Ludger Schöls

Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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Publications (316)1657.13 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Epileptic encephalopathies are a phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous group of severe epilepsies accompanied by intellectual disability and other neurodevelopmental features. Using next-generation sequencing, we identified four different de novo mutations in KCNA2, encoding the potassium channel KV1.2, in six isolated patients with epileptic encephalopathy (one mutation recurred three times independently). Four individuals presented with febrile and multiple afebrile, often focal seizure types, multifocal epileptiform discharges strongly activated by sleep, mild to moderate intellectual disability, delayed speech development and sometimes ataxia. Functional studies of the two mutations associated with this phenotype showed almost complete loss of function with a dominant-negative effect. Two further individuals presented with a different and more severe epileptic encephalopathy phenotype. They carried mutations inducing a drastic gain-of-function effect leading to permanently open channels. These results establish KCNA2 as a new gene involved in human neurodevelopmental disorders through two different mechanisms, predicting either hyperexcitability or electrical silencing of KV1.2-expressing neurons.
    Nature Genetics 03/2015; DOI:10.1038/ng.3239 · 29.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epileptic encephalopathies are a phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous group of severe epilepsies accompanied by intellectual disability and other neurodevelopmental features –6. Using next-generation sequencing, we identified four different de novo mutations in KCNA2, encoding the potassium channel K V .2, in six isolated patients with epileptic encephalopathy (one mutation recurred three times independently). Four individuals presented with febrile and multiple afebrile, often focal seizure types, multifocal epileptiform discharges strongly activated by sleep, mild to moderate intellectual disability, delayed speech development and sometimes ataxia. Functional studies of the two mutations associated with this phenotype showed almost complete loss of function with a dominant-negative effect. Two further individuals presented with a different and more severe epileptic encephalopathy phenotype. They carried mutations inducing a drastic gain-of-function effect leading to permanently open channels. These results establish KCNA2 as a new gene involved in human neurodevelopmental disorders through two different mechanisms, predicting either hyperexcitability or electrical silencing of K V .2-expressing neurons. Many of the voltage-gated potassium channels (K V 1–K V 12) are expressed in the central nervous system (CNS), having an important role in neuronal excitability and neurotransmitter release 7. Mutations in potassium channel–encoding genes cause different neurological diseases, including benign familial neonatal seizures (KCNQ2, encoding K V 7.2; KCNQ3, encoding K V 7.3) 8–10 , neonatal epileptic encephalopathy (KCNQ2) 11,12 , episodic ataxia type 1 (EA1) (KCNA1, encoding K V 1.1) 13 and peripheral nerve hyperexcitability (KCNA1, KCNQ2) 13–15. In addition, antibodies against K V 1.1 or associated proteins such as contactin-associated protein 2 (CASPR2) or leucine-rich, glioma-inactivated 1 (LGI1) cause limbic encephalitis or neuromyotonia 16. Therefore, potassium channel genes represent interesting candidates for neurodevelopmental disorders. To identify mutations in presumed genetic forms of epilepsy, we designed a targeted resequencing panel 17 comprising 265 known and 220 candidate genes for epilepsy (Supplementary Table 1). Screening a pilot cohort of 33 patients, we identified mutations in known epilepsy-related genes in 16 cases 17. We evaluated the remaining 17 cases for mutations in candidate genes (Supplementary Note), which led to the detection of a heterozygous de novo mutation in KCNA2, c.1214C>T (encoding p.Pro405Leu), affecting the highly conserved pore domain of the voltage-gated potassium channel K V 1.2 (NM_004974, CCDS827). This mutation was not present in control databases (1000 Genomes Project, Exome Variant Server (EVS), dbSNP138 or the Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC) database). The affected female (patient 1) carrying this mutation had unre-markable early development until the onset of epilepsy at 17 months of age. The phenotype included febrile and afebrile alternating hemiclonic seizures and status epilepticus, reminiscent of Dravet syndrome. The electroencephalogram (EEG) showed multifocal spikes with marked activation during sleep. After seizure onset, ataxia and delay of psychomotor and language development became apparent. She had postnatal short stature, growth hormone deficiency and hypothyroidism. Seizures and ataxia responded poorly to antiepileptic drugs (topiramate, oxcarbazepine, valproic acid and bromide), including acetazolamide (known to be effective in EA1 caused by mutations in KCNA1; ref. 18). At last follow-up at 8 years of age, she had remained seizure free for the past 6 months without previous change of medication. We identified further KCNA2 mutations in several parallel studies (Supplementary Fig. 1). First, we performed whole-exome sequenc-ing in 86 parent-offspring trios with epileptic encephalopathy (31 with Dravet syndrome negative for mutations in SCN1A, 39 with myoclonic-atonic epilepsy (MAE) and 16 with electrical status epi-lepticus in slow-wave sleep (ESES)). Second, we performed panel sequencing (Supplementary Note) in 147 adults with a broad spectrum of epilepsy phenotypes associated with intellectual disability. Third, we performed whole-exome sequencing in an adult cohort of 10 independent trios with severe epilepsy and intellectual disability and whole-exome sequencing in another cohort of 12 independent, isolated index cases with early-onset ataxia and epilepsy. We identified six additional independent cases with previously unre-ported heterozygous KCNA2 variants (Table 1, Supplementary Fig. 2 and Supplementary Note). Patient 2 (initially classified as having MAE) carried the de novo mutation c.788T>C (encoding p.Ile263Thr). Patient 3 (intellectual disability with neonatal-onset focal epilepsy and cerebel-lar hypoplasia) carried the variant c.440G>A (encoding p.Arg147Lys), of unknown inheritance. We considered p.Arg147Lys to be a variant of unknown relevance because (i) it could not be confirmed as de novo, (ii) it was predicted to be benign using seven of nine prediction tools, (iii) a lysine occurs naturally at this position in Drosophila melanogaster and zebrafish, and (iv) the change did not show functional consequences (Supplementary Fig. 3, Supplementary Tables 1 and 2, and Supplementary Note). Patient 4 (initially classified as having Dravet
    Nature Genetics 03/2015; · 29.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the hypothesis that AFQ056 (mavoglurant), a selective metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 antagonist, reduces chorea in Huntington's disease (HD). This 32-day randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, proof-of-concept study investigated AFQ056 (25-150 mg [incremental doses], twice-daily) versus placebo in patients with HD. Primary efficacy assessments were the chorea-sum score and orientation index (nondominant hand) from the quantitative motor (Q-Motor) grasping task at day 28. Key secondary efficacy assessments included finger-tapping in the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale-Total Motor Score and Q-Motor measures. Safety and tolerability were assessed. Overall, 42 patients were randomized. At day 28, no improvement was observed on the primary efficacy assessments (P > 0.10) with AFQ056 versus placebo. The Q-Motor speeded-tapping interonset interval variability was reduced with AFQ056 versus placebo for the nondominant hand (P = 0.01). The incidence of adverse events was 66.7% with AFQ056 and 57.1% with placebo. AFQ056 did not reduce choreatic movements in HD, but was well tolerated. The clinical relevance of the Q-Motor findings (speeded-tapping) are unknown and may warrant further investigation. © 2015 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. © 2015 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
    Movement Disorders 02/2015; DOI:10.1002/mds.26174 · 5.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Friedreich's ataxia is a rare autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder. Here we report cross-sectional baseline data to establish the biological and clinical characteristics for a prospective, international, European Friedreich's ataxia database registry. Within the European Friedreich's Ataxia Consortium for Translational Studies (EFACTS) framework, we assessed a cohort of patients with genetically confirmed Friedreich's ataxia. The primary outcome measure was the Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA) and secondary outcome measures were the Inventory of Non-Ataxia Signs (INAS), the performance-based coordination test Spinocerebellar Ataxia Functional Index (SCAFI), the neurocognitive phonemic verbal fluency test, and two quality-of-life measures: the activities of daily living (ADL) part of the Friedreich's Ataxia Rating Scale and EQ-5D. The Friedreich's ataxia cohort was subdivided into three groups: early disease onset (≤14 years), intermediate onset (15-24 years), and late onset (≥25 years), which were compared for clinical characteristics and outcome measures. We used linear regression analysis to estimate the annual decline of clinical outcome measures based on disease duration. This study is registered with, number NCT02069509. We enrolled 592 patients with genetically confirmed Friedreich's ataxia between Sept 15, 2010, and April 30, 2013, at 11 sites in seven European countries. Age of disease onset was inversely correlated with the number of GAA repeats in the frataxin (FXN) gene: every 100 GAA repeats on the smaller repeat allele was associated with a 2·3 year (SE 0·2) earlier onset. Regression analyses showed significant estimated annual worsening of SARA (regression coefficient 0·86 points [SE 0·05], INAS (0·14 points [0·01]), SCAFI Z scores (-0·09 [0·01]), verbal fluency (-0·34 words [0·07]), and ADL (0·64 points [0·04]) during the first 25 years of disease; the regression slope for health-related quality-of-life state from EQ-5D was not significant (-0·33 points [0·18]). For SARA, the predicted annual rate of worsening was significantly higher in early-onset patients (n=354; 1·04 points [0·13]) and intermediate-onset patients (n=137; 1·17 points [0·22]) than in late-onset patients (n=100; 0·56 points [0·10]). The results of this cross-sectional baseline analysis of the EFACTS cohort suggest that earlier disease onset is associated with larger numbers of GAA repeats and more rapid disease progression. The differential estimated progression of ataxia symptoms related to age of onset have implications for the design of clinical trials in Friedreich's ataxia, for which SARA might be the most suitable measure to monitor disease progression. European Commission. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    The Lancet Neurology 01/2015; 14(2). DOI:10.1016/S1474-4422(14)70321-7 · 21.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spinocerebellar ataxia 36 (SCA36) is an autosomal-dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by a large (>650) hexanucleotide GGCCTG repeat expansion in the first intron of the NOP56 gene. The aim of this study is to clarify the prevalence, clinical and genetic features of SCA36. The expansion was tested in 676 unrelated SCA index cases and 727 controls from France, Germany and Japan. Clinical and neuropathological features were investigated in available family members. Normal alleles ranged between 5 and 14 hexanucleotide repeats. Expansions were detected in 12 families in France (prevalence: 1.9% of all French SCAs) including one family each with Spanish, Portuguese or Chinese ancestry, in five families in Japan (1.5% of all Japanese SCAs), but were absent in German patients. All the 17 SCA36 families shared one common haplotype for a 7.5 kb pairs region flanking the expansion. While 27 individuals had typically long expansions, three affected individuals harboured small hexanucleotide expansions of 25, 30 and 31 hexanucleotide repeat-units, demonstrating that such a small expansion could cause the disease. All patients showed slowly progressive cerebellar ataxia frequently accompanied by hearing and cognitive impairments, tremor, ptosis and reduced vibration sense, with the age at onset ranging between 39 and 65 years, and clinical features were indistinguishable between individuals with short and typically long expansions. Neuropathology in a presymptomatic case disclosed that Purkinje cells and hypoglossal neurons are affected. SCA36 is rare with a worldwide distribution. It can be caused by a short GGCCTG expansion and associates various extracerebellar symptoms. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to
    Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 12/2014; DOI:10.1136/jnnp-2014-309153 · 5.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diabetes mellitus and neurodegeneration are common diseases for which shared genetic factors are still only partly known. Here, we show that loss of the BiP (immunoglobulin heavy-chain binding protein) co-chaperone DNAJC3 leads to diabetes mellitus and wide-spread neurodegeneration. We investigated three siblings with juvenile-onset diabetes and central and peripheral neurodegeneration, including ataxia, upper-motor-neuron damage, peripheral neuropathy, hearing loss, and cerebral atrophy. Exome sequencing identified a homozygous stop mutation in DNAJC3. Screening of a diabetes database with 226,194 individuals yielded eight phenotypically similar individuals and one family carrying a homozygous DNAJC3 deletion. DNAJC3 was absent in fibroblasts from all affected subjects in both families. To delineate the phenotypic and mutational spectrum and the genetic variability of DNAJC3, we analyzed 8,603 exomes, including 506 from families affected by diabetes, ataxia, upper-motor-neuron damage, peripheral neuropathy, or hearing loss. This anal-ysis revealed only one further loss-of-function allele in DNAJC3 and no further associations in subjects with only a subset of the features of the main phenotype. Our findings demonstrate that loss-of-function DNAJC3 mutations lead to a monogenic, recessive form of diabetes mellitus in humans. Moreover, they present a common denominator for diabetes and widespread neurodegeneration. This complements findings from mice in which knockout of Dnajc3 leads to diabetes and modifies disease in a neurodegenerative model of Marinesco-Sjögren syndrome. Nonautoimmune diabetes mellitus and neurodegenera-tion are common disorders for which shared genetic factors are still only partly known. Monogenic forms of diabetes include neonatal diabetes (MIM 606176) and maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MIM 606391), both of which arise from mutations that primarily reduce pancreatic b cell function. 1 Although monogenic
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 11/2014; 95(6). DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.10.013 · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cholestenoic acids are formed as intermediates in metabolism of cholesterol to bile acids, and the biosynthetic enzymes that generate cholestenoic acids are expressed in the mammalian CNS. Here, we evaluated the cholestenoic acid profile of mammalian cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and determined that specific cholestenoic acids activate the liver X receptors (LXRs), enhance islet-1 expression in zebrafish, and increase the number of oculomotor neurons in the developing mouse in vitro and in vivo. While 3β,7α-dihydroxycholest-5-en-26-oic acid (3β,7α-diHCA) promoted motor neuron survival in an LXR-dependent manner, 3β-hydroxy-7-oxocholest-5-en-26-oic acid (3βH,7O-CA) promoted maturation of precursors into islet-1+ cells. Unlike 3β,7α-diHCA and 3βH,7O-CA, 3β-hydroxycholest-5-en-26-oic acid (3β-HCA) caused motor neuron cell loss in mice. Mutations in CYP7B1 or CYP27A1, which encode enzymes involved in cholestenoic acid metabolism, result in different neurological diseases, hereditary spastic paresis type 5 (SPG5) and cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX), respectively. SPG5 is characterized by spastic paresis, and similar symptoms may occur in CTX. Analysis of CSF and plasma from patients with SPG5 revealed an excess of the toxic LXR ligand, 3β-HCA, while patients with CTX and SPG5 exhibited low levels of the survival-promoting LXR ligand 3β,7α-diHCA. Moreover, 3β,7α-diHCA prevented the loss of motor neurons induced by 3β-HCA in the developing mouse midbrain in vivo.Our results indicate that specific cholestenoic acids selectively work on motor neurons, via LXR, to regulate the balance between survival and death.
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    ABSTRACT: To retrospectively determine the frequency of N-Methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptor (NMDAR) autoantibodies in patients with different forms of dementia. Clinical characterization of 660 patients with dementia, neurodegenerative disease without dementia, other neurological disorders and age-matched healthy controls combined with retrospective analysis of serum or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for the presence of NMDAR antibodies. Antibody binding to receptor mutants and the effect of immunotherapy were determined in a subgroup of patients. Serum NMDAR antibodies of IgM, IgA, or IgG subtypes were detected in 16.1% of 286 dementia patients (9.5% IgM, 4.9% IgA, and 1.7% IgG) and in 2.8% of 217 cognitively healthy controls (1.9% IgM and 0.9% IgA). Antibodies were rarely found in CSF. The highest prevalence of serum antibodies was detected in patients with "unclassified dementia" followed by progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal syndrome, Parkinson's disease-related dementia, and primary progressive aphasia. Among the unclassified dementia group, 60% of 20 patients had NMDAR antibodies, accompanied by higher frequency of CSF abnormalities, and subacute or fluctuating disease progression. Immunotherapy in selected prospective cases resulted in clinical stabilization, loss of antibodies, and improvement of functional imaging parameters. Epitope mapping showed varied determinants in patients with NMDAR IgA-associated cognitive decline. Serum IgA/IgM NMDAR antibodies occur in a significant number of patients with dementia. Whether these antibodies result from or contribute to the neurodegenerative disorder remains unknown, but our findings reveal a subgroup of patients with high antibody levels who can potentially benefit from immunotherapy.
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    ABSTRACT: Patterns of dysarthria in spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) and their discriminative features still remain elusive. Here we aimed to compare dysarthria profiles of patients with (SCA3 and SCA6 vs. Friedreich ataxia (FRDA), focussing on three particularly vulnerable speech parameters (speaking rate, prosodic modulation, and intelligibility) in ataxic dysarthria as well as on a specific oral non-speech variable of ataxic impairment, i.e., the irregularity of oral motor diadochokinesis (DDK). 30 Patients with SCA3, SCA6, and FRDA, matched for group size (n = 10 each), disease severity, and disease duration produced various speech samples and DDK tasks. A discriminant analysis was used to differentiate speech and non-speech parameters between groups. Regularity of DDK was specifically impaired in SCA3, whereas impairments of speech parameters, i.e., rate and modulation were stronger affected in SCA6. Speech parameters are particularly vulnerable in SCA6, while non-speech oral motor features are notably impaired in SCA3.
    Journal of Neurology 09/2014; 262(1). DOI:10.1007/s00415-014-7511-8 · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with axonal spheroids (HDLS) is a rare autosomal dominant disease caused by mutations within the colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) gene. While a small number of reports on imaging findings in routine MRI exist, reported imaging findings in DWI and spectroscopy are scarce, and limited to not genetically proven case reports. We assessed MRI including DWI and MR spectroscopy in six patients with HDLS and two asymptomatic mutation carriers. A total of 13 MRIs were evaluated and a score of the white-matter lesion (WML) load was calculated. The course of MR abnormalities was followed for 6-19 months in four patients and 95 months in one carrier. MRI revealed widespread white-matter lesions of patchy or confluent pattern especially in the frontal and occipital lobe. The pyramidal tract was less affected than the surrounding tissue in all symptomatic patients on conventional T2WI. Three of four cases with DWI showed small dots of diffusion restriction within WML. Spectroscopy showed increased levels of mIns, Cho and lactate while NAA was decreased. Asymptomatic mutation carriers had, for the age of the patients, unusually pronounced unspecific WMLs. No diffusion restriction or alterations in metabolite levels could be detected in asymptomatic mutation carriers. Microbleeds were not found in any patient. Diffusion restriction seems to be a typical imaging pattern visible in patients with active disease progression in HDLS. Spectroscopic findings and the absence of microbleeds differ clearly from reported findings in CADASIL and subcortical arteriosclerotic encephalopathy. While the distribution and character of WMLs in asymptomatic cases remain unspecific they are likely to represent subclinical markers of HDLS.
    Journal of Neurology 09/2014; DOI:10.1007/s00415-014-7509-2 · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSP) constitute a rare and highly heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative disorders, defined clinically by progressive lower limb spasticity and pyramidal weakness. Autosomal recessive HSP as well as sporadic cases present a significant diagnostic challenge. Mutations in AP5Z1, a gene playing a role in intracellular membrane trafficking, have been recently reported to be associated with spastic paraplegia type 48 (SPG48). Our objective was to determine the relative frequency and clinical relevance of AP5Z1 mutations in a large cohort of 127 HSP patients. We applied a targeted next-generation sequencing approach to analyze all coding exons of the AP5Z1 gene. With the output of high-quality reads and a mean coverage of 51-fold, we demonstrated a robust detection of variants. One 43-year-old female with sporadic complicated paraplegia showed two heterozygous nonsynonymous variants of unknown significance (VUS3; p.[R292W];[(T756I)]). Thus, AP5Z1 gene mutations are rare, at least in Europeans. Due to its low frequency, systematic genetic testing for AP5Z1 mutations is not recommended until larger studies are performed to add further evidence. Our findings demonstrate that amplicon-based deep sequencing is technically feasible and allows a compact molecular characterization of multiple HSP patients with high accuracy.
    09/2014; 2(5). DOI:10.1002/mgg3.87
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    ABSTRACT: Background We describe the clinical characteristics of a Swedish family with autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia, sensory and autonomic neuropathy, additional neurological features and unknown genetic cause. Methods Fourteen affected family members were identified. Their disorder was characterized by neurological examination, MRI, electroneurography, electromyography, MIBG-scintigraphy, and tilt-testing. Results The disorder presented as a balance and gait disturbance starting between 16 and 47 years of age. Cerebellar ataxia progressed slowly over the course of decades, and MRI showed mild to moderate cerebellar atrophy. Sensory axonal polyneuropathy was the most prominent additional feature and occurred in all patients examined. Autonomic neuropathy caused pronounced orthostatic dysregulation in at least four patients. Several affected members showed muscle wasting, and mild upper or lower motor neuron signs were documented. Patients had no nystagmus but slow or hypometric horizontal saccades and ocular motor apraxia. Cognition remained unimpaired, and there were no non-neurological disease manifestations. The disorder affected men and women in successive generations in a pattern compatible with autosomal dominant inheritance without evidence of anticipation. A second family where 7 members had very similar symptoms was identified and its origin traced back to the same village in southern Sweden as that of the first family’s ancestors. All relevant known genetic causes of cerebellar ataxia were excluded by a novel next-generation sequencing approach. Conclusion We present two probably related Swedish families with a characteristic and novel clinical syndrome of cerebellar ataxia and sensory polyneuropathy. The study serves as a basis for the mapping of the underlying genetic cause.
    Parkinsonism & Related Disorders 07/2014; 20(7). DOI:10.1016/j.parkreldis.2014.03.029 · 4.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The genetic diagnosis in inherited optic neuropathies often remains challenging, and the emergence of complex neurological phenotypes that involve optic neuropathy is puzzling. Here we unravel two novel principles of genetic mechanisms in optic neuropathies: deep intronic OPA1 mutations, which explain the disease in several so far unsolved cases; and an intralocus OPA1 modifier, which explains the emergence of syndromic 'optic atrophy plus' phenotypes in several families. First, we unravelled a deep intronic mutation 364 base pairs 3' of exon 4b in OPA1 by in-depth investigation of a family with severe optic atrophy plus syndrome in which conventional OPA1 diagnostics including gene dosage analyses were normal. The mutation creates a new splice acceptor site resulting in aberrant OPA1 transcripts with retained intronic sequence and subsequent translational frameshift as shown by complementary DNA analysis. In patient fibroblasts we demonstrate nonsense mediated messenger RNA decay, reduced levels of OPA1 protein, and impairment of mitochondrial dynamics. Subsequent site-specific screening of >360 subjects with unexplained inherited optic neuropathy revealed three additional families carrying this deep intronic mutation and a base exchange four nucleotides upstream, respectively, thus confirming the clinical significance of this mutational mechanism. Second, in all severely affected patients of the index family, the deep intronic mutation occurred in compound heterozygous state with an exonic OPA1 missense variant (p.I382M; NM_015560.2). The variant alone did not cause a phenotype, even in homozygous state indicating that this long debated OPA1 variant is not pathogenic per se, but acts as a phenotypic modifier if it encounters in trans with an OPA1 mutation. Subsequent screening of whole exomes from >600 index patients identified a second family with severe optic atrophy plus syndrome due to compound heterozygous p.I382M, thus confirming this mechanism. In summary, we provide genetic and functional evidence that deep intronic mutations in OPA1 can cause optic atrophy and explain disease in a substantial share of families with unsolved inherited optic neuropathies. Moreover, we show that an OPA1 modifier variant explains the emergence of optic atrophy plus phenotypes if combined in trans with another OPA1 mutation. Both mutational mechanisms identified in this study-deep intronic mutations and intragenic modifiers-might represent more generalizable mechanisms that could be found also in a wide range of other neurodegenerative and optic neuropathy diseases.
    Brain 06/2014; 137. DOI:10.1093/brain/awu165 · 10.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gene coding for Sequestosome 1 (SQSTM1) have been genetically associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Paget disease of bone. In the present study, we analyzed the SQSTM1 coding sequence for mutations in an extended cohort of 1,808 patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), ascertained within the European Early-Onset Dementia consortium. As control dataset, we sequenced 1,625 European control individuals and analyzed whole-exome sequence data of 2,274 German individuals (total n = 3,899). Association of rare SQSTM1 mutations was calculated in a meta-analysis of 4,332 FTLD and 10,240 control alleles. We identified 25 coding variants in FTLD patients of which 10 have not been described. Fifteen mutations were absent in the control individuals (carrier frequency <0.00026) whilst the others were rare in both patients and control individuals. When pooling all variants with a minor allele frequency <0.01, an overall frequency of 3.2 % was calculated in patients. Rare variant association analysis between patients and controls showed no difference over the whole protein, but suggested that rare mutations clustering in the UBA domain of SQSTM1 may influence disease susceptibility by doubling the risk for FTLD (RR = 2.18 [95 % CI 1.24-3.85]; corrected p value = 0.042). Detailed histopathology demonstrated that mutations in SQSTM1 associate with widespread neuronal and glial phospho-TDP-43 pathology. With this study, we provide further evidence for a putative role of rare mutations in SQSTM1 in the genetic etiology of FTLD and showed that, comparable to other FTLD/ALS genes, SQSTM1 mutations are associated with TDP-43 pathology.
    Acta Neuropathologica 06/2014; DOI:10.1007/s00401-014-1298-7 · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Erythropoietin (EPO) derivatives have been found to increase frataxin levels in Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) in vitro. This multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase II clinical trial aimed to evaluate the safety and tolerability of Lu AA24493 (carbamylated EPO; CEPO). Thirty-six ambulatory FRDA patients harboring >400 GAA repeats were 2:1 randomly assigned to either CEPO in a fixed dose (325 µg thrice-weekly) or placebo. Safety and tolerability were assessed up to 103 days after baseline. Secondary outcome measures of efficacy (exploration of biomarkers and ataxia ratings) were performed up to 43 days after baseline. All patients received six doses of study medication. Adverse events were equally distributed between CEPO and placebo. There was no evidence for immunogenicity of CEPO after multiple dosing. Biomarkers, such as frataxin, or measures for oxidative stress and ataxia ratings did not differ between CEPO and placebo. CEPO was safe and well tolerated in a 2-week treatment phase. Secondary outcome measures remained without apparent difference between CEPO and placebo. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
    Movement Disorders 06/2014; 29(7). DOI:10.1002/mds.25836 · 5.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To identify a novel disease gene in 2 families with autosomal recessive hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). We used whole-exome sequencing to identify the underlying genetic disease cause in 2 families with apparently autosomal recessive spastic paraplegia. Endogenous expression as well as subcellular localization of wild-type and mutant protein were studied to support the pathogenicity of the identified mutations. In 2 families, we identified compound heterozygous or homozygous mutations in the kinesin gene KIF1C to cause hereditary spastic paraplegia type 58 (SPG58). SPG58 can be complicated by cervical dystonia and cerebellar ataxia. The same mutations in a heterozygous state result in a mild or subclinical phenotype. KIF1C mutations in SPG58 affect the domains involved in adenosine triphosphate hydrolysis and microtubule binding, key functions for this microtubule-based motor protein. KIF1C is the third kinesin gene involved in the pathogenesis of HSPs and is characterized by a mild dominant and a more severe recessive disease phenotype. The identification of KIF1C as an HSP disease gene further supports the key role of intracellular trafficking processes in the pathogenesis of hereditary axonopathies.
    Neurology 05/2014; 82(22). DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000479 · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 04/2014; DOI:10.1136/jnnp-2014-307793 · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gene STUB1, encoding the protein CHIP (C-terminus of HSC70-interacting protein), have recently been suggested as a cause of recessive ataxia based on the findings in few Chinese families. Here we aimed to investigate the phenotypic and genotypic spectrum of STUB1 mutations, and to assess their frequency in different Caucasian disease cohorts. 300 subjects with degenerative ataxia (n = 167) or spastic paraplegia (n = 133) were screened for STUB1 variants by whole-exome-sequencing (n = 204) or shotgun-fragment-library-sequencing (n = 96). To control for the specificity of STUB1 variants, we screened an additional 1707 exomes from 891 index families with other neurological diseases. We identified 3 ataxia patients (3/167 = 1.8%) with 4 novel missense mutations in STUB1, including 3 mutations in its tetratricopeptide-repeat domain. All patients showed evidence of pyramidal tract damage. Cognitive impairment was present only in one and hypogonadism in none of them. Ataxia did not start before age 48 years in one subject. No recessive STUB1 variants were identified in families with other neurological diseases, demonstrating that STUB1 variants are not simply rare polymorphisms ubiquitous in neurodegenerative disease. STUB1-disease occurs also in Caucasian ataxia populations (1.8%). Our results expand the genotypic spectrum of STUB1-disease, showing that pathogenic mutations affect also the tetratricopeptide-repeat domain, thus providing clinical evidence for the functional importance of this domain. Moreover, they further delineate the phenotypic core features of STUB1-ataxia. Pyramidal tract damage is a common accompanying feature and can include lower limb spasticity, thus adding STUB1-ataxia to the differential diagnosis of "spastic ataxias". However, STUB1 is rare in subjects with predominant spastic paraplegia (0/133). In contrast to previous reports, STUB1-ataxia can start even above age 40 years, and neither hypogonadism nor prominent cognitive impairment are obligatory features.
    Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 04/2014; 9(1):57. DOI:10.1186/1750-1172-9-57 · 3.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background and purposeIn chronic progressive spasticity of the legs many rare causes have to be considered, including leukodystrophies due to neurometabolic disorders. To determine the frequency of leukodystrophies and the phenotypic spectrum patients with cryptic spasticity of the legs were screened for underlying neurometabolic abnormalities.Methods Seventy-six index patients presenting with adult-onset lower limb spasticity of unknown cause consistent with autosomal recessive inheritance were included in this study. Screening included serum levels of very long chain fatty acids for X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy/adrenomyeloneuropathy and lysosomal enzyme activities in leukocytes for metachromatic leukodystrophy, GM1-gangliosidosis, Tay−Sachs, Sandhoff and Krabbe disease. If clinical evidence was indicative of other types of leukodystrophies, additional genetic testing was conducted. Clinical characterization included neurological and psychiatric features and magnetic resonance imaging.ResultsBasic screening detected one index patient with metachromatic leukodystrophy, two patients with Krabbe disease and four patients with adrenoleukodystrophy/adrenomyeloneuropathy. Additional genetic testing revealed one patient with vanishing white matter disease. These patients accounted for an overall share of 11% of leukodystrophies. One patient with Krabbe disease and three patients with adrenoleukodystrophy/adrenomyeloneuropathy presented with pure spasticity of the lower limbs, whilst one patient each with Krabbe disease, metachromatic leukodystrophy and adrenoleukodystrophy/adrenomyeloneuropathy showed additional complicating symptoms.Conclusions Adult patients presenting with cryptic spasticity of the legs should be screened for underlying X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy/adrenomyeloneuropathy and lysosomal disorders, irrespective of the presence of additional complicating symptoms. Leukodystrophies may manifest as late as the sixth decade and hyperintensity of cerebral white matter on magnetic resonance FLAIR images is not obligatory.
    European Journal of Neurology 04/2014; 21(7). DOI:10.1111/ene.12423 · 3.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sanfilippo syndrome type A (mucopolysaccharidosis IIIA - MPS IIIA) is an autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disorder caused by a deficiency in sulfamidase. Two daughters (13 and 11 years old) of a consanguineous Palestinian family from the Israeli Arab community were investigated clinically and genetically for the presence of progressive neurodegenerative disease, psychomotor retardation and behavioral abnormalities. Development was normal up to one year of age. Thereafter, progressive motor and speech delay started. Metabolic screening including glycosaminoglycans, karyotype testing and magnetic resonance imaging were normal. Later in the disease, they developed severe spasticity and intellectual disability with autistic features and incontinence. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed diffuse hypomyelination with thinning of the corpus callosum. Genetic examination through whole exome sequencing revealed a homozygous mutation c.416C >T (p.T139M) in the N-sulfoglucosamine sulfohydrolase (SGSH) gene. Repeated biochemical testing at age 11 and 13 revealed increased levels of glycosaminoglycans confirming the diagnosis of Sanfilippo syndrome type A. These cases were considered to be the first report of Sanfilippo syndrome in Israel. We recommend that if similar clinical features are present during childhood, it is preferred to go directly and primarily for a genetic diagnosis of Sanfilippo syndrome, then secondarily for other lysosomal storage disorders that may also be involved.
    Journal of Medical Case Reports 02/2014; 8(1):78. DOI:10.1186/1752-1947-8-78

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9k Citations
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  • 2005–2015
    • Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research
      Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2010–2014
    • Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
    • Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg
      Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
    • University of Barcelona
      • Department of Basic Psychology
      Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
    • Universität Bern
      Berna, Bern, Switzerland
  • 2003–2014
    • University of Tuebingen
      • • Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research
      • • Department of Neurology
      Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2013
    • University of Bonn - Medical Center
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
    • RWTH Aachen University
      • Department of Neurology
      Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2005–2013
    • Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
      • Dr. Senckenbergische Anatomie
      Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany
  • 2012
    • University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
      Miami, Florida, United States
    • University of Duisburg-Essen
      • Erwin L. Hahn Institute for Magnetic Resonance Imaging
      Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2002–2012
    • University of Bonn
      • Department of Neurobiology
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2011
    • Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
      • Neurobiology
      Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
  • 2010–2011
    • Center for Human Genetics and Laboratory Medicine
      Planeck, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2009
    • Danube University Krems
      Krems, Lower Austria, Austria
    • University of Oslo
      • Faculty of Medicine
      Oslo, Oslo, Norway
    • University Medical Center Hamburg - Eppendorf
      Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
    • Universitätsmedizin Göttingen
      • Division of Neurodegeneration and Restorative Research
      Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • 2008–2009
    • Technische Universität Dresden
      • Abteilung Neuroradiologie
      Dresden, Saxony, Germany
  • 2006
    • University of Groningen
      • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
      Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
  • 1991–2005
    • Ruhr-Universität Bochum
      • Neurological Clinic
      Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2004
    • Hannover Medical School
      • Institute for Human Genetics
      Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany
    • St. Vincenz-Krankenhaus Paderborn
      Paderborn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2002–2003
    • University of Rostock
      Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
  • 1995–2003
    • St. Josef-Hospital
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 1999
    • Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich
      • Department of Neurology
      München, Bavaria, Germany
  • 1994
    • University of Wuerzburg
      • Department of Neurology
      Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany