. Our and others' data strongly support the involvement of NGB in AD.
    Neurobiology of aging 12/2008; 31(11):1835-42. · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Loss of imprinting (LOI) of the IGF2 gene (which encodes insulin-like growth factor II) is the most common genetic or epigenetic alteration in Wilms tumor; LOI involves aberrant activation of the normally repressed maternally inherited allele. We found previously that LOI of IGF2 occurs in approximately half of all Wilms tumors (i.e., those arising from lineage-committed nephrogenic progenitor cells). We investigated whether LOI of IGF2 is associated with relaxation of imprinting at loci other than IGF2 or with widespread alterations in DNA methylation. We stratified 59 Wilms tumor samples by IGF2 LOI status by use of hot-stop reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and/or methylation analysis of the differentially methylated region of the H19 gene and identified 31 samples with and 28 without LOI. We used quantitative allele-specific expression analysis to determine whether six other imprinted genes (i.e., H19, KCNQ1, LIT1, TSSC5, GRB10, and MEG3) had subtle LOI. No statistically significant difference in allele-specific expression between Wilms tumor with or without LOI was found for LIT1, TSSC5, GRB10, and MEG3. For the KCNQ1 gene there was a slight difference between the groups with (37.0%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 31.8% to 42.2%) and without (27.7%, 95% CI = 21.8% to 33.5%) LOI (P = .02 for F test of group differences in a mixed-effects model). For H19, we also found a slight difference between the groups with (7.5%, 95% CI = 2.4% to 12.7%) and without (2.2%, 95% CI = -3.2% to 7.6%) LOI of IGF2 (P = .15 for F test). In 27 tumor samples, we also used a microarray technique to analyze methylation of 378 genes, 38 of which were suspected or confirmed imprinted genes. We found that statistically significant alterations in only the differentially methylated region of the H19 gene were associated with LOI of IGF2. Thus, epigenetic alterations in Wilms tumors are not widespread, supporting the gene and lineage specificity of LOI of IGF2.
    CancerSpectrum Knowledge Environment 09/2007; 99(16):1270-3. · 14.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder of late life with complex inheritance. Mutations in three known genes lead to the rare early-onset autosomal dominant form of AD, while a common polymorphism (epsilon 4) in the gene encoding apolipoprotein E (APOE ) is a risk factor for more typical late-onset (>60 years) AD. A recent study concluded that there are up to four additional genes with an equal or greater contribution to the disease. We performed a 9 cM genome screen of 437 families with AD, the full National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) sample, which has been carefully ascertained, evaluated and followed by our group over the last decade. Performing standard parametric and non-parametric linkage analyses, we observed a 'highly significant' linkage peak by Lander and Kruglyak criteria on chromosome 19q13, which probably represents APOE. Twelve additional locations-on 1q23, 3p26, 4q32, 5p14, 6p21, 6q27, 9q22, 10q24, 11q25, 14q22, 15q26 and 21q22-met criteria for 'suggestive' linkage [i.e. two-point lod score (TLS) >/=1.9 and/or multipoint lod score (MLS) >/=2.2] in at least one of our analyses. Although some of these will surely prove to be false positives, these linkage signals should provide a valuable framework for future studies aimed at identifying additional susceptibility genes for late-onset AD.
    Human Molecular Genetics 01/2003; 12(1):23-32. · 7.69 Impact Factor