[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH) is a genetically heterogeneous disease characterized by a pronounced reduction in volume of otherwise architectonical normal brains and intellectual deficit. Here, we summarize the genetic causes of MCPH types 1-12 known to date.
European journal of paediatric neurology: EJPN: official journal of the European Paediatric Neurology Society 04/2014; · 2.01 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic approach to microcephaly in childhood and to identify the prevalence of the various underlying causes/disease entities.
We conducted a retrospective study on a cohort of 680 children with microcephaly (399 males, 281 females; mean age at presentation 7-8mo, range 1mo-5y) from patients presenting to Charité - University Medicine Berlin (n=474) and University Hospital Dresden (n=206). Patient discharge letters were searched electronically to identify cases of microcephaly, and then the medical records of these patients were used to analyze parameters for distribution.
The putative aetiology for microcephaly was ascertained in 59% of all patients, leaving 41% without a definite diagnosis. In the cohort of pathogenetically defined microcephaly, genetic causes were identified in about half of the patients, perinatal brain damage accounted for 45%, and postnatal brain damage for 3% of the cases. Microcephaly was associated with intellectual impairment in 65% of participants, epilepsy was diagnosed in 43%, and ophthalmological disorders were found in 30%. Brain magnetic resonance imaging revealed abnormalities in 76% of participants.
Microcephaly remains a poorly defined condition, and a uniform diagnostic approach is urgently needed. A definite aetiological diagnosis is important in order to predict the prognosis and offer genetic counselling. Identifying gene mutations as causes of microcephaly increases our knowledge of brain development and the clinical spectrum of microcephaly. We therefore propose a standardized initial diagnostic approach to microcephaly.
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 03/2014; · 2.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interstitial deletions of chromosome 12p are rare, and the phenotype spectrum is therefore still unknown. The thirteen patients reported so far suffer from developmental delay, optic nerve hypoplasia, micropenis, hypoplastic hair and skin, oligodontia, brachydactyly, and arterial hypertension. We report a de novo 12p12.2–p11.22 deletion of 9.2 Mb detected by array CGH analysis in a boy with global developmental delay, muscular hypotonia, postnatal microcephaly, facial dysmorphism including small ears, epicanthus, broad nasal bridge and hypoplastic nostrils. In addition, the patient had optic nerve atrophy, inverted nipples, micropenis, and a hemangioma. The deleted region encompasses more than 40 reference genes. We compare phenotype and deletion extent of our index patient to that of previous reports and thereby contribute to the understanding of interstitial 12p deletion phenotypes. Knowledge of the pattern of this deletion phenotype will help clinicians to diagnose this abnormality in their patients and to counsel the parents accordingly. Further descriptions may be able to contribute to the clarification.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH) is a rare neurodevelopmental disease with severe microcephaly at birth due to a pronounced reduction in brain volume and intellectual disability. Biallelic mutations in the WD repeat-containing protein 62 gene WDR62 are the genetic cause of MCPH2. However, the exact underlying pathomechanism of MCPH2 remains to be clarified.Methods/results: We characterized the clinical, radiological, and cellular features that add to the human MCPH2 phenotype. Exome sequencing followed by Sanger sequencing in a German family with two affected daughters with primary microcephaly revealed in the index patient the compound heterozygous mutations c.1313G>A (p.R438H) / c.2864-2867delACAG (p.D955Afs*112) of WDR62, the second of which is novel. Radiological examination displayed small frontal lobes, corpus callosum hypoplasia, simplified hippocampal gyration, and cerebellar hypoplasia. We investigated the cellular phenotype in patient-derived lymphoblastoid cells and compared it with that of healthy female controls. WDR62 expression in the patient's immortalized lymphocytes was deranged, and mitotic spindle defects as well as abnormal centrosomal protein localization were apparent.
We propose that a disruption of centrosome integrity and/or spindle organization may play an important role in the development of microcephaly in MCPH2.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is one of the most common hereditary degenerative neuromuscular diseases and caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene. The objective of the retrospective study was to describe growth and psychomotor development of patients with DMD and to detect a possible genotype-phenotype correlation. Data from 263 patients with DMD (mean age 7.1 years) treated at the Departments of Pediatric Neurology in three German University Hospitals was assessed with respect to body measurements (length, weight, body mass index BMI, head circumference OFC), motor and cognitive development as well as genotype (site of mutation). Anthropometric measures and developmental data were compared to those of a reference population and deviations were analyzed for their frequency in the cohort as well as in relation to the genotypes. Corticosteroid therapy was implemented in 29 from 263 patients. Overall 30% of the patients exhibit a short statue (length < 3rd centile) with onset early in development at 2-5 years of age, and this is even more prevalent when steroid therapy is applied (45% of patients with steroid therapy). The BMI shows a rightwards shift (68% > 50th centile) and the OFC a leftwards shift (65% < 50th centile, 5% microcephaly). Gross motor development is delayed in a third of the patients (mean age at walking 18.3 months, 30% > 18 months, 8% > 24 months). Almost half of the patients show cognitive impairment (26% learning disability, 17% intellectual disability). Although there is no strict genotype-phenotype correlation, particularly mutations in the distal part of the dystrophin gene are frequently associated with short stature and a high rate of microcephaly as well as cognitive impairment.
European journal of paediatric neurology: EJPN: official journal of the European Paediatric Neurology Society 09/2013; · 2.01 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: •47,XYY syndrome is a frequent sex chromosome aneuploidy.•Overview of characteristic symptoms of 47,XXY•First report of 47,XYY and microcephaly in a preterm child•Brief differential diagnosis of microcephaly
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Primary autosomal recessive microcephaly (MCPH) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder that results in severe microcephaly at birth with pronounced reduction in brain volume, particularly of the neocortex, simplified cortical gyration and intellectual disability. Homozygous mutations in the Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 regulatory subunit-associated protein 2 gene CDK5RAP2 are the cause of MCPH3. Despite considerable interest in MCPH as a model disorder for brain development, the underlying pathomechanism has not been definitively established and only four pedigrees with three CDK5RAP2 mutations have been reported. Specifically for MCPH3, no detailed radiological or histological descriptions exist.Methods/Results: We sought to characterize the clinical and radiological features and pathological cellular processes that contribute to the human MCPH3 phenotype. Haplotype analysis using microsatellite markers around the MCPH1-7 and PNKP loci in an Italian family with two sons with primary microcephaly, revealed possible linkage to the MCPH3 locus. Sequencing of the coding exons and exon/intron splice junctions of the CDK5RAP2 gene identified homozygosity for the novel nonsense mutation, c.4441C > T (p.Arg1481*), in both affected sons. cMRI showed microcephaly, simplified gyral pattern and hypogenesis of the corpus callosum. The cellular phenotype was assessed in EBV-transformed lymphocyte cell lines established from the two affected sons and compared with healthy male controls. CDK5RAP2 protein levels were below detection level in immortalized lymphocytes from the patients. Moreover, mitotic spindle defects and disrupted gamma-tubulin localization to the centrosome were apparent. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that spindle defects and a disruption of centrosome integrity play an important role in the development of microcephaly in MCPH3.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chromosome 18 abnormalities rank among the most common autosomal anomalies with 18q being the most frequently affected. A deletion of 18q has been attributed to microcephaly, mental retardation, short stature, facial dysmorphism, myelination disorders, limb and genitourinary malformations and congenital aural atresia. On the other hand, duplications of 18q have been associated with the phenotype of Edwards syndrome. Critical chromosomal regions for both phenotypes are contentious. In this report, we describe the first case of an 11-year old male with a combined interstitial duplication 18q22.1, triplication 18q22.1q22.2 and terminal deletion 18q22.2q23 with phenotypic features of isolated 18q deletion syndrome and absence of phenotypic features characteristic of Edwards syndrome despite duplication of the suggested critical region. This report allows for reevaluation of proposed critical intervals for the phenotypes in deletion 18q syndrome and Edwards syndrome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:
The concept of inflammation-induced sensitization is emerging in the field of perinatal brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer disease, and multiple sclerosis. However, mechanisms underpinning this process remain unidentified.
We combined in vivo systemic lipopolysaccharide-induced or interleukin (IL)-1β-induced sensitization of neonatal and adult rodent cortical neurons to excitotoxic neurodegeneration with in vitro IL-1β sensitization of human and rodent neurons to excitotoxic neurodegeneration. Within these inflammation-induced sensitization models, we assessed metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR) signaling and regulation.
We demonstrate for the first time that group I mGluRs mediate inflammation-induced sensitization to neuronal excitotoxicity in neonatal and adult neurons across species. Inflammation-induced G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) downregulation and genetic deletion of GRK2 mimicked the sensitizing effect of inflammation on excitotoxic neurodegeneration. Thus, we identify GRK2 as a potential molecular link between inflammation and mGluR-mediated sensitization.
Collectively, our findings indicate that inflammation-induced sensitization is universal across species and ages and that group I mGluRs and GRK2 represent new avenues for neuroprotection in perinatal and adult neurological disorders.
Annals of Neurology 02/2013; · 11.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: True microcephaly (head circumference ≤-3SD), either primary (present at birth) or secondary (of postnatal onset) results from an imbalance between progenitor cell production and cell death that lead to a reduced number of neuronal and glial cells within the brain, resulting in reduced brain growth. Primary non-syndromal microcephalies are recessive disorders resulting from abnormal control of mitotic spindle and cell cycle kinetics in progenitor cells. Microcephaly is also a frequent sign of defects in DNA double- and/or single-strand break repair and in nucleotide excision repair, in which it often is associated with general growth impairment. In these etiologies, cognitive functions are reasonably well preserved despite severe reduction in brain volume. Neuronal migration defects are often associated with secondary microcephaly, as are anomalies of telencephalic cleavage. Secondary microcephalies are often associated with increased neuronal death, and can be associated with metabolic disorders such as serine deficiency or thiamine pyrophosphate transporter deficiency. Microcephaly can be associated with hundreds of syndromal congenital anomalies, including many chromosomal disorders. Genetic etiologies of developmental microcephalies are reviewed.
Handbook of Clinical Neurology 01/2013; 111:129-41.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Angelman syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by mental retardation, severe speech disorder, facial dysmorphism, secondary microcephaly, ataxia, seizures, and abnormal behaviors such as easily provoked laughter. It is most frequently caused by a de novo maternal deletion of chromosome 15q11-q13 (about 70-90%), but can also be caused by paternal uniparental disomy of chromosome 15q11-q13 (3-7%), an imprinting defect (2-4%) or in mutations in the ubiquitin protein ligase E3A gene UBE3A mostly leading to frame shift mutation. In addition, for patients with overlapping clinical features (Angelman-like syndrome), mutations in methyl-CpG binding protein 2 gene MECP2 and cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5 gene CDKL5 as well as a microdeletion of 2q23.1 including the methyl-CpG binding domain protein 5 gene MBD5 have been described. Here, we describe a patient who carries a de novo 5Mb-deletion of chromosome 15q11.2-q13.1 known to be associated with Angelman syndrome and a further, maternally inherited deletion 2q21.3 (~364 kb) of unknown significance. In addition to classic features of Angelman syndrome, she presented with severe infections in the first year of life, a symptom that has not been described in patients with Angelman syndrome. The 15q11.2-q13.1 deletion contains genes critical for Prader-Willi syndrome, the Angelman syndrome causing genes UBE3A and ATP10A/C, and several non-imprinted genes: GABRB3 and GABRA5 (both encoding subunits of GABA A receptor), GOLGA6L2, HERC2 and OCA2 (associated with oculocutaneous albinism II). The deletion 2q21.3 includes exons of the genes RAB3GAP1 (associated with Warburg Micro syndrome) and ZRANB3 (not disease-associated). Despite the normal phenotype of the mother, the relevance of the 2q21.3 microdeletion for the phenotype of the patient cannot be excluded, and further case reports will need to address this point.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activated microglia play a central role in the inflammatory and excitotoxic component of various acute and chronic neurological disorders. However, the mechanisms leading to their activation in the latter context are poorly understood, particularly the involvement of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs), which are critical for excitotoxicity in neurons. We hypothesized that microglia express functional NMDARs and that their activation would trigger neuronal cell death in the brain by modulating inflammation.
We demonstrate that microglia express NMDARs in the murine and human central nervous system and that these receptors are functional in vitro. We show that NMDAR stimulation triggers microglia activation in vitro and secretion of factors that induce cell death of cortical neurons. These damaged neurons are further shown to activate microglial NMDARs and trigger a release of neurotoxic factors from microglia in vitro, indicating that microglia can signal back to neurons and possibly induce, aggravate, and/or maintain neurologic disease. Neuronal cell death was significantly reduced through pharmacological inhibition or genetically induced loss of function of the microglial NMDARs. We generated Nr1 LoxP(+/+) LysM Cre(+/-) mice lacking the NMDAR subunit NR1 in cells of the myeloid lineage. In this model, we further demonstrate that a loss of function of the essential NMDAR subunit NR1 protects from excitotoxic neuronal cell death in vivo and from traumatic brain injury.
Our findings link inflammation and excitotoxicity in a potential vicious circle and indicate that an activation of the microglial NMDARs plays a pivotal role in neuronal cell death in the perinatal and adult brain. ANN NEUROL 2012;72:536-549.
Annals of Neurology 10/2012; 72(4):536-49. · 11.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Homozygous mutations in the cyclin-dependent kinase-5 regulatory subunit-associated protein 2 gene CDK5RAP2 cause primary autosomal recessive microcephaly (MCPH). MCPH is characterized by a pronounced reduction of brain volume, particularly of the cerebral cortex, and mental retardation. Though it is a rare developmental disorder, MCPH has moved into the spotlight of neuroscience because of its proposed central role in stem-cell biology and brain development. Investigation of the neural basis of genetically defined MCPH has been limited to animal studies and neuroimaging of affected patients as no neuropathological studies have been published. In the present study, we depict the spatiotemporal expression of CDK5RAP2 in the developing brain of mouse and human. We found intriguing concordance between regions of high CDK5RAP2 expression in the mouse and sites of pathology suggested by neuroimaging studies in humans and mouse. Our findings in human tissue confirm those in mouse tissues, underlining the function of CDK5RAP2 in cell proliferation and arguing for a conserved role of this protein in the development of the mammalian cerebral cortex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene expression analysis via quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) is a key approach in biological and medical research. Here, variations between runs and samples are compensated for by in-parallel analysis of reference genes, which require a most stable expression throughout all samples and experimental procedures to function as internal standards. In reality, there is no universal reference gene; but rather, assumed reference genes vary widely among various cell types. This demands an evaluation of reference genes for each specific experimental purpose, especially in the case of developmental studies. The aim of the present study was to identify suitable reference genes for gene expression analysis in the developing murine brain neocortex in vivo and in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC) throughout differentiation in vitro.
The five candidate genes Actb, 18s, Gapdh, Hprt, and RpII were analyzed throughout development in vivo and in vitro using the quartiles of C(q) values, fold change, coefficient of variation (CV) and the difference between maximum minus twofold standard deviation and mean as the criteria to evaluate their expression stability.
We found that RpII was the most stable expressed gene in mESC throughout differentiation, while in the developing murine neocortex Gapdh showed the highest expression stability.
Based on our results, we suggest for gene expression analysis in the context of neurodevelopment the usage of RpII as a reference gene for mESC and Gapdh or Hprt for the murine neocortex.
Neurological Research 06/2012; 34(7):664-8. · 1.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In contrast to drugs established to treat neonatal seizures, levetiracetam shows little neurotoxicity in experimental animal models and has good safety records in adults and children. Here, we present results from a survey on the off-label use of levetiracetam in newborn infants among neonatologists and pediatric neurologists in German university hospitals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microglia, the resident immune cells of the mammalian central nervous system (CNS), play a pivotal role in both physiological and pathological conditions such as the restoration of CNS integrity and the progression of neurodegenerative disorders. Extensive data have been published that describe neuroinflammation by microglial activation to have detrimental consequences on the developing and mature brain. On the other hand, a properly directed and limited inflammatory response is known to be a natural healing process after an insult in several other tissues. Thus, it is not surprising that research results illustrating benefits of neuroinflammation have been emerging over the past decade. Inflammation-mediated benefits for CNS outcomes include mechanisms such as neuroprotection, mobilization of neural precursors for repair, remyelination and axonal regeneration. Here, we review data that highlight the dual aspects of microglia with a focus on the developing brain, i.e. as aggressors potentiating damage and as helpers in the recovery process following CNS damage.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cyclin dependent kinase 5 regulatory subunit-associated protein 2 (CDK5RAP2) has gained attention in the last years following the discovery, in 2005, that recessive mutations cause primary autosomal recessive microcephaly. This disease is seen as an isolated developmental defect of the brain, particularly of the cerebral cortex, and was thus historically also referred to as microcephalia vera. Unraveling the pathomechanisms leading to this human disease is fascinating scientists because it can convey insight into basic mechanisms of physiologic brain development (particularly of cortex formation). It also finds itself in the spotlight because of its implication in trends in mammalian evolution with a massive increase in the size of the cerebral cortex in primates. Here, we provide a timely overview of the current knowledge on the function of CDK5RAP2 and mechanisms that might lead to disease in humans when the function of this protein is disturbed.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 02/2011; 68(10):1719-36. · 5.62 Impact Factor