[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the skeletal muscle channel (SCN4A), encoding the Nav1.4 voltage-gated sodium channel, are causative of a variety of muscle channelopathies, including non-dystrophic myotonias and periodic paralysis. The effects of many of these mutations on channel function have been characterized both in vitro and in vivo. However, little is known about the consequences of SCN4A mutations downstream from their impact on the electrophysiology of the Nav1.4 channel. Here we report the discovery of a novel SCN4A mutation (c.1762A>G; p.I588V) in a patient with myotonia and periodic paralysis, located within the S1 segment of the second domain of the Nav1.4 channel. Using N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea mutagenesis, we generated and characterized a mouse model (named draggen), carrying the equivalent point mutation (c.1744A>G; p.I582V) to that found in the patient with periodic paralysis and myotonia. Draggen mice have myotonia and suffer from intermittent hind-limb immobility attacks. In-depth characterization of draggen mice uncovered novel systemic metabolic abnormalities in Scn4a mouse models and provided novel insights into disease mechanisms. We discovered metabolic alterations leading to lean mice, as well as abnormal AMP-activated protein kinase activation, which were associated with the immobility attacks and may provide a novel potential therapeutic target.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recurrent rhabdomyolysis complicates a number of inherited muscle and metabolic disorders and represents a serious, potentially life-threatening condition which frequently requires critical care. Identification of the underlying genetic cause has traditionally relied upon detailed history and examination findings which subsequently guide the investigative work-up. However, in many cases the causative molecular defect remains undetermined. This study aims to investigate whether utilising next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology early in the diagnostic pathway might offer a rapid, cost-effective tool for the diagnosis of patients with recurrent attacks of rhabdomyolysis when a genetic aetiology is suspected. We have designed a “rhabdomyolysis gene panel” comprised of 48 genes known or predicted to cause rhabdomyolysis using NGS technology. Over 200 patients have been recruited. In addition, array CGH and whole exome sequencing may be used. A pilot study of 53 patients with a panel of sequenced 35 rhabdomyolysis genes using an amplicon based sequencing panel on an Illumina MiSeq was performed. 52 of the first 53 first evaluated patients have a variant in at least 1 gene. 49 patients have heterozygous variants in at least two different genes. We identified 15 cases out of 52 with probable pathogenic mutations using this approach. The pilot study showed that the rhabdomyolysis genetic panel is a potentially useful way to identify genetic alterations in patients with rhabdomyolysis. The high number of symptomatic patients with mutations identified in more than one gene associated with rhabdomyolysis suggests that gene–gene interaction(s) may play an important role. We are currently preparing a new extended panel of 48 genes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myotonia is often a painful and disabling symptom which can interfere with daily motor function resulting in significant morbidity. Since myotonic disorders are rare it has generally proved difficult to obtain class I level evidence for anti-myotonic drug efficacy by performing randomized placebo controlled trials. Current treatment guidance is therefore largely based on anecdotal reports and physician experience. Despite the genetic channel heterogeneity of the myotonic disorders the sodium channel antagonists have become the main focus of pharmacological interest. Mexiletine is currently regarded as the first choice sodium channel blocker based on a recent placebo controlled randomized trial. However, some patients do not respond to mexiletine or have significant side effects limiting its use. There is a clinical need to develop additional antimyotonic agents. The study of Desaphy et al. is therefore important and provides in vitro evidence that a number of existing drugs with sodium channel blocking capability could potentially be repurposed as anti-myotonic drugs. Translation of these potentially important in vitro findings into clinical practice requires carefully designed randomized controlled trials. Here we discuss Desaphy's findings in the wider context of attempts to develop additional therapies for patients with clinically significant myotonia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sporadic inclusion body myositis (IBM) is the most common acquired myopathy occurring in adults aged over 50years. The aim of the study was to assess prospectively the clinical features and functional impact of sporadic inclusion body myositis (IBM). Clinical data, manual muscle testing (MMT), quantitative muscle testing (QMT) of quadriceps muscle and IBM functional rating scale (IBM-FRS) were collected according to a standardised protocol at baseline (n=51) and one-year follow-up (n=23). MMT, quadriceps QMT and IBM-FRS significantly declined after one year (by 5.2%, 27.9%, and 13.8%, respectively). QMT of the quadriceps muscle and IBM-FRS were the most sensitive measures of disease progression. After a median time of seven years of disease duration, 63% of patients had lost independent walking. Disease onset after 55years of age, but not sex or treatment, is predictive of a shorter time to requirement of a walking stick. We detected no differences in disease presentation and progression between clinically and pathologically defined IBM patients. The study provides evidence that quadriceps QMT and IBM-FRS could prove helpful as outcome measures in future therapeutic trials in IBM.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess whether exon deletions or duplications in CLCN1 are associated with recessive myotonia congenita (MC).
We performed detailed clinical and electrophysiologic characterization in 60 patients with phenotypes consistent with MC. DNA sequencing of CLCN1 followed by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification to screen for exon copy number variation was undertaken in all patients.
Exon deletions or duplications in CLCN1 were identified in 6% of patients with MC. Half had heterozygous exonic rearrangements. The other 2 patients (50%), with severe disabling infantile onset myotonia, were identified with both a homozygous mutation, Pro744Thr, which functional electrophysiology studies suggested was nonpathogenic, and a triplication/homozygous duplication involving exons 8-14, suggesting an explanation for the severe phenotype.
These data indicate that copy number variation in CLCN1 may be an important cause of recessive MC. Our observations suggest that it is important to check for exon deletions and duplications as part of the genetic analysis of patients with recessive MC, especially in patients in whom sequencing identifies no mutations or only a single recessive mutation. These results also indicate that additional, as yet unidentified, genetic mechanisms account for cases not currently explained by either CLCN1 point mutations or exonic deletions or duplications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over 20 years ago single clonal deletions were the first mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genetic defects described in association with human disease. Since then very large numbers of children and adults harbouring such deletions have been described and it is clear they are an important cause of human mitochondrial disease. However, there still remain many important challenges in relation to our understanding of mechanisms leading to deletion formation and propagation and in relation to the factors determining the complex and varying relationship between genotype and clinical phenotype. Although multidisciplinary team care is essential and can improve quality of life and outcomes for patients, a definitive molecular treatment for single mtDNA deletions remains an important translational research goal. Patients with mtDNA deletions exhibit a very wide range of different clinical phenotypes with marked variation in age at onset and disease severity. Single mtDNA deletions may enter into the differential diagnosis of many different paediatric and adult presentations across a wide range of medical specialties, although neurological presentations are amongst the most common. In this review, we examine the molecular mechanisms underpinning mtDNA replication and we consider the hypotheses proposed to explain the formation and propagation of single large-scale mtDNA deletions. We also describe the range of clinical features associated with single mtDNA deletions, outline a molecular diagnostic approach and discuss current management including the role of aerobic and resistance exercise training programmes.