[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder caused by mutations of the SMN1 gene. Based on severity, three forms of SMA are recognized (types I-III). All patients usually have 2-4 copies of a highly homologous gene (SMN2), which produces insufficient levels of functional survival motor neuron (SMN) protein due to the alternative splicing of exon 7. The availability of potential candidates to the treatment of SMA has raised a number of issues, including the availability of biomarkers. This study was aimed at evaluating whether the quantification of SMN2 products in peripheral blood is a suitable biomarker for SMA. Forty-five adult type III patients were evaluated by Manual Muscle Testing, North Star Ambulatory Assessment scale, 6-min walk test, myometry, forced vital capacity, and dual X-ray absorptiometry. Molecular assessments included SMN2 copy number, levels of full-length SMN2 (SMN2-fl) transcripts and those lacking exon 7 and SMN protein. Clinical outcome measures strongly correlated to each other. Lean body mass correlated inversely with years from diagnosis and with several aspects of motor performance. SMN2 copy number and SMN protein levels were not associated with motor performance or transcript levels. SMN2-fl levels correlated with motor performance in ambulant patients. Our results indicate that SMN2-fl levels correlate with motor performance only in patients preserving higher levels of motor function, whereas motor performance was strongly influenced by disease duration and lean body mass. If not taken into account, the confounding effect of disease duration may impair the identification of potential SMA biomarkers.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 17 October 2012; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.233.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 10/2012; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC) is a rare, severe neurodevelopmental syndrome characterized by recurrent hemiplegic episodes and distinct neurological manifestations. AHC is usually a sporadic disorder and has unknown etiology. We used exome sequencing of seven patients with AHC and their unaffected parents to identify de novo nonsynonymous mutations in ATP1A3 in all seven individuals. In a subsequent sequence analysis of ATP1A3 in 98 other patients with AHC, we found that ATP1A3 mutations were likely to be responsible for at least 74% of the cases; we also identified one inherited mutation in a case of familial AHC. Notably, most AHC cases are caused by one of seven recurrent ATP1A3 mutations, one of which was observed in 36 patients. Unlike ATP1A3 mutations that cause rapid-onset dystonia-parkinsonism, AHC-causing mutations in this gene caused consistent reductions in ATPase activity without affecting the level of protein expression. This work identifies de novo ATP1A3 mutations as the primary cause of AHC and offers insight into disease pathophysiology by expanding the spectrum of phenotypes associated with mutations in ATP1A3.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disorder caused by mutations of the SMN1 gene. Based on severity, three forms of SMA are recognised (types I-III). All patients usually have 2-4 copies of a highly homologous gene (SMN2) which produces insufficient levels of functional survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. Recently, evidence has been provided that SMN2 expression can be enhanced in vitro by salbutamol, a β2-adrenergic agonist. This compound has also been shown to improve motor function of SMA patients in two different pilot trials.
To evaluate the in vivo molecular efficacy of salbutamol in SMA patients.
Twelve type II-III patients took salbutamol orally for 6 months. SMN2 full length transcript levels were determined in peripheral blood leucocytes by absolute real-time PCR, at baseline and after 3 and 6 months of treatment.
A significant and constant increase in SMN2 full length transcript levels was detected; the response was directly proportional to SMN2 gene copy number.
The data strongly support salbutamol as a candidate for treating SMA, and suggest that SMN2 copy number may predict the molecular response to treatment and may be a useful randomisation parameter in a double blind placebo controlled clinical trial design.
Journal of Medical Genetics 12/2010; 47(12):856-8. · 5.70 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder caused by homozygous mutations of the SMN1 gene. Three forms of SMA are recognized (type I-III) on the basis of clinical severity. All patients have at least one or more (usually 2-4) copies of a highly homologous gene (SMN2), which produces insufficient levels of functional SMN protein, because of alternative splicing of exon 7. Recently, evidence has been provided that SMN2 expression can be enhanced by pharmacological treatment. However, no reliable biomarkers are available to test the molecular efficacy of the treatments. At present, the only potential biomarker is the dosage of SMN products in peripheral blood. However, the demonstration that SMN full-length (SMN-fl) transcript levels are reduced in leukocytes of patients compared with controls remains elusive (except for type I). We have developed a novel assay based on absolute real-time PCR, which allows the quantification of SMN1-fl/SMN2-fl transcripts. For the first time, we have shown that SMN-fl levels are reduced in leukocytes of type II-III patients compared with controls. We also found that transcript levels are related to clinical severity as in type III patients SMN2-fl levels are significantly higher compared with type II and directly correlated with functional ability in type II patients and with age of onset in type III patients. Moreover, in haploidentical siblings with discordant phenotype, the less severely affected individuals showed significantly higher transcript levels. Our study shows that SMN2-fl dosage in leukocytes can be considered a reliable biomarker and can provide the rationale for SMN dosage in clinical trials.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 08/2009; 18(1):52-8. · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies showed that SMN2 copy number correlates inversely with the disease severity. Our aim was to evaluate SMN2 copy numbers and the Hammersmith functional motor scale in 87 patients with SMA II in order to establish whether, within SMAII, the number of copies correlates with the severity of functional impairment. Our results showed a relative variability of functional scores, but a significant correlation between the number of SMN2 genes and the level of function.