[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pleiotropic effects of riluzole may antagonize common mechanisms underlying chronic cerebellar ataxia, a debilitating and untreatable consequence of various diseases.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial, 40 patients presenting with cerebellar ataxias of different etiologies were randomly assigned to riluzole (100 mg/day) or placebo for 8 weeks. The following outcome measures were compared: proportion of patients with a decrease of at least 5 points in the International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale (ICARS) total score after 4 and 8 weeks compared with the baseline score; mean changes from the baseline to posttreatment ICARS (total score and subscores at 8 weeks); and occurrence of adverse events.
Riluzole and placebo groups did not differ in baseline characteristics. The number of patients with a 5-point ICARS drop was significantly higher in the riluzole group than in the placebo group after 4 weeks (9/19 vs 1/19; odds ratio [OR] = 16.2; 95% confidence interval [CI ] 1.8-147.1) and 8 weeks (13/19 vs 1/19; OR = 39.0; 95% CI 4.2-364.2). The mean change in the riluzole group ICARS after treatment revealed a decrease (p < 0.001) in the total score (-7.05 [4.96] vs 0.16 [2.65]) and major subscores (-2.11 [2.75] vs 0.68 [1.94] for static function, -4.11 [2.96] vs 0.37 [2.0] for kinetic function, and -0.74 [0.81] vs 0.05 [0.40] for dysarthria). Sporadic, mild adverse events occurred.
These findings indicate the potential effectiveness of riluzole as symptomatic therapy in diverse forms of cerebellar ataxia. Classification of evidence: This study provides Class I evidence that riluzole reduces, by at least 5 points, the ICARS score in patients with a wide range of disorders that cause cerebellar ataxia (risk difference 63.2%, 95% CI 33.5%-79.9%).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferon (IFN)-beta1a induction of neopterin and beta2-microglobulin (beta2-MG) were evaluated over 1 year in patients with MS. Neopterin and beta2-MG levels peaked 24 to 48 hours after weekly injections of IFNbeta1a over the entire study period. Predose levels of neopterin decreased significantly, consistent with a long-term decrease in IFNgamma expression and macrophage activation during IFNbeta-1a treatment. Predose levels of beta2-MG increased, the significance of which is as yet unclear.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess whether a correlation exists between optic nerve fiber layer (NFL) thickness and the retinal or visual pathway function in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients previously affected by optic neuritis.
Fourteen patients with a diagnosis of definite MS were examined. All had been affected by optic neuritis (MSON) with complete recovery of visual acuity (14 eyes included in study). These were compared with 14 eyes from 14 age-matched control subjects. NFL thickness was measured by optical coherence tomography (OCT). Three different measurements in each quadrant (superior, inferior, nasal, and temporal) were taken and averaged. The data in all quadrants (12 values averaged) were identified as NFL Overall, whereas the data obtained in the temporal quadrant only (3 values averaged) were identified as NFL Temporal. Retinal and visual pathway function was assessed by simultaneously recording pattern electroretinograms (PERGs) and visual evoked potentials (VEPs) using high-contrast (80%) checkerboard stimuli subtending 15 minutes and 60 minutes of the visual arc (min arc) and reversed at the rate of two reversals per second.
In MSON eyes there was a significant (P < 0.01) reduction in NFL thickness in both NFL Overall and NFL Temporal evaluations compared with the values observed in control eyes. PERG, (15-min arc checks) and VEP (15-min arc and 60-min arc checks), showed a significant (P < 0.01) delay in latency and reduction in amplitude. NFL Overall and NFL Temporal values were significantly correlated (P < 0.01) to the PERG P50 latency and P50 to N95 amplitude recorded with 15-min arc checks. No correlations (P > 0.01) between NFL values and the other electrophysiological data (PERG recorded with 60-min arc checks and VEP recorded with 15-min arc and 60-min arc checks) were found.
There is a correlation between PERG changes and NFL thickness in MS patients previously affected by optic neuritis, but there is no correlation between VEP changes and NFL thickness.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of organ- and nonorgan-specific autoantibodies in MS patients and evaluate whether the presence of autoantibodies is an indicator of disease activity and/or a prognosis factor. One hundred and five definite MS patients in different stages and with different course and 75 blood donors were tested for the autoantibodies TgA, TMA/TPO-A, PCA, ANA, aCl, SMA, AMA and ANCA. All patients were screened for the LAC. Autoantibodies to at least one autoantigen were found in 66.6% MS patients and in 13.3% controls (P < 0.001). The frequency of TgA, TMA/TPO-A, ANA, aCl and SMA was statistically higher in patients than in controls. Circulating ANCAs were found in seven MS, a never reported finding. An early onset of MS (< 20 years) was associated with a lower autoantibody frequency (P < 0.01) Primary and secondary progressive MS had a higher antibody frequency than relapsing-remitting (P < 0.05) or benign (P < 0.001) MS. Up to 86% of patients were autoantibody-positive during the acute stage, but only 30% of them remained positive during the remission stage (P < 0.001). A generalised immune dysregulation occurs in MS patients, mostly during the acute stages and in the progressive courses, involving activation of both autoreactive Th1-cells (mainly linked to CNS lesions) and B-cells via Th2 cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Point mutations of the CACNA1A gene coding for the alpha 1A voltage-dependent calcium channel subunit are responsible for familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) and episodic ataxia type 2 (EA2). In addition, expansions of the CAG repeat motif at the 3' end of the gene, smaller than those responsible for dynamic mutation disorders, were found in patients with a progressive spinocerebellar ataxia, named SCA6. In the present work, the analysis of two new families with small CAG expansions of the CACNA1A gene is presented. In one family, with a clinical diagnosis of EA2, a CAG23 repeat allele segregated in patients showing different interictal symptoms, ranging from nystagmus only to severe progressive cerebellar ataxia. No additional mutations in coding and intron-exon junction sequences in disequilibrium with the CAG expansion were found. In the second family, initially classified as autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia of unknown type, an inter-generational allele size change showed that a CAG20 allele was associated with an EA2 phenotype and a CAG25 allele with progressive cerebellar ataxia. These results show that EA2 and SCA6 are the same disorder with a high phenotypic variability, at least partly related to the number of repeats, and suggest that the small expansions may not be as stable as previously reported. A refinement of the coding and intron-exon junction sequences of the CACNA1A gene is also provided.
Human Molecular Genetics 11/1997; 6(11):1973-8. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An analysis of genetic fitness was performed in Huntington's Disease (HD) and Spinocerebellar Ataxia 1 (SCA1) families. Two partially overlapping samples were used: clinically defined HD and SCA1 patients from families ascertained in definite geographical areas, and molecularly typed carriers of HD and SCA1 mutations (CAG trinucleotide expansions). In both cases, a control group of normal relatives was used. HD and SCA1 patients born before 1915-20 had more children than normal controls. Carriers of HD and SCA1 mutations, all in the low/medium expansion range (37-49 and 47-54 CAG repeats respectively), had a higher number of children than controls up to more recent times (1935-1950). The reproduction of heterozygotes for large expansions could be analysed only in subjects born after 1950 and provided indirect evidence of a lower than normal number of children. The above results fit a model based on a differential fitness according to the degree of expansion. Such a model predicts that 1) up to relatively recently the frequency of alleles in the low/medium range has been maintained or even increased by the increased fitness of their carriers, as well as by new mutations, and 2) the frequency of large expansions, part of which are lost at each generation, is maintained through further expansions of alleles in the low/medium expansion range. The implications of such a model on linkage disequilibrium and the possible spread of these diseases in future generations are discussed.
Annals of Human Genetics 10/1996; 60(Pt 5):423-35. · 2.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twenty Behcet's disease (BD) patients with or without neurologic signs and symptoms were studied by means of magnetic transcranial stimulation. The most frequent abnormalities were an increase of motor evoked potential latency and a delay of central motor conduction time (CMCT). In 5 out of 9 BD patients with pyramidal signs central motor conduction changes were present. Furthermore, 2 out of 7 patients without neurologic signs and symptoms showed an increased threshold and a prolonged CMCT. The data obtained suggest that this technique is useful not only to confirm the neurologic impairment but also to reveal subclinical or pre-symptomatic central motor involvement in BD subjects.
Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 03/1996; 101(1):42-7.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Affected members of 73 families with a variety of autosomal dominant late onset cerebellar ataxias (ADCAs) were investigated for the trinucleotide (CAG) repeat expansion which is found in pedigrees exhibiting linkage to the SCA1 locus on chromosome 6. Most of the families were too small for linkage analysis. The mutation was only found in ADCA type I, in 19 out of 38 such kindreds investigated (50%). It was slightly more common in Italian (59%) than British (50%) families, and was also found in Malaysian, Bangladeshi and Jamaican kindreds. Overall, ADCA type I patients with the expansion had a lower incidence of hyporeflexia and facial fasciculation than those without. The trinucleotide expansion was not found in eight families with ADCA and maculopathy or 24 kindreds with a pure type of ADCA, confirming that these syndromes are genetically distinct. It was also not detected in 12 patients with sporadic degenerative ataxias. DNA analysis for the SCA1 mutation is useful diagnostically in single patients or small families, and can be used for presymptomatic testing where appropriate.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Trinucleotide repeat expansion has been found in 64 subjects from 19 families: 57 patients with SCA1 and 7 subjects predicted, by haplotype analysis, to carry the mutation. Comparison with a large set of normal chromosomes shows two distinct distributions, with a much wider variation among expanded chromosomes. The sex of transmitting parent plays a major role in the size distribution of expanded alleles, those with > 54 repeats being transmitted by affected fathers exclusively. Our data suggest that alleles with > 54 repeats have a reduced chance of survival; these appear to be replaced in each generation by further expansion of alleles in the low- to medium-expanded repeat range, preferentially in male transmissions. Detailed clinical follow-up of a subset of our patients demonstrates significant relationships between increasing repeat number on expanded chromosomes and earlier age at onset, faster progression of the disease, and earlier age at death.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 06/1994; 54(6):959-65. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The gene for one form of autosomal dominant spinal cerebellar ataxia (SCA1), is mapped by linkage to chromosome 6p, very close to the microsatellite locus D6S89. Eight large Italian kindreds segregating SCA1, as defined by very close linkage to D6S89, were genotyped with five microsatellite markers linked closely to D6S89, all mapping within a 6 cM interval on 6p. Multipoint linkage analysis and haplotypes from recombinants map SCA1 between two of these markers, D6S274 and D6S259, 5-6 cM apart. A single rare four marker haplotype within this interval shows linkage disequilibrium with the disease locus in southern Italy and is transmitted with SCA1 in five kindreds originating from this area.
Human Molecular Genetics 10/1993; 2(9):1383-7. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spermiograms were performed in two young patients with cerebellar ataxia, one familial and the other sporadic. The subjects did not have endocrine abnormalities, but there was MRI evidence of cerebellar atrophy. Light and electron microscope examination revealed sperm abnormalities similar to those described in Purkinje cell degeneration (PCD). PCD is an autosomal recessive mutation observed only in the mouse, characterized by mild ataxia due to the postnatal degeneration of cerebellar Purkinje cells and male sterility due to morphological sperm abnormalities.
Journal of submicroscopic cytology and pathology 08/1993; 25(3):371-5.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The occurrence of muscular pathologies in AZT treated subjects has been evaluated in 67 HIV seropositive outpatients (56 AZT-treated and 11 untreated controls) in a neurological clinical and paraclinical follow-up study. Standard electromyographic and electrodiagnostic examinations, together with muscle enzyme determination, were performed in every subject, and periodically repeated at fixed intervals; in 11 patients a muscle biopsy sample was also obtained. An AZT-related myopathy was diagnosed in 8 biopsied cases; 9 more patients were considered to have AZT myopathy on clinical, EMG and ex juvantibus criteria. Statistical analysis showed that treatment duration was more relevant to the development of the myopathy than AZT dosage, though an individual predisposition could not be excluded, at least in a small number of cases. The risk of developing a toxic myopathy will therefore have to be considered when evaluating long-term effects of AZT therapy.
The Italian Journal of Neurological Sciences 07/1993; 14(5):369-74.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A longitudinal clinical neurological and electrophysiological follow-up study was carried out on 31 HIV1 seropositive outpatients in the asymptomatic or LAS stages of the infection (CDC II-III). The results of clinical examination and multimodal evoked potentials (EP) recording showed a high percentage of abnormalities (42% and 39% of cases respectively); in a statistically significant number of subjects these abnormalities were predictive of subsequent immunological deterioration, thus demonstrating the close relationship between neurological and immunological functions in HIV1 infection.
The Italian Journal of Neurological Sciences 04/1993; 14(2):171-7.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Six families with SCA1 were studied. The clinical data on 35 patients are reported. Cerebellar and pyramidal system involvement was invariably found in association with brainstem, spinal cord and/or peripheral nervous system disorders. In our patients the clinical features appeared concordant when the patients with the same disease duration were compared. Previous reports of SCA1 families had shown great variability in clinical phenotype both interfamilial and intrafamilial. We suggest that the phenotype might appear more homogeneous if disease duration is taken into account.
The Italian Journal of Neurological Sciences 02/1993; 14(1):17-21.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One hundred-twenty nine HIV-1 seropositive patients (39 females, 90 males) were studied by means of pattern visual evoked potential (VEP) and brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP) recording. Utilizing the criteria of the Centers for Disease Control the patients were clinically defined and then subdivided into four groups: group A included patients of category II (n:11); group B patients of category III (n:29); group C patients of category IVa and IVc2 (n:55) and group D patients belonging to the other subgroups of category IV (n:34). EP were altered in 26.35% of the entire group with a marked prevalence of BAEP alterations (21.7%) rather than of VEP (4.65%). A considerable amount of BAEP abnormalities (24.13%) were found in patients with persistent generalized lymphadenopathy (group B). A significant increase of BAEP mean interpeak latencies were observed in group B, C, D patients when compared with those of the control group. On the whole, EP were altered in 20.65% of the neurologically asymptomatic patients. EP alterations may precede any clinical manifestation and can be found during the earlier phases of HIV-1 infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histochemical, electron microscopy and biochemical studies were performed on muscle biopsy specimens from 11 AIDS patients treated with zidovudine. A peculiar association of structural abnormalities and mitochondrial dysfunction was found. Focal cytochrome c oxidase (COX) deficiency was evident in muscle sections from 9 patients, 8 of whom had received long-term treatment while one had been treated for 1 month only. Electron microscopy showed changes in number, size and structure of mitochondria. Biochemical studies proved partial COX and succinate cytochrome c reductase (SCR) deficiency in 4 patients; one patient had only reduced SCR activity. Our data confirm that AZT therapy can cause toxic myopathy with mitochondrial dysfunction.
The Italian Journal of Neurological Sciences 01/1993; 13(9):723-8.