Stuart Pickering-Brown

The University of Manchester, Manchester, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (108)742.37 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are considered to be part of a disease spectrum. However, with the exception of C9orf72, genes that cause ALS are rarely found to cause FTD and vice versa. To investigate this further, we have sequenced the ALS gene UBQLN2 in our FTD cohort and have found a single putative mutation. This further supports the concept that ALS genes are a rare cause of FTD.
    Neurobiology of aging. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical and neuropathological similarities between Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB), ParkinsonÕs and AlzheimerÕs diseases (PD and AD, respectively) suggest that these disorders may share etiology. To test this hypothesis we have performed an association study of 54 genomic regions, previously implicated in PD or AD, in a large cohort of DLB cases and controls. The cohort comprised 788 DLB cases and 2624 controls. To minimize the issue of potential misdiagnosis, we have also performed the analysis including only neuropathologically proven DLB cases (667 cases). Results show that the APOE is a strong genetic risk factor for DLB, confirming previous findings, and that the SNCA and SCARB2 loci are also associated after study-wise Bonferroni correction, although these have a different association profile than the associations reported for the same loci in PD. We have previously shown that the p.N370S variant in GBA is associated with DLB, which, together with the findings at the SCARB2 locus, suggests a role for lysosomal dysfunction in this disease. These results indicate that DLB has a unique genetic risk profile when compared to the two most common neurodegenerative diseases and that the lysosome may play an important role in the etiology of this disorder. We make all these data available.
    Human Molecular Genetics 06/2014; · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A hexanucleotide (GGGGCC) expansion in C9ORF72 gene is the most common genetic change seen in familial Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) and familial Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Pathologically, expansion bearers show characteristic p62 positive, TDP-43 negative inclusion bodies within cerebellar and hippocampal neurons which also contain dipeptide repeat proteins (DPR) formed from sense and antisense RAN (repeat associated non ATG-initiated) translation of the expanded repeat region itself. 'Inappropriate' formation, and aggregation, of DPR might therefore confer neurotoxicity and influence clinical phenotype. Consequently, we compared the topographic brain distribution of DPR in 8 patients with Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), 6 with FTD + MND and 7 with MND alone (all 21 patients bearing expansions in C9ORF72) using a polyclonal antibody to poly-GA, and related this to the extent of TDP-43 pathology in key regions of cerebral cortex and hippocampus. There were no significant differences in either the pattern or severity of brain distribution of DPR between FTD, FTD + MND and MND groups, nor was there any relationship between the distribution of DPR and TDP-43 pathologies in expansion bearers. Likewise, there were no significant differences in the extent of TDP-43 pathology between FTLD patients bearing an expansion in C9ORF72 and non-bearers of the expansion. There were no association between the extent of DPR pathology and TMEM106B or APOE genotypes. However, there was a negative correlation between the extent of DPR pathology and age at onset. Present findings therefore suggest that although the presence and topographic distribution of DPR may be of diagnostic relevance in patients bearing expansion in C9ORF72 this has no bearing on the determination of clinical phenotype. Because TDP-43 pathologies are similar in bearers and non-bearers of the expansion, the expansion may act as a major genetic risk factor for FTLD and MND by rendering the brain highly vulnerable to those very same factors which generate FTLD and MND in sporadic disease.
    Acta neuropathologica communications. 06/2014; 2(1):70.
  • Janis Bennion Callister, Stuart M Pickering-Brown
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    ABSTRACT: One of the most interesting findings in the field of neurodegeneration in recent years is tfche discovery of a genetic mutation in the C9orf72 gene, the most common mutation found to be causative of sporadic and familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and concomitant FTD-ALS (DeJesus-Hernandez et al., 2011b; Renton et al., 2011). While clinical and molecular data, such as the identification of TDP-43 being a common pathological protein (Neumann et al., 2006) have hinted at such a link for years, the identification of what was formally known as "the chromosome 9 FTLD-ALS gene" has provided a foundation for better understanding of the relationship between the two. Indeed, it is now recognized that ALS and FTLD-TDP represent a disease spectrum. In this review, we will discuss the current genetic and pathological features of the FTLD-ALS spectrum.
    Experimental neurology. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is clinically and pathologically heterogeneous. Although associated with variations in MAPT, GRN and C9ORF72, the pathogenesis of these, and of other non-genetic, forms of FTLD, remains unknown. Epigenetic factors such as histone regulation by histone deacetylases (HDAC) may play a role in the dysregulation of transcriptional activity, thought to underpin the neurodegenerative process.
    Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology 05/2014; · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) is classified mainly into FTLD-tau and FTLD-TDP according to the protein present within inclusion bodies. While such a classification implies only a single type of protein should be present, recent studies have demonstrated dual tau and TDP-43 proteinopathy can occur, particularly in inherited FTLD.
    Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology 05/2014; · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dystonia is a common movement disorder. A number of monogenic causes have been identified. However, the majority of dystonia cases are not explained by single gene defects. Cervical dystonia is one of the commonest forms without genetic causes identified. This pilot study aimed to identify large effect-size risk loci in cervical dystonia. A genomewide association study (GWAS) was performed. British resident cervical dystonia patients of European descent were genotyped using the Illumina-610-Quad. Comparison was made with controls of European descent from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium using logistic regression algorithm from PLINK. SNPs not genotyped by the array were imputed with 1000 Genomes Project data using the MaCH algorithm and minimac. Postimputation analysis was done with the mach2dat algorithm using a logistic regression model. After quality control measures, 212 cases were compared with 5173 controls. No single SNP passed the genomewide significant level of 5 × 10(-8) in the analysis of genotyped SNP in PLINK. Postimputation, there were 5 clusters of SNPs that had P value <5 × 10(-6) , and the best cluster of SNPs was found near exon 1 of NALCN, (sodium leak channel) with P = 9.76 × 10(-7) . Several potential regions were found in the GWAS and imputation analysis. The lowest P value was found in NALCN. Dysfunction of this ion channel is a plausible cause for dystonia. Further replication in another cohort is needed to confirm this finding. We make this data publicly available to encourage further analyses of this disorder. © 2013 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
    Movement Disorders 11/2013; · 5.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pathological heterogeneity within patients with Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) in general precludes the accurate assignment of diagnostic subtype in life. The aim of this study was to assess the extent of microglial cell activation in FTLD in order to determine whether it might be possible to employ this as a diagnostic marker in vivo using PET ligand [11C](R)-PK11195 in order to differentiate cases of FTLD according to histological subtype. The distribution and extent of microglial cell activation was assessed semi-quantitatively in cortical grey and subcortical white matter of CD68 immunostained sections of frontal and temporal cortex from 78 pathologically confirmed cases of FTLD, 13 of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and 13 controls. Significantly higher levels of microglial cell activation than controls occurred in all 4 regions in FTLD, and in 3 of the 4 regions in AD. Microglial activation was greater in frontal subcortical white matter in FTLD than AD, whereas it was higher in temporal cortical grey matter in AD than FTLD. Microglial cell activation was significantly higher in temporal subcortical white matter in FTLD-MAPT than in other genetic (GRN, C9ORF72) or non-genetic forms of FTLD. The present study suggests that high levels of microglial cell involvement in temporal lobe (subcortical white matter) might serve as a marker of inherited FTLD associated with intronic mutations in MAPT, with a relatively intense signal in this region in PET studies using [11C](R)-PK11195 as microglial cell marker could indicate the presence of MAPT mutation in vivo.
    Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology 10/2013; · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Cases of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD) and Motor Neurone Disease (MND) associated with expansions in C9ORF72 gene are characterised pathologically by the presence of TDP-43 negative, but p62 positive, inclusions in granule cells of the cerebellum and in cells of dentate gyrus and area CA4 of the hippocampus. Results We screened 84 cases of pathologically confirmed FTLD and 23 cases of MND for the presence of p62 positive inclusions in these three brain regions, and identified 13 positive cases of FTLD and 3 of MND. All cases demonstrated expansions in C9ORF72 by Southern blotting where frozen tissues were available. The p62 positive inclusions in both cerebellum and hippocampus were immunostained by antibodies to dipeptide repeat proteins (DPR), poly Gly-Ala (poly-GA), poly Gly-Pro (poly-GP) and poly Gly-Arg (poly-GR), these arising from a putative non-ATG initiated (RAN) sense translation of the GGGGCC expansion. There was also some slight, but variable, immunostaining with poly-AP antibody implying some antisense translation might also occur, though the relative paucity of immunostaining could reflect poor antigen avidity on the part of the antisense antibodies. Of the FTLD cases with DPR, 6 showed TDP-43 type A and 6 had TDP-43 type B histology; one had FTLD-tau with the pathology of corticobasal degeneration. There were no qualitative or quantitative differences in the pattern of immunostaining with antibodies to DPR, or p62, proteins between TDP-43 type A and type B cases. Ratings for frequency of inclusions immunostained by these poly-GA, poly-GP and poly-GR antibodies broadly correlated with those for immunolabelled by p62 antibody in all three regions. Conclusion We conclude that DPR are a major component of p62 positive inclusions in FTLD and MND.
    Acta Neuropathologica Communications. 10/2013; 1(1).
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE While mutations in glucocerebrosidase (GBA1) are associated with an increased risk for Parkinson disease (PD), it is important to establish whether such mutations are also a common risk factor for other Lewy body disorders. OBJECTIVE To establish whether GBA1 mutations are a risk factor for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). DESIGN We compared genotype data on patients and controls from 11 centers. Data concerning demographics, age at onset, disease duration, and clinical and pathological features were collected when available. We conducted pooled analyses using logistic regression to investigate GBA1 mutation carrier status as predicting DLB or PD with dementia status, using common control subjects as a reference group. Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to account for additional heterogeneity. SETTING Eleven centers from sites around the world performing genotyping. PARTICIPANTS Seven hundred twenty-one cases met diagnostic criteria for DLB and 151 had PD with dementia. We compared these cases with 1962 controls from the same centers matched for age, sex, and ethnicity. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Frequency of GBA1 mutations in cases and controls. RESULTS We found a significant association between GBA1 mutation carrier status and DLB, with an odds ratio of 8.28 (95% CI, 4.78-14.88). The odds ratio for PD with dementia was 6.48 (95% CI, 2.53-15.37). The mean age at diagnosis of DLB was earlier in GBA1 mutation carriers than in noncarriers (63.5 vs 68.9 years; P < .001), with higher disease severity scores. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Mutations in GBA1 are a significant risk factor for DLB. GBA1 mutations likely play an even larger role in the genetic etiology of DLB than in PD, providing insight into the role of glucocerebrosidase in Lewy body disease.
    JAMA neurology. 04/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Repeat expansions in C9orf72 are a major cause of frontotemporal dementia with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FTD-ALS). Not all FTD-ALS patients show expansions. The study examined whether there are clinical differences between FTD-ALS patients with and without expansions in C9orf72. We examined case notes from consecutive FTD-ALS patients, screened for C9orf72 expansions, and documented demographic, neurological, behavioural and cognitive characteristics. Sixty patients met the selection criteria, of whom 11 showed expanded repeats (C9-positive) and 49 did not (C9-negative). A strong male bias was present in the C9-negative group only. A family history of FTD or ALS was recorded in both groups, but was significantly more common in C9-positive cases. Psychotic and irrational behaviours, apathy, disinhibition and loss of empathy were significantly more common in C9-positive cases, with a trend towards more frequent bulbar signs. No differences were found in onset age, presentation (ALS or FTD first), or cognitive changes (language and executive impairments). In conclusion, FTD-ALS is not clinically uniform. Phenotypic differences exist between patients with and without C9orf72 expansions, suggesting that FTD-ALS may be underpinned by distinct neurobiological substrates. The presence of psychiatric symptoms in the context of FTD-ALS should alert clinicians to the possibility of C9orf72 expansions.
    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal degeneration. 02/2013;
  • Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 07/2012; 83(10):1031-2. · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE To determine the genetic basis of an unexplained multisystem neurological disorder affecting 2 siblings. DESIGN Case reports and whole-exome DNA sequencing. SETTING Neurogenetics clinic, Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle upon Tyne, England. PATIENTS Two adult siblings with a sensorimotor neuropathy, ataxia, and spasticity. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Clinical, neurophysiological, imaging, and genetic data. RESULTS Novel compound heterozygous frameshift mutations were detected in the SACS gene of both siblings, predicted to drastically truncate the sacsin protein. CONCLUSIONS Whole-exome sequencing rapidly defined the genetic cause of the disorder, expanding the clinical phenotype associated with SACS mutations to include a severe sensorimotor neuropathy.
    Archives of neurology 07/2012; · 7.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a highly familial neurodegenerative disease. It has recently been shown that the most common genetic cause of FTLD and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72. To investigate whether this expansion was specific to the FTLD/ALS disease spectrum, we genotyped the hexanucleotide repeat region of C9ORF72 in a large cohort of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). A normal range of repeats was found in all cases. We conclude that the hexanucleotide repeat expansion is specific to the FTLD/ALS disease spectrum.
    Neurobiology of aging 03/2012; 33(8):1846.e5-6. · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We aimed to accurately estimate the frequency of a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9orf72 that has been associated with a large proportion of cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). We screened 4448 patients diagnosed with ALS (El Escorial criteria) and 1425 patients with FTD (Lund-Manchester criteria) from 17 regions worldwide for the GGGGCC hexanucleotide expansion using a repeat-primed PCR assay. We assessed familial disease status on the basis of self-reported family history of similar neurodegenerative diseases at the time of sample collection. We compared haplotype data for 262 patients carrying the expansion with the known Finnish founder risk haplotype across the chromosomal locus. We calculated age-related penetrance using the Kaplan-Meier method with data for 603 individuals with the expansion. In patients with sporadic ALS, we identified the repeat expansion in 236 (7·0%) of 3377 white individuals from the USA, Europe, and Australia, two (4·1%) of 49 black individuals from the USA, and six (8·3%) of 72 Hispanic individuals from the USA. The mutation was present in 217 (39·3%) of 552 white individuals with familial ALS from Europe and the USA. 59 (6·0%) of 981 white Europeans with sporadic FTD had the mutation, as did 99 (24·8%) of 400 white Europeans with familial FTD. Data for other ethnic groups were sparse, but we identified one Asian patient with familial ALS (from 20 assessed) and two with familial FTD (from three assessed) who carried the mutation. The mutation was not carried by the three Native Americans or 360 patients from Asia or the Pacific Islands with sporadic ALS who were tested, or by 41 Asian patients with sporadic FTD. All patients with the repeat expansion had (partly or fully) the founder haplotype, suggesting a one-off expansion occurring about 1500 years ago. The pathogenic expansion was non-penetrant in individuals younger than 35 years, 50% penetrant by 58 years, and almost fully penetrant by 80 years. A common Mendelian genetic lesion in C9orf72 is implicated in many cases of sporadic and familial ALS and FTD. Testing for this pathogenic expansion should be considered in the management and genetic counselling of patients with these fatal neurodegenerative diseases. Full funding sources listed at end of paper (see Acknowledgments).
    The Lancet Neurology 03/2012; 11(4):323-30. · 23.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The identification of a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9ORF72 gene as the cause of chromosome 9-linked frontotemporal dementia and motor neuron disease offers the opportunity for greater understanding of the relationship between these disorders and other clinical forms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. In this study, we screened a cohort of 398 patients with frontotemporal dementia, progressive non-fluent aphasia, semantic dementia or mixture of these syndromes for mutations in the C9ORF72 gene. Motor neuron disease was present in 55 patients (14%). We identified 32 patients with C9ORF72 mutations, representing 8% of the cohort. The patients' clinical phenotype at presentation varied: nine patients had frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease, 19 had frontotemporal dementia alone, one had mixed semantic dementia with frontal features and three had progressive non-fluent aphasia. There was, as expected, a significant association between C9ORF72 mutations and presence of motor neuron disease. Nevertheless, 46 patients, including 22 familial, had motor neuron disease but no mutation in C9ORF72. Thirty-eight per cent of the patients with C9ORF72 mutations presented with psychosis, with a further 28% exhibiting paranoid, deluded or irrational thinking, whereas <4% of non-mutation bearers presented similarly. The presence of psychosis dramatically increased the odds that patients carried the mutation. Mutation bearers showed a low incidence of motor stereotypies, and relatively high incidence of complex repetitive behaviours, largely linked to patients' delusions. They also showed a lower incidence of acquired sweet food preference than patients without C9ORF72 mutations. Post-mortem pathology in five patients revealed transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 pathology, type A in one patient and type B in three. However, one patient had corticobasal degeneration pathology. The findings indicate that C9ORF72 mutations cause some but not all cases of frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease. Other mutations remain to be discovered. C9ORF72 mutations are associated with variable clinical presentations and pathology. Nevertheless, the findings highlight a powerful association between C9ORF72 mutations and psychosis and suggest that the behavioural characteristics of patients with C9ORF72 mutations are qualitatively distinct. Mutations in the C9ORF72 gene may be a major cause not only of frontotemporal dementia with motor neuron disease but also of late onset psychosis.
    Brain 03/2012; 135(Pt 3):693-708. · 9.92 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Neurology 01/2012; 259(7):1478-80. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CLU, PICALM and CR1 were identified as genetic risk factors for late onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) in two large genome wide association studies (GWAS) published in 2009, but the variants that convey this alteration in disease risk, and how the genes relate to AD pathology is yet to be discovered. A next generation sequencing (NGS) project was conducted targeting CLU, CR1 and PICALM, in 96 AD samples (8 pools of 12), in an attempt to discover rare variants within these AD associated genes. Inclusion of repetitive regions in the design of the SureSelect capture lead to significant issues in alignment of the data, leading to poor specificity and a lower than expected depth of coverage. A strong positive correlation (0.964, p<0.001) was seen between NGS and 1000 genome project frequency estimates. Of the ~170 "novel" variants detected in the genes, seven SNPs, all of which were present in multiple sample pools, were selected for validation by Sanger sequencing. Two SNPs were successfully validated by this method, and shown to be genuine variants, while five failed validation. These spurious SNP calls occurred as a result of the presence of small indels and mononucleotide repeats, indicating such features should be regarded with caution, and validation via an independent method is important for NGS variant calls.
    International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics 01/2012; 3(4):262-75.
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    ABSTRACT: TDP-43 immunoreactive (TDP-43-ir) pathological changes were investigated in the temporal cortex and hippocampus of 11 patients with autosomal dominant familial forms of Alzheimer's disease (FAD), 169 patients with sporadic AD [85 with early onset disease (EOAD) (i.e before 65 years of age), and 84 with late onset after this age (LOAD)], 50 individuals with Down's Syndrome (DS) and 5 patients with primary hippocampal sclerosis (HS). TDP-43-ir pathological changes were present, overall, in 34/180 of AD cases. They were present in 1/11 (9%) FAD, and 9/85 (10%) EOAD patients but were significantly more common (p = 0.003) in LOAD where 24/84 (29%) patients showed such changes. There were no demographic differences, other than onset age, between AD patients with or without TDP-43-ir pathological changes. Double immunolabelling indicated that these TDP-43-ir inclusions were frequently ubiquitinated, but were only rarely AT8 (tau) immunoreactive. Only 3 elderly DS individuals and 4/5 cases of primary HS showed similar changes. Overall, 21.7% of AD cases and 6% DS cases showed hippocampal sclerosis (HS). However, only 9% FAD cases and 16% EOAD cases showed HS, but 29% LOAD cases showed HS. The proportion of EOAD cases with both TDP-43 pathology and HS tended to be greater than those in LOAD, where nearly half of all the cases with TDP-43 pathology did not show HS. The presence of TDP-43-ir changes in AD and DS may therefore be a secondary phenomenon, relating more to ageing than to AD itself. Nevertheless, a challenge to such an interpretation comes from the finding in AD of a strong relationship between TDP-43 pathology and cognitive phenotype. Patients with TDP-43 pathology were significantly more likely to present with an amnestic syndrome than those without (p < 0.0001), in keeping with pathological changes in medial temporal lobe structures. HS was also associated more commonly with an amnestic presentation (p < 0.005), but this association disappeared when TDP-43-positive cases were excluded from the analysis. TDP-43 may, after all, be integral to the pathology of AD, and to some extent determine the clinical phenotype present.
    Acta Neuropathologica 12/2011; 122(6):703-13. · 9.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The chromosome 9p21 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-frontotemporal dementia (ALS-FTD) locus contains one of the last major unidentified autosomal-dominant genes underlying these common neurodegenerative diseases. We have previously shown that a founder haplotype, covering the MOBKL2b, IFNK, and C9ORF72 genes, is present in the majority of cases linked to this region. Here we show that there is a large hexanucleotide (GGGGCC) repeat expansion in the first intron of C9ORF72 on the affected haplotype. This repeat expansion segregates perfectly with disease in the Finnish population, underlying 46.0% of familial ALS and 21.1% of sporadic ALS in that population. Taken together with the D90A SOD1 mutation, 87% of familial ALS in Finland is now explained by a simple monogenic cause. The repeat expansion is also present in one-third of familial ALS cases of outbred European descent, making it the most common genetic cause of these fatal neurodegenerative diseases identified to date.
    Neuron 09/2011; 72(2):257-68. · 15.77 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

5k Citations
742.37 Total Impact Points


  • 1994–2014
    • The University of Manchester
      • • Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health
      • • Mental Health and Neurodegeneration Research Group
      • • Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences
      • • Centre for Regenerative Medicine
      • • Neuroscience Research Group
      • • Manchester Medical School
      • • School of Psychological Sciences
      Manchester, England, United Kingdom
  • 2006–2012
    • National Institutes of Health
      • • Section on Molecular Genetics of Immunity
      • • Laboratory of Neurogenetics
      Bethesda, MD, United States
    • Vancouver General Hospital
      Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    • University College London
      • Department of Molecular Neuroscience
      London, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2011
    • National Institute on Aging
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2009
    • Catholic University of the Sacred Heart
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2008
    • Lancaster University
      • Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences (BLS)
      Lancaster, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2004
    • King's College London
      • Institute of Psychiatry
      London, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2002
    • University of Birmingham
      Birmingham, England, United Kingdom