Maria Antonietta Secci

Università degli studi di Cagliari, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

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Publications (3)8.88 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Vitamin D response elements (VDREs) have been found in the promoter region of the MS-associated allele HLA-DRB1*15:01, suggesting that with low vitamin D availability VDREs are incapable of inducing *15:01 expression allowing in early life autoreactive T-cells to escape central thymic deletion. The Italian island of Sardinia exhibits a very high frequency of MS and high solar radiation exposure. We test the contribution of VDREs analysing the promoter region of the MS-associated DRB1 *04:05, *03:01, *13:01 and *15:01 and non-MS-associated *16:01, *01, *11, *07:01 alleles in a cohort of Sardinians (44 MS patients and 112 healthy subjects). Sequencing of the DRB1 promoter region revealed a homozygous canonical VDRE in all *15:01, *16:01, *11 and in 45/73 *03:01 and in heterozygous state in 28/73 *03:01 and all *01 alleles. A new mutated homozygous VDRE was found in all *13:03, *04:05 and *07:01 alleles. Functionality of mutated and canonical VDREs was assessed for its potential to modulate levels of DRB1 gene expression using an in vitro transactivation assay after stimulation with active vitamin D metabolite. Vitamin D failed to increase promoter activity of the *04:05 and *03:01 alleles carrying the new mutated VDRE, while the *16:01 and *03:01 alleles carrying the canonical VDRE sequence showed significantly increased transcriptional activity. The ability of VDR to bind the mutant VDRE in the DRB1 promoter was evaluated by EMSA. Efficient binding of VDR to the VDRE sequence found in the *16:01 and in the *15:01 allele reduced electrophoretic mobility when either an anti-VDR or an anti-RXR monoclonal antibody was added. Conversely, the Sardinian mutated VDRE sample showed very low affinity for the RXR/VDR heterodimer. These data seem to exclude a role of VDREs in the promoter region of the DRB1 gene in susceptibility to MS carried by DRB1* alleles in Sardinian patients.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e41678. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Mediterranean island of Sardinia has a strikingly high incidence of the autoimmune disorders Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Furthermore, the two diseases tend to be co-inherited in the same individuals and in the same families. These observations suggest that some unknown autoimmunity variant with relevant effect size could be fairly common in this founder population and could be detected using linkage analysis. To search for T1D and MS loci as well as any that predispose to both diseases, we performed a whole genome linkage scan, sequentially genotyping 593 microsatellite marker loci in 954 individuals distributed in 175 Sardinian families. In total, 413 patients were studied; 285 with T1D, 116 with MS and 12 with both disorders. Model-free linkage analysis was performed on the genotyped samples using the Kong and Cox logarithm of odds (LOD) score statistic. In T1D, aside from the HLA locus, we found four regions showing a lod-score > or =1; 1p31.1, 6q26, 10q21.2 and 22q11.22. In MS we found three regions showing a lod-score > or =1; 1q42.2, 18p11.21 and 20p12.3. In the combined T1D-MS scan for shared autoimmunity loci, four regions showed a LOD >1, including 6q26, 10q21.2, 20p12.3 and 22q11.22. When we typed more markers in these intervals we obtained suggestive evidence of linkage in the T1D scan at 10q21.2 (LOD = 2.1), in the MS scan at 1q42.2 (LOD = 2.5) and at 18p11.22 (LOD = 2.6). When all T1D and MS families were analysed jointly we obtained suggestive evidence in two regions: at 10q21.1 (LOD score = 2.3) and at 20p12.3 (LOD score = 2.5). This suggestive evidence of linkage with T1D, MS and both diseases indicates critical chromosome intervals to be followed up in downstream association studies.
    BMC Medical Genetics 02/2008; 9:3. · 2.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is consistently associated with particular HLA-DRB1-DQB1 haplotypes. However, existing evidence suggests that variation at these loci does not entirely explain association of the HLA region with the disease. The MOG locus is a prime positional and functional candidate for such additional predisposing effects but the analysis is complicated by the strong, albeit labyrinthine pattern of linkage disequilibrium in the region. Here we have assessed the association of MOG variation with MS in the Sardinian population to see if it represents an independent contributor to MS predisposition. After re-sequencing the MOG gene in 21 healthy parents of MS patients we detected 134 variants, 33 of which were novel. A set of 40 informative SNPs was then selected and assessed for disease association together with 1 intragenic microsatellite in an initial data set of 239 MS families. This microsatellite and 11 SNPs were found to be positively associated with MS, using the transmission disequilibrium test, and were followed up in an additional 158 families (total families analysed = 397). While in these 397 families, 8 markers showed significant association with MS, through conditional tests we determined that these MOG variants were not associated with MS independently of the main DRB1-DQB1 disease associations. These results indicate that variation within the MOG gene is not an important independent determinant of MS-inherited risk in the Sardinian population.
    BMC Genetics 02/2007; 8:25. · 2.81 Impact Factor