[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: No existing medication has yet been shown to convincingly improve cerebellar ataxia. Therefore, the identification of new drugs for its symptomatic treatment is desirable. The objective of this case series was to evaluate the efficacy of treatment of cerebellar ataxia with the amino acid acetyl-DL-leucine (Tanganil). Thirteen patients (eight males, median age 51 years) with degenerative cerebellar ataxia of different etiologies (SCA1/2, ADCA, AOA, SAOA) were treated with acetyl-DL-leucine (5 g/day) without titration for 1 week. Motor function was evaluated by changes in the Scale for the Rating and Assessment of Ataxia (SARA) and in the Spinocerebellar Ataxia Functional Index (SCAFI) during treatment compared to a baseline examination. Quality of life (EuroQol-5D-3L) and side effects were also assessed. Mean total SARA decreased remarkably (p = 0.002) from a baseline of 16.1 ± 7.1 to 12.8 ± 6.8 (mean ± SD) on medication. There were also significant improvements in sub-scores for gait (p = 0.022), speech (p = 0.007), finger-chase (p = 0.042), nose-finger-test (p = 0.035), rapid-alternating-movements (p = 0.002) and heel-to-shin (p = 0.018). Furthermore, patients showed better performance in the SCAFI consisting of the 8-m-walking-time (8 MW, p = 0.003), 9-Hole-Peg-Test of the dominant hand (9HPTD, p = 0.011) and the PATA rate (p = 0.005). Quality of life increased during treatment (p = 0.003). No side effects were reported. In conclusion, acetyl-DL-leucine significantly improved ataxic symptoms without side effects and therefore showed a good risk-benefit profile. These findings need to be confirmed in placebo-controlled trials.
Journal of Neurology 07/2013; · 3.58 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autosomal dominant leukodystrophy (ADLD) is an adult onset demyelinating disorder that is caused by duplications of the lamin B1 (LMNB1) gene. However, as only a few cases have been analyzed in detail, the mechanisms underlying LMNB1 duplications are unclear. We report the detailed molecular analysis of the largest collection of ADLD families studied, to date. We have identified the minimal duplicated region necessary for the disease, defined all the duplication junctions at the nucleotide level and identified the first inverted LMNB1 duplication. We have demonstrated that the duplications are not recurrent; patients with identical duplications share the same haplotype, likely inherited from a common founder and that the duplications originated from intra-chromosomal events. The duplication junction sequences indicated that non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) or replication-based mechanisms such fork stalling and template switching (FoSTeS) or microhomology mediated break induced repair (MMBIR) are likely to be involved. LMNB1 expression was increased in patients' fibroblasts both at mRNA and protein levels and the three LMNB1 alleles in ADLD patients show equal expression, suggesting that regulatory regions are maintained within the rearranged segment. These results have allowed us to elucidate duplication mechanisms and provide insights into allele specific LMNB1 expression levels.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Comparing protein levels from single cells in tissue has not been achieved through Western blot. Laser capture microdissection allows for the ability to excise single cells from sectioned tissue and compile an aggregate of cells in lysis buffer. In this study we analyzed proteins from cells excised individually from brain and muscle tissue through Western blot. After we excised individual neurons from the substantia nigra of the brain, the accumulated surface area of the individual cells was 120,000, 24,000, 360,000, 480,000, 600,000 μm2. We used an optimized Western blot protocol to probe for tyrosine hydroxylase in this cell pool. We also took 360,000 μm2 of astrocytes (1700 cells) and analyzed the specificity of the method. In muscle we were able to analyze the proteins of the five complexes of the electron transport chain through Western blot from 200 human cells. With this method, we demonstrate the ability to compare cell-specific protein levels in the brain and muscle and describe for the first time how to visualize proteins through Western blot from cells captured individually.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Creatine has been shown to be neuroprotective in aging, neurodegenerative conditions and brain injury. As a common molecular background, oxidative stress and disturbed cellular energy homeostasis are key aspects in these conditions. Moreover, in a recent report we could demonstrate a life-enhancing and health-promoting potential of creatine in rodents, mainly due to its neuroprotective action. In order to investigate the underlying pharmacology mediating these mainly neuroprotective properties of creatine, cultured primary embryonal hippocampal and cortical cells were challenged with glutamate or H(2)O(2). In good agreement with our in vivo data, creatine mediated a direct effect on the bioenergetic balance, leading to an enhanced cellular energy charge, thereby acting as a neuroprotectant. Moreover, creatine effectively antagonized the H(2)O(2)-induced ATP depletion and the excitotoxic response towards glutamate, while not directly acting as an antioxidant. Additionally, creatine mediated a direct inhibitory action on the NMDA receptor-mediated calcium response, which initiates the excitotoxic cascade. Even excessive concentrations of creatine had no neurotoxic effects, so that high-dose creatine supplementation as a health-promoting agent in specific pathological situations or as a primary prophylactic compound in risk populations seems feasible. In conclusion, we were able to demonstrate that the protective potential of creatine was primarily mediated by its impact on cellular energy metabolism and NMDA receptor function, along with reduced glutamate spillover, oxidative stress and subsequent excitotoxicity.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(2):e30554. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The therapeutic effects of 4-aminopyridine (4AP) were investigated in a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial in 10 subjects with familial episodic ataxia with nystagmus.
After randomization, placebo or 4AP (5 mg 3 times daily) was administered for 2 3-month-long treatment periods separated by a 1-month-long washout period. The primary outcome measure was the number of ataxia attacks per month; the secondary outcome measures were the attack duration and patient-reported quality of life (Vestibular Disorders Activities of Daily Living Scale [VDADL]). Nonparametric tests and a random-effects model were used for statistical analysis.
The diagnosis of episodic ataxia type 2 (EA2) was genetically confirmed in 7 subjects. Patients receiving placebo had a median monthly attack frequency of 6.50, whereas patients taking 4AP had a frequency of 1.65 (p = 0.03). Median monthly attack duration decreased from 13.65 hours with placebo to 4.45 hours with 4AP (p = 0.08). The VDADL score decreased from 6.00 to 1.50 (p = 0.02). 4AP was well-tolerated.
This controlled trial on EA2 and familial episodic ataxia with nystagmus demonstrated that 4AP decreases attack frequency and improves quality of life. Level of evidence: This crossover study provides Class II evidence that 4AP decreases attack frequency and improves the patient-reported quality of life in patients with episodic ataxia and related familial ataxias.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The heteroplasmic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutation A3243G causes the mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) syndrome as one of the most frequent mitochondrial diseases. The process of reconfiguration of nuclear gene expression profile to accommodate cellular processes to the functional status of mitochondria might be a key to MELAS disease manifestation and could contribute to its diverse phenotypic presentation.
To determine master regulatory protein networks and disease-modifying genes in MELAS syndrome.
Analyses of whole blood transcriptomes from 10 MELAS patients using a novel strategy by combining classic Affymetrix oligonucleotide microarray profiling with regulatory and protein interaction network analyses.
Hierarchical cluster analysis elucidated that the relative abundance of mutant mtDNA molecules is decisive for the nuclear gene expression response. Further analyses confirmed not only transcription factors already known to be involved in mitochondrial diseases (such as TFAM), but also detected the hypoxia-inducible factor 1 complex, nuclear factor Y and cAMP responsive element-binding protein-related transcription factors as novel master regulators for reconfiguration of nuclear gene expression in response to the MELAS mutation. Correlation analyses of gene alterations and clinico-genetic data detected significant correlations between A3243G-induced nuclear gene expression changes and mutant mtDNA load as well as disease characteristics. These potential disease-modifying genes influencing the expression of the MELAS phenotype are mainly related to clusters primarily unrelated to cellular energy metabolism, but important for nucleic acid and protein metabolism, and signal transduction.
Our data thus provide a framework to search for new pathogenetic concepts and potential therapeutic approaches to treat the MELAS syndrome.
Neurological Research 07/2011; 33(6):638-55. · 1.18 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) causes progressive gait disturbance because of degeneration of the corticospinal tract. To assess its impact on Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL), we analyzed the correlation of HRQoL with disease severity and clinical symptoms in HSP.
HRQoL was assessed by the Short-Form 36 (SF-36) Mental and Physical Component summary scores (MCS and PCS) in 143 German patients with HSP. Disease severity was assessed by the Spastic Paraplegia Rating Scale (SPRS) and landmarks of walking ability. Patients with 'pure' or 'complicated' HSP were compared.
Higher SPRS scores indicating higher disease severity correlated significantly with lower PCS (r = -0.63; P < 0.0005) and MCS (r = -0.38; P < 0.0005) scores. MCS and PCS were reduced in patients with 'complicated' forms compared to 'pure' HSP and with decreasing walking ability.
HRQoL is substantially impaired in patients with HSP and decreases with disease severity and the presence of 'complicating' symptoms. Patients are most affected by the physical restraints of their disease, but mental health is impaired as well. HRQoL is a valid parameter in HSP that should be considered in upcoming therapeutical trials.
European Journal of Neurology 06/2011; 19(1):168-71. · 4.16 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The supplementation of creatine has shown a marked neuroprotective effect in mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). This has been assigned to the known bioenergetic, anti-apoptotic, anti-excitotoxic and anti-oxidant properties of creatine. As aging and neurodegeneration share pathophysiological pathways, we investigated the effect of oral creatine supplementation on aging in 162 aged wild-type C57Bl/6J mice. The median healthy life span of creatine-fed mice was 9% higher than in their control littermates, and they performed significantly better in neurobehavioral tests. In brains of creatine-treated mice, there was a trend toward a reduction of reactive oxygen species and significantly lower accumulation of the "aging pigment" lipofuscin. Expression profiling showed an upregulation of genes implicated in neuronal growth, neuroprotection, and learning. These data showed that creatine improves health and longevity in mice. Creatine may, therefore, be a promising food supplement to promote healthy human aging. However, the strong neuroprotective effects in animal studies of creatine have not been reproduced in human clinical trials (that have been conducted in Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). The reasons for this translational gap are discussed. One obvious cause seems to be that all previous human studies may have been underpowered. Large phase III trials over long time periods are currently being conducted for Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease, and will possibly solve this issue.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adult-onset autosomal dominant leukodystrophy (ADLD) with autonomic symptoms features micturition urgency, constipation, erectile dysfunction, and orthostatic hypotension, usually followed by pyramidal signs and ataxia. Peripheral nerve conduction is normal. The disease is often mistaken for multiple sclerosis in the initial phase. There is a characteristic pattern of white matter changes in the brain and spinal cord on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), mild atrophy of the brain, and a more marked atrophy of the spinal cord. ADLD is associated with duplications of the lamin B1 (LMNB1) gene but the mechanism by which the rearrangement conveys the phenotype is not fully defined. We analyzed four unrelated families segregating ADLD with autonomic symptoms for duplications of the LMNB1 gene. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array analysis revealed novel duplications spanning the entire LMNB1 gene in probands from each of the four families. We then analyzed the expression of lamin B1 in peripheral leukocytes by Western blot analysis in five patients from two available families. The protein levels of lamin B1 were found significantly increased. These results indicate that the ADLD phenotype associated with LMNB1 duplications is mediated by increased levels of the lamin B1 protein. Furthermore, we show that a molecular diagnosis for ADLD with autonomic symptoms can be obtained by a direct analysis of lamin B1 in peripheral leukocytes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loss of function of DJ-1 (PARK7) is associated with autosomal recessive early-onset Parkinson's disease (PD), one of the major age-related neurological diseases. In this study, we extended former studies on DJ-1 knockout mice by identifying subtle morphological and behavioural phenotypes. The DJ-1 gene trap-induced null mutants exhibit less dopamine-producing neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). They also exhibit slight changes in behaviour, i.e. diminished rearing behaviour and impairments in object recognition. Furthermore, we detected subtle phenotypes, which suggest that these animals compensate for the loss of DJ-1. First, we found a significant upregulation of mitochondrial respiratory enzyme activities, a mechanism known to protect against oxidative stress. Second, a close to significant increase in c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 phosphorylation in old DJ-1-deficient mice hints at a differential activation of neuronal cell survival pathways. Third, as no change in the density of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive terminals in the striatum was observed, the remaining dopamine-producing neurons likely compensate by increasing axonal sprouting. In summary, the present data suggest that DJ-1 is implicated in major non-motor symptoms of PD appearing in the early phases of the disease-such as subtle impairments in motivated behaviour and cognition-and that under basal conditions the loss of DJ-1 is compensated.
Genes Brain and Behavior 04/2010; 9(3):305-17. · 3.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The German Mouse Clinic (GMC) is a large scale phenotyping center where mouse mutant lines are analyzed in a standardized and comprehensive way. The result is an almost complete picture of the phenotype of a mouse mutant line--a systemic view. At the GMC, expert scientists from various fields of mouse research work in close cooperation with clinicians side by side at one location. The phenotype screens comprise the following areas: allergy, behavior, clinical chemistry, cardiovascular analyses, dysmorphology, bone and cartilage, energy metabolism, eye and vision, host-pathogen interactions, immunology, lung function, molecular phenotyping, neurology, nociception, steroid metabolism, and pathology. The German Mouse Clinic is an open access platform that offers a collaboration-based phenotyping to the scientific community (www.mouseclinic.de). More than 80 mutant lines have been analyzed in a primary screen for 320 parameters, and for 95% of the mutant lines we have found new or additional phenotypes that were not associated with the mouse line before. Our data contributed to the association of mutant mouse lines to the corresponding human disease. In addition, the systemic phenotype analysis accounts for pleiotropic gene functions and refines previous phenotypic characterizations. This is an important basis for the analysis of underlying disease mechanisms. We are currently setting up a platform that will include environmental challenge tests to decipher genome-environmental interactions in the areas nutrition, exercise, air, stress and infection with different standardized experiments. This will help us to identify genetic predispositions as susceptibility factors for environmental influences.
Current pharmaceutical biotechnology 03/2009; 10(2):236-43. · 3.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial dysfunction is a hypothesized component in the multifactorial pathogenesis of migraine without aura (MoA, 'common migraine') and the related condition of cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS). In this study, the entire mitochondrial genome was sequenced in 20 haplogroup-H CVS patients, a subject group studied because of greater genotypic and phenotypic homogeneity. Sequences were compared against haplogroup-H controls. Polymorphisms of interest were tested in 10 additional CVS subjects and in 112 haplogroup-H adults with MoA. The 16519C-->T polymorphism was found to be highly disease associated: 21/30 CVS subjects [70%, odds ratio (OR) 6.2] and 58/112 migraineurs (52%, OR 3.6) vs. 63/231 controls (27%). A second polymorphism, 3010G-->A, was found to be highly disease associated in those subjects with 16519T: 6/21 CVS subjects (29%, OR 17) and 15/58 migraineurs (26%, OR 15) vs. 1/63 controls (1.6%). Our data suggest that these polymorphisms constitute a substantial proportion of the genetic factor in migraine pathogenesis, and strengthen the hypothesis that there is a component of mitochondrial dysfunction in migraine.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Defining the mitochondrial proteome is a prerequisite for fully understanding the organelles function as well as mechanisms underlying mitochondrial pathology. The core functions of mitochondria include oxidative phosphorylation, amino acid metabolism, fatty acid oxidation, and ion homeostasis. In addition to these well-known functions, many crucial properties in cell signaling, cell differentiation and cell death are only now being elucidated, and with them the proteins involved. With the wealth of information arriving from single protein studies and sophisticated genome-wide approaches, MitoP2 was designed and is maintained to consolidate knowledge on mitochondrial proteins in one comprehensive database, thus making all pertinent data readily accessible (http://www.mitop2.de). Although the identification of the human mitochondrial proteome is ultimately the prime objective, integration of other species includes Saccharomyces cerevisiae, mouse, Arabidopsis thaliana, and Neurospora crassa so orthology between these species can be interrogated. Data from genome-wide studies can be individually retrieved and are also processed by a support vector machine (SVM) to generate a score that indicates the likelihood of a candidate protein having a mitochondrial location. Manually validated proteins constitute the reference set of the database that contains over 590 yeast, 920 human, and 1020 mouse entries, and that is used for benchmarking the SVM score. Multiple search options allow for the interrogation of the reference set, candidates, disease related proteins, chromosome locations as well as availability of mouse models. Taken together, MitoP2 is a valuable tool for basic scientists, geneticists, and clinicians who are investigating mitochondrial physiology and dysfunction.
Methods in enzymology 02/2009; 457:3-20. · 1.90 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mitochondrial 12S rRNA is considered a hotspot for mutations associated with nonsyndromic (NSHL) and aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss (AIHL). Although aminoglycoside ototoxicity is the most common cause of bilateral vestibular dysfunction, the conceivable role of 12S rRNA mutations has never been systematically investigated. We sequenced the 12S rRNA of 66 patients with bilateral vestibulopathy (BV) with (n=15) or without (n=51) prior exposure to aminoglycosides, as well as 155 healthy controls with intact vestibular function (sport pilots), and compared these to 2704 published sequences (Human Mitochondrial Genome Database). No mutations with a confirmed pathogenicity were found (A1555G, C1494T), but four mutations with a hitherto tentative status were detected (T669C, C960del, C960ins, T961G). Due to their predominant occurrence in patients without aminoglycoside exposure, their detection in controls and a weak evolutionary conservation, their pathogenic role in vestibulocochlear dysfunction remains provisional.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 11/2008; 377(2):379-83. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The supplementation of creatine (Cr) has a marked neuroprotective effect in mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases. This has been assigned to the known bioenergetic, anti-apoptotic, anti-excitotoxic, and anti-oxidant properties of Cr. As aging and neurodegeneration share pathophysiological pathways, we investigated the effect of oral Cr supplementation on aging in 162 aged C57Bl/6J mice. Outcome variables included "healthy" life span, neurobehavioral phenotyping, as well as morphology, biochemistry, and expression profiling from brain. The median healthy life span of Cr-fed mice was 9% higher than in control mice, and they performed significantly better in neurobehavioral tests. In brains of Cr-treated mice, there was a trend towards a reduction of reactive oxygen species and significantly lower accumulation of the "aging pigment" lipofuscin. Expression profiling showed an upregulation of genes implicated in neuronal growth, neuroprotection, and learning. These data show that Cr improves health and longevity in mice. Cr may be a promising food supplement to promote healthy human aging.
Neurobiology of aging 10/2008; 29(9):1404-11. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial dysfunction is a consistent finding in neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's (AD) or Parkinson's disease (PD) but also in normal human brain aging. In addition to respiratory chain defects, damage to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been repeatedly reported in brains from AD and PD patients. Most studies though failed to detect biologically significant point mutation or deletion levels in brain homogenate. By employing quantitative single cell techniques, we were recently able to show significantly high levels of mtDNA deletions in dopaminergic substantia nigra (SN) neurons from PD patients and age-matched controls. In the present study we used the same approach to quantify the levels of mtDNA deletions in single cells from three different brain regions (putamen, frontal cortex, SN) of patients with AD (n = 9) as compared to age-matched controls (n = 8). There were no significant differences between patients and controls in either region but in both groups the deletion load was markedly higher in dopaminergic SN neurons than in putamen or frontal cortex (p < 0.01; ANOVA). This data shows that there is a specific susceptibility of dopaminergic SN neurons to accumulate substantial amounts of mtDNA deletions, regardless of the underlying clinical phenotype.
Journal of Neurology 07/2008; 255(8):1231-5. · 3.58 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SPG10 is an autosomal dominant form of hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), which is caused by mutations in the neural kinesin heavy chain KIF5A gene, the neuronal motor of fast anterograde axonal transport. Only four mutations have been identified to date.
To determine the frequency of SPG10 in European families with HSP and to specify the SPG10 phenotype.
80 index patients from families with autosomal dominant HSP were investigated for SPG10 mutations by direct sequencing of the KIF5A motor domain. Additionally, the whole gene was sequenced in 20 of these families.
Three novel KIF5A mutations were detected in German families, including one missense mutation (c.759G>T, p.K253N), one in frame deletion (c.768_770delCAA, p.N256del) and one splice site mutation (c.217G>A). Onset of gait disturbance varied from infancy to 30 years of age. All patients presented clinically with pure HSP, but a subclinical sensory-motor neuropathy was detected by neurophysiology studies.
SPG10 accounts for approximately 3% of European autosomal dominant HSP families. All mutations affect the motor domain of kinesin and thus most likely impair axonal transport. Clinically, SPG10 is characterised by spastic paraplegia with mostly subclinical peripheral neuropathy.
Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 05/2008; 79(5):584-7. · 4.87 Impact Factor