Leonard H van den Berg

University of Amsterdam, Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands

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Publications (390)2514.66 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease, characterized by progressive loss of motor function. While the pathogenesis of ALS remains largely unknown, recent histological examinations of Brettschneider and colleagues have proposed four time-sequential stages of neuropathology in ALS based on levels of phosphorylated 43kDa TAR DNA-binding protein (pTDP-43) aggregation. What governs dissemination of these aggregates between segregated regions of the brain is unknown. Here, we cross-reference stages of pTDP-43 pathology with in vivo diffusion weighted imaging data of 215 adult healthy control subjects, and reveal that regions involved in pTDP-43 pathology form a strongly interconnected component of the brain network (p = 0.04) likely serving as an anatomical infrastructure facilitating pTDP-43 spread. Furthermore, brain regions of subsequent stages of neuropathology are shown to be more closely interconnected than regions of more distant stages (p = 0.002). Computational simulation of disease spread from first-stage motor regions across the connections of the brain network reveals a pattern of pTDP-43 aggregation that reflects the stages of sequential involvement in neuropathology (p = 0.02), a pattern in favor of the hypothesis of pTDP-43 pathology to spread across the brain along axonal pathways. Our findings thus provide computational evidence of disease spread in ALS to be directed and constrained by the topology of the anatomical brain network. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    NeuroImage 04/2015; 64. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.04.005 · 6.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Monoclonal gammopathy in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related disorders has been reported in small studies but the validity of the reported associations remains uncertain. Presence of monoclonal gammopathy may indicate specific pathogenic pathways and may facilitate the development of novel treatment strategies. The objective of this large case-control study was to determine the prevalence of monoclonal gammopathy in motor neuron diseases (MND) and multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN). Monoclonal gammopathy was determined by immunoelectrophoresis and immunofixation in serum from 445 patients with ALS, 158 patients with progressive muscular atrophy (PMA), 60 patients with primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), 88 patients with MMN and in 430 matched healthy controls. Anti-ganglioside antibody titers were determined in sera from patients with MMN and PMA, and in ALS and PLS patients with monoclonal gammopathy. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate associations of monoclonal gammopathy with motor neuron diseases and clinical characteristics. Neither ALS nor PLS was associated with monoclonal gammopathy. IgM monoclonal gammopathy was more frequent in patients with PMA (8 %) (OR = 4.2; p = 0.001) and MMN (7 %) (OR = 5.8; p = 0.002) than in controls (2 %). High titers of anti-GM1 IgM antibodies were present in 43 % of MMN patients and 7 % of PMA patients. Patients with PMA and IgM monoclonal gammopathy or anti-GM1 antibodies had a higher age at onset, more often weakness of upper legs and more severe outcome than patients with MMN. PMA and MMN, but not ALS and PLS, are significantly associated with IgM monoclonal gammopathy and anti-GM1 antibodies. These results may indicate that a subset of patients presenting with PMA share pathogenic mechanisms with MMN.
    Journal of Neurology 03/2015; 262(3). DOI:10.1007/s00415-014-7612-4 · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurological disease with no effective treatment. Here we report the results of a moderate-scale sequencing study aimed at identifying new genes contributing to predisposition for ALS. We performed whole exome sequencing of 2,874 ALS patients and compared them to 6,405 controls. Several known ALS genes were found to be associated, and the non-canonical IκB kinase family TANK-Binding Kinase 1 (TBK1) was identified as an ALS gene. TBK1 is known to bind to and phosphorylate a number of proteins involved in innate immunity and autophagy, including optineurin (OPTN) and p62 (SQSTM1/sequestosome), both of which have also been implicated in ALS. These observations reveal a key role of the autophagic pathway in ALS and suggest specific targets for therapeutic intervention. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
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    ABSTRACT: Thirty per cent of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients have non-motor symptoms, including executive and memory deficits. The in vivo anatomical basis of memory deficits in ALS has not been elucidated. In this observational study, brain atrophy in relation to memory function was investigated in ALS patients and controls. Twenty-six ALS patients without dementia and 21 healthy volunteers matched for gender, age and education level underwent comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation and T1- and T2-weighted 3 T magnetic resonance imaging scanning of the brain. Grey and white matter brain volumes were analysed using voxel-based morphometry and age related white matter changes were assessed. The most frequently abnormal memory test (<2 SD below normative data corrected for age, gender and education) was correlated with regional brain volume variations by multiple regression analyses with age, gender and total grey matter volumes as covariates. Immediate and delayed story recall scores were abnormal in 23% of ALS patients and correlated to bilateral hippocampus grey matter volume (r = 0.52 for both memory tests; P < 0.05; corrected for age, gender and total grey matter volume). This correlation was not found in healthy controls with similar age, education, anxiety and depression levels and white matter changes. Prose memory impairment is a frequent finding in this cohort and is associated with hippocampus volume in ALS patients without dementia. These findings complement previous hippocampus changes in imaging studies in ALS and suggest involvement of the hippocampus in cognitive dysfunction of ALS. © 2014 EAN.
    European Journal of Neurology 12/2014; 22(3). DOI:10.1111/ene.12615 · 3.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ascertain the incidence of cryptogenic axonal polyneuropathy (CAP) and how this relates to the overall incidence of polyneuropathy. Electronic diagnostic registries of all hospital-based neurologic practices in the province of Utrecht (population 1,224,852 = 7.4% of the Dutch population) were consulted in 2010 to identify incident cases with polyneuropathy. Medical files were reviewed to specify the final diagnosis. Age-adjusted incidence rates for the Netherlands were calculated using national age-specific population figures. The overall incidence of polyneuropathy was 77.0/100,000 person-years (95% confidence interval 71.1-82.8) in persons aged 18 years and older. Diabetic polyneuropathy (32%), CAP (26%), toxic polyneuropathy (14%), and immune-mediated polyneuropathy (9%) were the most frequent diagnoses. The incidence of CAP was 31.6/100,000 person-years (95% confidence interval 27.0-36.3) in persons aged 40 years and older. The incidence of polyneuropathy increased with age, as well as the proportion of patients diagnosed with CAP: 12% (40-49 years), 20% (50-59 years), 28% (60-69 years), 32% (70-79 years), and 35% (≥80 years) (χ(2) test, p = 0.005). The chance of establishing an etiologic diagnosis in patients presenting with a polyneuropathy decreases with age. Given the aging population, polyneuropathy in general and CAP in particular will pose a growing health care problem. © 2014 American Academy of Neurology.
    Neurology 12/2014; 84(3). DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000001160 · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The El Escorial criteria for the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) were established 20 years ago and have been used as inclusion criteria for clinical trials. However, concerns have been raised concerning their use as diagnostic criteria in clinical practice. Moreover, as modern genetics have shed new light on the heterogeneity of ALS and the close relationship between ALS and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) recognized, the World Federation of Neurology Research Group on ALS/MND has initiated discussions to amend and update the criteria, while preserving the essential components for clinical trial enrolment purposes.
    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration 12/2014; DOI:10.3109/21678421.2014.964258 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The progressive course of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) results in an ever-changing spectrum of the care needs of patients with ALS. Knowledge of prognostic factors for the functional course of ALS may enhance clinical prediction and improve the timing of appropriate interventions. Our objective was to systematically review the evidence regarding prognostic factors for the rate of functional decline of patients with ALS, assessed with versions of the ALS Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS). Two reviewers independently assessed the methodological quality of the thirteen included studies using the Quality in Prognosis Studies (QUIPS) tool. The overall quality of evidence for each prognostic factor was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach, considering risk of bias, imprecision, inconsistency, indirectness, and publication bias. The quality of evidence for the prognostic value of age at onset, site of onset, time from symptom onset to diagnosis, and ALSFRS-Revised baseline score was low, mainly due to the limited data and inconsistency of results in the small number of studies included. The prognostic value of initial rate of disease progression, age at diagnosis, forced vital capacity, frontotemporal dementia, body mass index, and comorbidity remains unclear. We conclude that the current evidence on prognostic factors for functional decline in ALS is insufficient to allow the development of a prediction tool that can support clinical decisions. Given the limited data, future prognostic studies may need to focus on factors that have a predictive value for a decline in ALSFRS(-R) domain scores, preferably based on internationally collected and shared data.
    Journal of Neurology 11/2014; DOI:10.1007/s00415-014-7564-8 · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We performed responsiveness comparison between the patient-reported Inflammatory Rasch-built Overall Disability Scale (I-RODS) and the widely used clinician-reported Inflammatory Neuropathy Cause and Treatment-Overall Neuropathy Limitation Scale (INCAT-ONLS) in patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP), and immunoglobulin M-monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance related polyneuropathy (IgM-MGUSP).
    Neurology 11/2014; DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000001044 · 8.30 Impact Factor
  • Brain 10/2014; DOI:10.1093/brain/awu299 · 10.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Exome sequencing is an effective strategy for identifying human disease genes. However, this methodology is difficult in late-onset diseases where limited availability of DNA from informative family members prohibits comprehensive segregation analysis. To overcome this limitation, we performed an exome-wide rare variant burden analysis of 363 index cases with familial ALS (FALS). The results revealed an excess of patient variants within TUBA4A, the gene encoding the Tubulin, Alpha 4A protein. Analysis of a further 272 FALS cases and 5,510 internal controls confirmed the overrepresentation as statistically significant and replicable. Functional analyses revealed that TUBA4A mutants destabilize the microtubule network, diminishing its repolymerization capability. These results further emphasize the role of cytoskeletal defects in ALS and demonstrate the power of gene-based rare variant analyses in situations where causal genes cannot be identified through traditional segregation analysis.
    Neuron 10/2014; 84(2):324-31. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.09.027 · 15.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis shares characteristics with some cancers, such as onset being more common in later life, progression usually being rapid, the disease affecting a particular cell type, and showing complex inheritance. We used a model originally applied to cancer epidemiology to investigate the hypothesis that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a multistep process. Methods We generated incidence data by age and sex from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis population registers in Ireland (registration dates 1995-2012), the Netherlands (2006-12), Italy (1995-2004), Scotland (1989-98), and England (2002-09), and calculated age and sex-adjusted incidences for each register. We regressed the log of age-specific incidence against the log of age with least squares regression. We did the analyses within each register, and also did a combined analysis, adjusting for register. Findings We identified 6274 cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis from a catchment population of about 34 million people. We noted a linear relationship between log incidence and log age in all five registers: England r(2)=0.95, Ireland r(2)=0.99, Italy r(2)=0.95, the Netherlands r(2)=0.99, and Scotland r(2)=0-97; overall r(2)=0.99. All five registers gave similar estimates of the linear slope ranging from 4.5 to 5.1, with overlapping confidence intervals. The combination of all five registers gave an overall slope of 4.8 (95% CI 4-5-5-0), with similar estimates for men (4.6, 4.3-4.9) and women (5.0,4.5-5.5). Interpretation A linear relationship between the log incidence and log age of onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is consistent with a multistage model of disease. The slope estimate suggests that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a six-step process. Identification of these steps could lead to preventive and therapeutic avenues.
    The Lancet Neurology 10/2014; 13(11). DOI:10.1016/S1474-4422(14)70219-4 · 21.82 Impact Factor
  • Leonard H van den Berg
    The Lancet Neurology 10/2014; 13(11). DOI:10.1016/S1474-4422(14)70179-6 · 21.82 Impact Factor
  • Neurology 10/2014; DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000952 · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess the involvement of deep gray matter, hippocampal subfields, and ventricular changes in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A total of 112 ALS patients and 60 healthy subjects participated. High-resolution T1-weighted images were acquired using a 3T MRI scanner. Thirty-nine patients underwent a follow-up scan. Volumetric and shape analyses of subcortical structures were performed, measures were correlated with clinical parameters, and longitudinal changes were assessed. At baseline, reduced hippocampal volumes (left: p = 0.007; right: p = 0.011) and larger inferior lateral ventricles (left: p = 0.013; right: p = 0.041) were found in patients compared to healthy controls. Longitudinal analyses demonstrated a significant decrease in volume of the right cornu ammonis 2/3 and 4/dentate gyrus and left presubiculum (p = 0.002, p = 0.045, p < 0.001), and a significant increase in the ventricular volume in the lateral (left: p < 0.001; right: p < 0.001), 3rd (p < 0.001) and 4th (p = 0.001) ventricles. Larger ventricles were associated with a lower ALSFRS-R score (p = 0.021). In conclusion, ALS patients show signs of neurodegeneration of subcortical structures and ventricular enlargement. Subcortical involvement is progressive and correlates with clinical parameters, highlighting its role in the neurodegenerative process in ALS.
    Neurobiology of Aging 09/2014; 36(2). DOI:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.09.002 · 4.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease, characterized by progressive loss of motor function. While the pathogenesis of ALS remains largely unknown, imaging studies of the brain should lead to more insight into structural and functional disease effects on the brain network, which may provide valuable information on the underlying disease process. This study investigates the correlation between changes in structural connectivity (SC) and functional connectivity (FC) of the brain network in ALS. Structural reconstructions of the brain network, derived from diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), were obtained from 64 patients and 27 healthy controls. Functional interactions between brain regions were derived from resting-state fMRI. Our results show that (i) the most structurally affected connections considerably overlap with the most functionally impaired connections, (ii) direct connections of the motor cortex are both structurally and functionally more affected than connections at greater topological distance from the motor cortex, and (iii) there is a strong positive correlation between changes in SC and FC averaged per brain region (r = 0.44, P < 0.0001). Our findings indicate that structural and functional network degeneration in ALS is coupled, suggesting the pathogenic process affects both SC and FC of the brain, with the most prominent effects in SC. Hum Brain Mapp, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 09/2014; 35(9). DOI:10.1002/hbm.22481 · 6.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN) and the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) are immune-mediated motor neuropathies with antibodies against the ganglioside GM1. In GBS, these antibodies are induced by molecular mimicry, but in MMN their origin is elusive.
    Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 08/2014; DOI:10.1136/jnnp-2014-308118 · 5.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our objective was to compare the phase II and phase III (EMPOWER) studies of dexpramipexole in ALS and evaluate potential EMPOWER responder subgroups and biomarkers based on significant inter-study population differences. In a post hoc analysis, we compared the baseline population characteristics of both dexpramipexole studies and analyzed EMPOWER efficacy outcomes and laboratory measures in subgroups defined by significant inter-study differences. Results showed that, compared with phase II, the proportion of El Escorial criteria (EEC) definite participants decreased (p = 0.005), riluzole use increased (p = 0.002), and mean symptom duration increased (p = 0.037) significantly in EMPOWER. Baseline creatinine (p < 0.001) and on-study creatinine change (p < 0.001) correlated significantly with ALSFRS-R in EMPOWER. In the EMPOWER subgroup defined by EEC-definite ALS, riluzole use, and < median symptom duration (15.3 months), dexpramipexole-treated participants had reduced ALSFRS-R slope decline (p = 0.015), decreased mortality (p = 0.011), and reduced creatinine loss (p = 0.003). In conclusion, significant differences existed between the phase II and EMPOWER study populations in ALS clinical trials of dexpramipexole. In a post hoc analysis of EMPOWER subgroups defined by these differences, potential clinical benefits of dexpramipexole were identified in the subgroup of riluzole-treated, short-symptom duration, EEC-definite ALS participants. Creatinine loss correlated with disease progression and was reduced in dexpramipexole-treated participants, suggesting it as a candidate biomarker.
    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration 08/2014; 15(5-6). DOI:10.3109/21678421.2014.943672 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective:We performed a study in patients with proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) to determine the prevalence of reduced maximal mouth opening (MMO) and its association with dysphagia as a reflection of bulbar dysfunction and visualized the underlying mechanisms using MRI.Methods:We performed a cross-sectional study of MMO in 145 patients with SMA types 1-4 and 119 healthy controls and used MRI in 12 patients to visualize mandibular condylar shape and sliding and the anatomy of muscle groups relevant for mouth opening and closing. We analyzed associations of reduced MMO with SMA severity and complaints of dysphagia.Results:Reduced MMO was defined as an interincisal distance 35 mm and was found in none of the healthy controls and in 100%, 79%, 50%, and 7% of patients with SMA types 1, 2, 3a, and 3b/4, respectively. MRI showed severe fatty degeneration of the lateral pterygoid muscles that mediate mouth opening by allowing mandibular condylar sliding but relatively mild involvement of the mouth closing muscles in patients with reduced MMO. Reduced MMO was associated with SMA type, age, muscle weakness, and dysphagia (p < 0.05).Conclusions:Reduced MMO is common in SMA types 1-3a and is mainly caused by fatty degeneration of specific mouth opening muscles. Reduced MMO is a sign of bulbar dysfunction in SMA.
    Neurology 08/2014; 83(12). DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000796 · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine brain activation patterns during verbal fluency performance in patients with progressive muscular atrophy (PMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
    Neurology 07/2014; DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000745 · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is believed to be a complex disease in which multiple exogenous and genetic factors interact to cause motor neuron degeneration. Elucidating the association between medical conditions prior to the first symptoms of ALS could lend support to the theory that specific subpopulations are at risk of developing ALS and provide new insight into shared pathogenic mechanisms. We performed a population-based case-control study in the Netherlands, including 722 sporadic ALS patients and 2,268 age and gender matched controls. Data on medical conditions and use of medication were obtained through a structured questionnaire. Multivariate analyses showed that hypercholesterolemia (OR 0.76, 95 % CI 0.63-0.92, P = 0.006), the use of statins (OR 0.45, 95 % CI 0.35-0.59, P = 1.86 × 10(-9)) or immunosuppressive drugs (OR 0.26, 95 % CI 0.08-0.86, P = 0.03) were associated with a decreased risk of ALS. Head trauma was associated with an increased ALS susceptibility (OR 1.95, 95 % CI 1.11-3.43, P = 0.02). No association was found with autoimmune diseases, cancer, psychiatric disorders or cardiovascular diseases, or survival. The lower frequency of hypercholesterolemia and less use of statins in ALS patients indicate a favorable lipid profile prior to symptom onset in at least a subpopulation of ALS. Prior head trauma is a risk factor for ALS and the significantly lower use of immunosuppressive drugs in ALS patients could suggest a protective effect. The identification of specific subpopulations at risk for ALS may provide clues towards possible pathogenic mechanisms.
    Journal of Neurology 07/2014; 261(10). DOI:10.1007/s00415-014-7445-1 · 3.84 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

9k Citations
2,514.66 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • University of Amsterdam
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 1995–2014
    • University Medical Center Utrecht
      • Department of Neurology
      Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
    • New York Presbyterian Hospital
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1993–2013
    • University of Groningen
      • Department of Genetics
      Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
  • 2012
    • University of Massachusetts Medical School
      • Department of Neurology
      Worcester, MA, United States
  • 2010
    • Academisch Medisch Centrum Universiteit van Amsterdam
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2009
    • Umeå University
      Umeå, Västerbotten, Sweden
    • Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2001–2007
    • Utrecht University
      Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 2005
    • VU University Amsterdam
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2004
    • Universität Ulm
      Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1996
    • Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht
      Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 1991–1992
    • Columbia University
      • Department of Neurology
      New York City, New York, United States