[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glucocerebrosidase gene (GBA) variants that cause Gaucher disease are associated with Parkinson disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). To investigate the role of GBA variants in multiple system atrophy (MSA), we analyzed GBA variants in a large case-control series.
We sequenced coding regions and flanking splice sites of GBA in 969 MSA patients (574 Japanese, 223 European, and 172 North American) and 1509 control subjects (900 Japanese, 315 European, and 294 North American). We focused solely on Gaucher-disease-causing GBA variants.
In the Japanese series, we found nine carriers among the MSA patients (1.65%) and eight carriers among the control subjects (0.89%). In the European series, we found three carriers among the MSA patients (1.35%) and two carriers among the control subjects (0.63%). In the North American series, we found five carriers among the MSA patients (2.91%) and one carrier among the control subjects (0.34%). Subjecting each series to a Mantel-Haenszel analysis yielded a pooled odds ratio (OR) of 2.44 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14-5.21) and a P-value of 0.029 without evidence of significant heterogeneity. Logistic regression analysis yielded similar results, with an adjusted OR of 2.43 (95% CI 1.15-5.37) and a P-value of 0.022. Subtype analysis showed that Gaucher-disease-causing GBA variants are significantly associated with MSA cerebellar subtype (MSA-C) patients (P = 7.3 × 10(-3)).
The findings indicate that, as in PD and DLB, Gaucher-disease-causing GBA variants are associated with MSA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The family of genes implicated in hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) is quickly expanding, mostly owing to the widespread availability of next-generation DNA sequencing methods. Nevertheless, a genetic diagnosis remains unavailable for many patients.
To identify the genetic cause for a novel form of pure autosomal dominant HSP.
We examined and followed up with a family presenting to a tertiary referral center for evaluation of HSP for a decade until August 2014. Whole-exome sequencing was performed in 4 patients from the same family and was integrated with linkage analysis. Sanger sequencing was used to confirm the presence of the candidate variant in the remaining affected and unaffected members of the family and screen the additional patients with HSP. Five affected and 6 unaffected participants from a 3-generation family with pure adult-onset autosomal dominant HSP of unknown genetic origin were included. Additionally, 163 unrelated participants with pure HSP of unknown genetic cause were screened.
Mutation in the neuronal isoform of carnitine palmitoyl-transferase (CPT1C) gene.
We identified the nucleotide substitution c.109C>T in exon 3 of CPT1C, which determined the base substitution of an evolutionarily conserved Cys residue for an Arg in the gene product. This variant strictly cosegregated with the disease phenotype and was absent in online single-nucleotide polymorphism databases and in 712 additional exomes of control participants. We showed that CPT1C, which localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum, is expressed in motor neurons and interacts with atlastin-1, an endoplasmic reticulum protein encoded by the ATL1 gene known to be mutated in pure HSPs. The mutation, as indicated by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies, alters the protein conformation and reduces the mean (SD) number (213.0 [46.99] vs 81.9 [14.2]; P < .01) and size (0.29 [0.01] vs 0.26 [0.01]; P < .05) of lipid droplets on overexpression in cells. We also observed a reduction of mean (SD) lipid droplets in primary cortical neurons isolated from Cpt1c-/- mice as compared with wild-type mice (1.0 [0.12] vs 0.44 [0.05]; P < .001), suggesting a dominant negative mechanism for the mutation.
This study expands the genetics of autosomal dominant HSP and is the first, to our knowledge, to link mutation in CPT1C with a human disease. The association of the CPT1C mutation with changes in lipid droplet biogenesis supports a role for altered lipid-mediated signal transduction in HSP pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twenty-five patients with Niemann Pick disease type C (age range: 7 months to 44 years) were enrolled in an Italian independent multicenter trial and treated with miglustat for periods from 48 to 96 months.
Based on the age at onset of neurological manifestations patients’ phenotypes were classified as: adult (n = 6), juvenile (n = 9), late infantile (n = 6), early infantile (n = 2). Two patients had an exclusively visceral phenotype. We clinically evaluated patients’ neurological involvement, giving a score of severity ranging from 0 (best) to 3 (worst) for gait abnormalities, dystonia, dysmetria, dysarthria, and developmental delay/cognitive impairment, and from 0 to 4 for dysphagia. We calculated a mean composite severity score transforming the original scores proportionally to range from 0 to 1 to summarize the clinical picture of patients and monitor their clinical course.
We compared the results after 24 months of treatment in 23 patients showing neurological manifestations. Stabilization or improvement of all parameters was observed in the majority of patients. With the exception of developmental delay/cognitive impairment, these results persisted after 48–96 months in 41 – 55% of the patients (dystonia: 55%, dysarthria: 50%, gait abnormalities: 43%, dysmetria: 41%, respectively). After 24 months of therapy the majority of the evaluable patients (n = 20), demonstrated a stabilization or improvement in the ability to swallow four substances of different consistency (water: 65%, purée: 58%, little pasta: 60%, biscuit: 55%). These results persisted after 48–96 months in 40-50% of patients, with the exception of water swallowing. Stabilization or improvement of the composite severity score was detected in the majority (57%) of 7 patients who were treated early (within 3.5 years from onset) and rarely in patients who received treatment later.
The results of this study suggest that miglustat treatment can improve or stabilize neurological manifestations, at least for a period of time; the severity of clinical conditions at the beginning of treatment can influence the rate of disease progression. This conclusion applies particularly to patients with juvenile or adult onset of the disease.
EudraCT number 2006-005842-35
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Progressive myoclonus epilepsies (PMEs) are a group of rare, inherited disorders manifesting with action myoclonus, tonic-clonic seizures and ataxia. We sequenced the exomes of 84 unrelated individuals with PME of unknown cause and molecularly solved 26 cases (31%). Remarkably, a recurrent de novo mutation, c.959G>A (p.Arg320His), in KCNC1 was identified as a new major cause for PME. Eleven unrelated exome-sequenced (13%) and two affected individuals in a secondary cohort (7%) had this mutation. KCNC1 encodes KV3.1, a subunit of the KV3 voltage-gated potassium ion channels, which are major determinants of high-frequency neuronal firing. Functional analysis of the Arg320His mutant channel showed a dominant-negative loss-of-function effect. Ten cases had pathogenic mutations in known PME-associated genes (NEU1, NHLRC1, AFG3L2, EPM2A, CLN6 and SERPINI1). Identification of mutations in PRNP, SACS and TBC1D24 expand their phenotypic spectra to PME. These findings provide insights into the molecular genetic basis of PME and show the role of de novo mutations in this disease entity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) is an autosomal dominant disorder. Lithium is able to stimulate autophagy, and to reduce Ca 2? efflux from the inositol-1,4,5-triphosphate receptor. We designed a phase II, ran-domized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, 48-week trial with lithium carbonate in 20 patients with SCA2. The pri-mary objective was to determine safety and tolerability of lithium. The secondary objectives were to determine dis-ease progression, quality of life, mood, and brain volume change. Sixteen patients completed the trial, 8 randomized to lithium, 8 to placebo. Forty adverse events (AEs) were reported during the trial, twenty-eight in the lithium and 12 in the placebo group (p = 0.11). Mean AE duration was 57.4 ± 60.8 and 77.4 ± 68.5 days (p = 0.37). Non-sig-nificant differences were observed for the SARA and for brain volume change, whereas a significant reduction in the BDI-II was observed for lithium group (p \ 0.05). Lithium was well tolerated and reported AEs were similar to those previously described for bipolar disorder patients. A cor-rectly powered phase III trial is needed to assess if lithium may slow disease progression in SCA2.
Journal of Neurology 10/2014; 262(1). DOI:10.1007/s00415-014-7551-0 · 3.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metabolic ataxias are rare. They usually start in the childhood and often have autosomal recessive inheritance. They may also present in adulthood. The diagnosis is important since some patients may be successfully managed with diet and treatments.
Current Molecular Medicine 10/2014; 14(8). DOI:10.2174/1566524014666141010131213 · 3.61 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polyglutamine-coding (CAG)n repeat expansions in seven different genes cause spinocerebellar ataxias. Although the size of the expansion is negatively correlated with age at onset, it accounts for only 50–70% of its variability. To find other factors involved in this variability, we performed a regression analysis in 1255 affected individuals with identified expansions (spinocerebellar ataxia types 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7), recruited through the European Consortium on Spinocerebellar Ataxias, to determine whether age at onset is influenced by the size of the normal allele in eight causal (CAG)n-containing genes (ATXN1–3, 6–7, 17, ATN1 and HTT). We confirmed the negative effect of the expanded allele and detected threshold effects reflected by a quadratic association between age at onset and CAG size in spinocerebellar ataxia types 1, 3 and 6. We also evidenced an interaction between the expanded and normal alleles in trans in individuals with spinocerebellar ataxia types 1, 6 and 7. Except for individuals with spinocerebellar ataxia type 1, age at onset was also influenced by other (CAG)n-containing genes: ATXN7 in spinocerebellar ataxia type 2; ATXN2, ATN1 and HTT in spinocerebellar ataxia type 3; ATXN1 and ATXN3 in spinocerebellar ataxia type 6; and ATXN3 and TBP in spinocerebellar ataxia type 7. This suggests that there are biological relationships among these genes. The results were partially replicated in four independent populations representing 460 Caucasians and 216 Asian samples; the differences are possibly explained by ethnic or geographical differences. As the variability in age at onset is not completely explained by the effects of the causative and modifier sister genes, other genetic or environmental factors must also play a role in these diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The most common spinocerebellar ataxias (SCA)-SCA1, SCA2, SCA3, and SCA6-are caused by (CAG)n repeat expansion. While the number of repeats of the coding (CAG)n expansions is correlated with the age at onset, there are no appropriate models that include both affected and preclinical carriers allowing for the prediction of age at onset.
We combined data from two major European cohorts of SCA1, SCA2, SCA3, and SCA6 mutation carriers: 1187 affected individuals from the EUROSCA registry and 123 preclinical individuals from the RISCA cohort. For each SCA genotype, a regression model was fitted using a log-normal distribution for age at onset with the repeat length of the alleles as covariates. From these models, we calculated expected age at onset from birth and conditionally that this age is greater than the current age.
For SCA2 and SCA3 genotypes, the expanded allele was a significant predictor of age at onset (-0.105±0.005 and -0.056±0.003) while for SCA1 and SCA6 genotypes both the size of the expanded and normal alleles were significant (expanded: -0.049±0.002 and -0.090±0.009, respectively; normal: +0.013±0.005 and -0.029±0.010, respectively). According to the model, we indicated the median values (90% critical region) and the expectancy (SD) of the predicted age at onset for each SCA genotype according to the CAG repeat size and current age.
These estimations can be valuable in clinical and research. However, results need to be confirmed in other independent cohorts and in future longitudinal studies.
NCT01037777 and NCT00136630 for the French patients.
Journal of Medical Genetics 04/2014; 51(7). DOI:10.1136/jmedgenet-2013-102200 · 5.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Senataxin, encoded by the SETX gene, contributes to multiple aspects of gene expression, including transcription and RNA processing. Mutations in SETX cause the recessive disorder ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type 2 (AOA2) and a dominant juvenile form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS4). To assess the functional role of senataxin in disease, we examined differential gene expression in AOA2 patient fibroblasts, identifying a core set of genes showing altered expression by microarray and RNA-sequencing. To determine whether AOA2 and ALS4 mutations differentially affect gene expression, we overexpressed disease-specific SETX mutations in senataxin-haploinsufficient fibroblasts and observed changes in distinct sets of genes. This implicates mutation-specific alterations of senataxin function in disease pathogenesis and provides a novel example of allelic neurogenetic disorders with differing gene expression profiles. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) demonstrated these senataxin-associated genes to be involved in both mutation-specific and shared functional gene networks. To assess this in vivo, we performed gene expression analysis on peripheral blood from members of 12 different AOA2 families and identified an AOA2-specific transcriptional signature. WGCNA identified two gene modules highly enriched for this transcriptional signature in the peripheral blood of all AOA2 patients studied. These modules were disease-specific and preserved in patient fibroblasts and in the cerebellum of Setx knockout mice demonstrating conservation across species and cell types, including neurons. These results identify novel genes and cellular pathways related to senataxin function in normal and disease states, and implicate alterations in gene expression as underlying the phenotypic differences between AOA2 and ALS4.
Human Molecular Genetics 04/2014; 23(18). DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddu190 · 6.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PSEN1 gene mutations represent the first cause of familiar early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD). More than 190 mutations in PSEN1 have been reported to date. The clinical phenotype is mainly characterized by cognitive decline but movement disorders have been rarely described. We report a novel PSEN1 mutation (p.Thr147Pro) responsible for a sporadic early-onset dementia with prominent cerebellar symptoms, resembling a spinocerebellar syndrome. Neuroradiological and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers examinations were performed on the patient, showing typical findings of EOAD and suggesting the pathogenicity of the novel mutation. Our study widens the number of unusual phenotypes related to PSEN1 mutations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adult patients with Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC) usually develop cognitive impairment progressing to dementia, whose pathophysiology remains still unclear. Noteworthy parallels exist in cognitive impairment and cellular pathology of NPC and Alzheimer's disease (AD). In particular, alterations of cholinergic system, which represent one of the pathological hallmarks and contribute to cognitive deterioration in AD, have recently been demonstrated in a human brain autopsy and in an experimental model of NPC. This finding raised the issue that central cholinergic circuits dysfunction may contribute to pathophysiology of cognitive impairment in NPC as well, and prompted us to evaluate the cholinergic functional involvement in NPC patients by applying a neurophysiologic technique, named short-latency afferent inhibition (SAI). We describe clinical, biochemical, molecular and neuropsychological features, and SAI findings in three patients affected by NPC. Diagnosis of NPC was assessed by molecular analysis of the NPC1 gene in all patients. In two of them, biochemical analysis of intracellular accumulation of unesterified cholesterol was also performed. The main clinical features were cerebellar ataxia, vertical supranuclear gaze palsy and a variable degree of cognitive impairment ranging from only memory impairment to severe dementia. Electrophysiological evaluation revealed a reduced SAI in all three patients. Our SAI findings provide evidence of cholinergic dysfunction in patients with the adult form of NPC, supporting that cholinergic alterations may play a role in cognitive impairment in NPC, and strengthening the similarities between NPC and AD.
Journal of Neurology 02/2014; 261(4). DOI:10.1007/s00415-014-7282-2 · 3.84 Impact Factor