[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in DDHD1 gene have been associated with the SPG28 subtype of Hereditary Spastic Paraparesis (HSP). Clinical phenotype includes axonal neuropathy, distal sensory loss, and cerebellar eye movement disturbances. We screened 96 index subjects from recessive HSP families for mutation and identified one family with two sibs carrying mutations in DDHD1 gene. Clinical, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging studies were performed, including MR spectroscopy of brain and muscle of the two mutated patients. Two novel heterozygous mutations in DDHD1 were found in the affected members of one family, with clinical features overlapping the SPG28 subtype. Of note, MR spectroscopy of brain and muscle in these patients indicated a mild deficit of brain energy metabolism in the oldest and most severely affected patient, while an impairment of energy metabolism was found in the skeletal muscle of both patients. Unlike the DDHD2 mutated patients, no evidence of lipid accumulation in the brain was found. Our data along with those previously reported suggest a dysfunction in the OXPHOS system possibly due to mitochondrial lipid content modification, which could be a central mechanism in the pathogenesis of SPG28.
Journal of Neurology 07/2014; · 3.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An increasing number of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations, mainly in complex I genes, have been associated with variably overlapping phenotypes of Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), mitochondrial encephalomyopathy with stroke-like episodes (MELAS) and Leigh syndrome (LS). We here describe the first case in which the m.4171C>A/MT-ND1 mutation, previously reported only in association with LHON, leads also to a Leigh-like phenotype.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A novel heteroplasmic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) micro-deletion affecting the cytochrome b gene (MT-CYB) was identified in an Italian female patient with a multisystem disease characterized by sensorineural deafness, cataracts, retinal pigmentary dystrophy, dysphagia, postural and gait instability and myopathy with prominent exercise intolerance. The deletion is 18-base pair long and encompasses nucleotide positions 15649-15666, causing the loss of six amino acids (Ile-Leu-Ala-Met-Ile-Pro) in the protein, but leaving the remaining of the MT-CYB sequence in frame. The defective complex III function was co-transferred with mutant mtDNA in cybrids, thus unequivocally establishing its pathogenic role. Maternal relatives failed to show detectable levels of the deletion in blood and urinary epithelium, suggesting a de-novo mutational event. This is the second report of an in-frame intragenic deletion in MT-CYB, which most likely occurred in early stages of embryonic development, associated with a severe multisystem disorder with prominent exercise intolerance. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report on the extensive phenotypic characterization of five Italian patients from four unrelated families carrying dominant heterozygous DNMT1 mutations linked to two distinct autosomal dominant diseases: hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy with dementia and hearing loss type IE (HSAN IE) and autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia, deafness and narcolepsy (ADCA-DN). Patients underwent genetic analysis of DNMT1 gene, neurophysiological tests investigating sleep, auditory functions and peripheral nervous system, ophthalmological studies including optical coherence tomography, lymphoscintigraphy, brain magnetic resonance and nuclear imaging, cerebrospinal fluid hypocretin-1, total tau, phosphorylated tau, amyloid-β1-42 and 14-3-3 proteins measurement, skin, muscular and sural nerve biopsies. Exome and direct sequencing studies disclosed two different point mutations affecting exon 21 of DNMT1 gene in patients with ADCA-DN, a novel heterozygous point mutation in exon 20 in two affected HSAN IE siblings, and a trinucleotide deletion in exon 20 in the latter patient with HSAN IE. Phenotypic characterization pinpoints that ADCA-DN and HSAN IE represent two discrete clinical entities belonging to the same disease spectrum, with variable degree of overlap. Remarkably, narcolepsy with or without cataplexy with low/intermediate or normal cerebrospinal fluid hypocretin-1 is present in both diseases. The human leukocyte antigen DQB1*06:02 was absent in all patients. Other common symptoms and features observed in our cases, involving the central and peripheral nervous system, include deafness, optic neuropathy-previously not reported in HSAN IE-large and small fibres polyneuropathy and lower limbs oedema. Overall, the two syndromes share more characteristics than previously recognized and narcolepsy is common to both. HSAN IE and ADCA-DN are two extreme phenotypic manifestations of a DNMT1 methylopathy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective
We aimed to report the clinical picture of 2 asymptomatic daughters of a patient with autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia, deafness, and narcolepsy (ADCA-DN) due to a mutation in the DNA (cytosine-5-)-methyltransferase gene, DNMT1.
Clinical assessment based on history, neurologic examination, sleep recording, neurophysiologic neuroimaging, and genetic tests was performed.
History and neurologic examination in both subjects was unremarkable. Genetic analysis was disclosed in both the paternally inherited heterozygous points of mutation in the DNMT1 gene. Sleep recordings found sleep-onset rapid eye movement periods (SOREMPs) and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) revealed increased cerebellar myoinositol (mI) in both subjects. Auditory and ophthalmologic investigations as well as structural brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans revealed no abnormalities.
The 2 asymptomatic carriers of the heterozygous DNMT1 mutation for ADCA-DN, a late-onset neurodegenerative disease, presented with SOREMPs associated with an increase of mI in the brain, a marker of glial cell activity and density characteristic of early stages of neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, SOREMPs may precede the clinical picture of ADCA-DN as an early polysomnographic marker of central nervous system involvement detected by MRS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Even though the pathophysiology of restless legs syndrome is not completely understood, several imaging studies have contributed to our understanding of the disease. Functional and metabolic impairment seems to be the pathophysiological core, tied to a single brain network or multiple connected brain networks, via neurotransmitter modifications. Positron emission tomography and single photon emission computed tomography studies support a dysfunction of dopaminergic pathways, involving not only the nigrostriatal pathway but also the mesolimbic pathway. Furthermore, a possible role of serotonergic neurotransmission has been suggested. Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have demonstrated in restless legs syndrome patients a pathologic activation of cerebral areas belonging to both the sensorimotor and the limbic networks. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy has confirmed abnormality of the limbic system and suggested the presence of a glutamatergic disorder. Finally magnetic resonance studies using iron-sensitive sequences have demonstrated reduced iron content in several regions of the brain of restless legs syndrome patients. In this review we attempt to integrate all current imaging study results into a convergent pathophysiological interpretation.
Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports 09/2013; 13(9):372. · 3.78 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: MRI, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) have been shown to be of great prognostic value in term newborns with moderate-severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Currently, no data are available on (1)H-MRS and DTI performed in the subacute phase after hypothermic treatment. The aim of the present study was to assess their prognostic value in newborns affected by moderate-severe HIE and treated with selective brain cooling (BC). METHODS: Twenty infants treated with BC underwent conventional MRI and (1)H-MRS at a mean (SD) age of 8.3 (2.8) days; 15 also underwent DTI. Peak area ratios of metabolites and DTI variables, namely mean diffusivity (MD), axial and radial diffusivity, and fractional anisotropy (FA), were calculated. Clinical outcome was monitored until 2 years of age. RESULTS: Adverse outcome was observed in 6/20 newborns. Both (1)H-MRS and DTI variables showed higher prognostic accuracy than conventional MRI. N-acetylaspartate/creatine at a basal ganglia localisation showed 100 % PPV and 93 % NPV for outcome. MD showed significantly decreased values in many regions of white and gray matter, axial diffusivity showed the best predictive value (PPV and NPV) in the genu of corpus callosum (100 and 91 %, respectively), and radial diffusivity was significantly decreased in fronto white matter (FWM) and fronto parietal (FP) WM. The decrement of FA showed the best AUC (0.94) in the FPWM. CONCLUSION: Selective BC in HIE neonates does not affect the early and accurate prognostic value of (1)H-MRS and DTI, which outperform conventional MRI.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complex I (CI) deficiency is a frequent cause of mitochondrial disorders and, in most cases, is due to mutations in CI subunit genes encoded by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). In this study, we establish the pathogenic role of the heteroplasmic mtDNA m.3890G>A/MT-ND1 (p.R195Q) mutation, which affects an extremely conserved amino acid position in ND1 subunit of CI. This mutation was found in a young-adult male with optic atrophy resembling Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) and bilateral brainstem lesions. The only previously reported case with this mutation was a girl with fatal infantile Leigh syndrome with bilateral brainstem lesions. Transfer of the mutant mtDNA in the cybrid cell system resulted in a marked reduction of CI activity and CI-dependent ATP synthesis in the presence of a normally assembled enzyme. These findings establish the pathogenicity of the m.3890G>A/MT-ND1 mutation and remark the link between CI mutations affecting the mtDNA-encoded ND subunits and LHON-like optic atrophy, which may be complicated by bilateral and symmetric lesions affecting the central nervous system. Peculiar to this mutation is the distribution of the brainstem lesions, with sparing of the striatum in both patients.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 12/2012; · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pathophysiology of restless legs syndrome is poorly understood. A role of the thalamus, specifically of its medial portion which is a part of the limbic system, was suggested by functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography studies. The aim of this study was to evaluate medial thalamus metabolism and structural integrity in patients with idiopathic restless legs syndrome using a multimodal magnetic resonance approach, including proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging, voxel-based morphometry and volumetric and shape analysis. Twenty-three patients and 19 healthy controls were studied in a 1.5 T system. Single voxel proton magnetic resonance spectra were acquired in the medial region of the thalamus. In diffusion tensor examination, mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy were determined at the level of medial thalamus using regions of interest delineated to outline the same parenchyma studied by spectroscopy. Voxel-based morphometry was performed focusing the analysis on the thalamus. Thalamic volumes were obtained using FMRIB's Integrated Registration and Segmentation Tool software, and shape analysis was performed using the FMRIB Software Library tools. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study disclosed a significantly reduced N-acetylaspartate:creatine ratio and N-acetylaspartate concentrations in the medial thalamus of patients with restless legs syndrome compared with healthy controls (P < 0.01 for both variable). Lower N-acetylaspartate concentrations were significantly associated with a family history of restless legs syndrome (β = -0.49; P = 0.018). On the contrary, diffusion tensor imaging, voxel-based morphometry and volumetric and shape analysis of the thalami did not show differences between the two groups. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic findings in patients with restless legs syndrome indicate an involvement of medial thalamic nuclei of a functional nature; however, the other structural techniques of the same region did not show any changes. These findings support the hypothesis that dysfunction of the limbic system plays a role in the pathophysiology of idiopathic restless legs syndrome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years an increasing number of studies have demonstrated the usefulness of different magnetic resonance (MR) techniques in diagnosing and understanding Parkinson’s disease (PD).
First, several MR-based studies have identified promising markers of substantia nigra degeneration in PD for early diagnosis and the evaluation of disease progression.
Second, quantitative MR techniques has been used to improve the differential diagnosis among parkinsonian syndromes. Among these, the most reproducible and consistent are morphometry and diffusion imaging, both of which are able to detect degenerative changes of cerebral structures specifically affected in the different forms of parkinsonism.
Finally, advanced MR techniques such as functional MRI, voxel-based morphometry, and diffusion tensor imaging have provided insights into many pathophysiological aspects of PD.
Currently, the main limitation to the use of advanced MR techniques is the heterogeneity of results among previous studies. This is due not only to a combination of technical variability in terms of magnetic fields, sequences, and methodological approaches of analysis, but also most likely to the differences in the patient samples examined, given that in most studies the subjects lack a pathological diagnosis. Furthermore, most of the diagnostic studies were performed in patients with long disease duration and it is not clear whether reported MRI findings allows an accurate differential diagnosis to be performed in the early stage of disease. Among pathophysiological studies in particular, there is currently a gap in our understanding of the link between some of the alterations described in the literature and their possible pathogenic role. This especially true of the studies focused on symptoms occurring in later stage of disease, such as L-dopa induced dyskinesia and gait impairment, at a stage when additional clinical features may bias the results.
A methodological consensus and a reduction of operator dependence would allow a reduction in inhomogeneity of results related to the technical variability. Regarding the characteristics of the patients examined, future studies should include larger and more homogeneous samples. In the diagnostic setting, the patients should be examined in the early stage of the disease, longitudinal studies should be preferred and a definite pathological diagnosis should be obtained.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studying the thalamic role in the cortical expression of the Sleep Slow Oscillation (SSO) in humans by comparing SSO features in a case of Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI) and a group of controls.
We characterize SSOs in a 51-year-old male with FFI carrying the D178N mutation and the methionine/methionine homozygosity at the polymorphic 129 codon of the PRNP gene and in eight gender and age-matched healthy controls. Polysomnographic (21 EEG electrodes, two consecutive nights) and volumetric- (Diffusion tensor imaging Magnetic Resonance Imaging DTI MRI) evaluations were carried out for the patient in the middle course of the disease (five months after the onset of insomnia; disease duration: 10 months). We measured a set of features describing each SSO event: the wave shape, the event-origin location, the number and the location of all waves belonging to the event, and the grouping of spindle activity as a function of the SSO phase.
We found that the FFI individual showed a marked reduction of SSO event rate and wave morphological alterations as well as a significant reduction in grouping spindle activity, especially in frontal areas. These alterations paralleled DTI changes in the thalamus and the cingulate cortex.
This work gives a quantitative picture of spontaneous SSO activity during the NREM sleep of a FFI individual. The results suggest that a thalamic neurodegeneration specifically alters the cortical expression of the SSO. This characterization also provides indications about cortico-thalamic interplays in SSO activity in humans.
Sleep Medicine 05/2012; 13(7):946-52. · 3.10 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is characterized by retinal ganglion cell (RGC) degeneration with the preferential involvement of those forming the papillomacular bundle. The optic nerve is considered the main pathological target for LHON. Our aim was to investigate the possible involvement of the post-geniculate visual pathway in LHON patients. We used diffusion-weighted imaging for in vivo evaluation. Mean diffusivity maps from 22 LHON visually impaired, 11 unaffected LHON mutation carriers and 22 healthy subjects were generated and compared at level of optic radiation (OR). Prefrontal and cerebellar white matter were also analyzed as internal controls. Furthermore, we studied the optic nerve and the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) in post-mortem specimens obtained from a severe case of LHON compared to an age-matched control. Mean diffusivity values of affected patients were higher than unaffected mutation carriers (P<0.05) and healthy subjects (P<0.01) in OR and not in the other brain regions. Increased OR diffusivity was associated with both disease duration (B = 0.002; P<0.05) and lack of recovery of visual acuity (B = 0.060; P<0.01). Post-mortem investigation detected atrophy (41.9% decrease of neuron soma size in the magnocellular layers and 44.7% decrease in the parvocellular layers) and, to a lesser extent, degeneration (28.5% decrease of neuron density in the magnocellular layers and 28.7% decrease in the parvocellular layers) in the LHON LGN associated with extremely severe axonal loss (99%) in the optic nerve. The post-geniculate involvement in LHON patients is a downstream post-synaptic secondary phenomenon, reflecting de-afferentation rather than a primary neurodegeneration due to mitochondrial dysfunction of LGN neurons.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e50230. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of abnormalities in the brain of patients with restless legs syndrome (RLS) using voxel-based morphometry and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).
Twenty patients and twenty controls were studied. Voxel-based morphometry analysis was performed using statistical parametric mapping (SPM8) and FSL-VBM software tools. For voxel-wise analysis of DTI, tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) and SPM8 were used.
Applying an appropriate threshold of probability, no significant results were found either in comparison or in correlation analyses.
Our data argue against clear structural or microstructural abnormalities in the brain of patients with idiopathic RLS, suggesting a prevalent role of functional or metabolic impairment.
European Journal of Neurology 12/2011; 19(7):1045-9. · 3.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study we assessed ΔG'(ATP) hydrolysis, cytosolic [ADP], and the rate of phosphocreatine recovery using Phosphorus Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in the calf muscle of a group of patients affected by glycogen myo-phosphorylase deficiency (McArdle disease). The goal was to ascertain whether and to what extent the deficit of the glycogenolytic pathway would affect the muscle energy balance. A typical feature of this pathology is the lack of intracellular acidosis. Therefore we posed the question of whether, in the absence of pH decrease, the rate of phosphocreatine recovery depends on the amount of phosphocreatine consumed during exercise. Results showed that at the end of exercise both [ADP] and ΔG'(ATP) of patients were significantly higher than those of matched control groups reaching comparable levels of phosphocreatine concentration. Furthermore, in these patients we found that the rate of phosphocreatine recovery is not influenced by the amount of phosphocreatine consumed during exercise. These outcomes provide experimental evidence that: i) the intracellular acidification occurring in exercising skeletal muscle is a protective factor for the energy consumption; and ii) the influence of pH on the phosphocreatine recovery rate is at least in part related to the kinetic mechanisms of mitochondrial creatine kinase enzyme.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 06/2011; 1807(9):1244-9. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Slowly progressive aphemia (SPA) is a rare focal degenerative disorder characterized by severe dysarthria, frequent orofacial apraxia, dysprosody, phonetic and phonemic errors without global cognitive deterioration for many years. This condition is caused by a degeneration of anterior frontal lobe regions, mainly of the left frontal operculum. We report a case of SPA with a course of 8 years, evaluated by repeated neuropsychological, conventional, and functional MRI examinations. In our case, neuropsychological examinations showed a progressive impairment of speech articulation including dysprosody, phonetic and phonemic errors, and slight writing errors. No global cognitive deterioration was detected and the patient is still completely autonomous. Morphological and functional investigations showed, respectively, a progressive atrophy and progressive impairment of the left frontal region, confirming the role of the opercular region in determining this rare syndrome. During verbal task generation as the cortical activation of this region gradually decreased, the language articulation worsened.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is the commonest form of autosomal recessive ataxia. This study aimed to define the extent of the brain damage in FRDA patients and to identify in vivo markers of neurodegeneration, using diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI).
We studied 27 FRDA patients and 21 healthy volunteers using a 1.5 T scanner. Axial DW images were obtained and mean diffusivity (MD) maps were generated. Region of interests (ROIs) included medulla, pons, inferior, middle and superior cerebellar peduncles (ICP, SCP, MCP), dentate nucleus, cerebellar white matter, thalamus, caudate, putamen, pallidus, pyramidal tracts at level of posterior limb of internal capsule (PLIC), optic radiations (OR), and corpus callosum. Histograms of MD were generated for all pixels in the whole cerebral hemispheres and infratentorial compartment. Disease severity was assessed by the International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale (ICARS).
FRDA patients had significantly higher MD values than controls in medulla (P < 0.001), ICP (P < 0.001), MCP (P < 0.01), SCP (P < 0.001), OR (P < 0.001), and at the level of the infratentorial structures such as brainstem (P < 0.01), cerebellar hemispheres (P < 0.01), and especially in the cerebellar vermis (P < 0.001). MD values were strongly correlated with disease duration and ICARS score.
Our results showed that DWI is a suitable non-invasive technique to quantify the extent of neurodegeneration in FRDA, that appears more extended than previously reported, showing a microstructural involvement of structures such as OR and MCP.
Movement Disorders 03/2011; 26(4):705-12. · 5.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dominant optic atrophy (DOA) is genetically heterogeneous and pathogenic mutations have been identified in the OPA1 and OPA3 genes, both encoding for mitochondrial proteins. We characterized clinical and laboratory features in a large OPA1-negative family with complicated DOA. Search for mitochondrial dysfunction was performed by studying muscle biopsies, fibroblasts, platelets and magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy. Genetic investigations included mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, linkage analysis, copy number variation (CNV) analysis and candidate gene screening. Optic neuropathy was undistinguishable from that in OPA1-DOA and frequently associated with late-onset sensorineural hearing loss, increases of central conduction times at somato-sensory evoked potentials and various cardiac abnormalities. Serum lactic acid after exercise, platelet respiratory complex activities, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) content in fibroblasts and muscle phosphorus MR spectroscopy all failed to reveal a mitochondrial dysfunction. However, muscle biopsies and their mtDNA analysis showed increased mitochondrial biogenesis. Furthermore, patient's fibroblasts grown in the galactose medium were unable to increase ATP content compared with controls, and exhibited abnormally high rate of fusion activity. Genome-wide linkage revealed a locus on chromosome 16q21-q22 with a maximum two-point LOD score of 8.84 for the marker D16S752 and a non-recombinant interval of ∼ 6.96 cM. Genomic screening of 45 genes in this interval including several likely candidate genes (CALB2, CYB5B, TK2, DHODH, PLEKHG4) revealed no mutation. Moreover, we excluded the presence of CNVs using array-based comparative genome hybridization. The identification of a new OPA locus (OPA8) in this pedigree demonstrates further genetic heterogeneity in DOA, and our results indicate that the pathogenesis may still involve mitochondria.
Human Molecular Genetics 02/2011; 20(10):1893-905. · 6.68 Impact Factor