A Filla

University of Naples Federico II, Napoli, Campania, Italy

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Publications (252)1077.12 Total impact

  • Movement Disorders Clinical Practice. 05/2014;
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    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; · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    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; · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    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.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 04/2014; · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    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; · 3.58 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 02/2014; · 4.56 Impact Factor
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    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.
    Brain 01/2014; · 9.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) is an autosomal-dominant degenerative disorder that is neuropathologically characterized primarily by infratentorial damage, although less severe supratentorial involvement may contribute to the clinical manifestation. Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI)-Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies of SCA2 have enabled in vivo quantification of neurodegeneration in infratentorial regions, whereas supratentorial regions have been explored less thoroughly. We measured microstructural changes in both infratentorial and supratentorial regions in 13 SCA2 patients (9 men, 4 women; mean age, 50 ± 12 years) and 15 controls (10 men, 5 women; mean age, 49 ± 14 years) using DWI-MRI and correlated the DWI changes with disease severity and duration. Disease severity was evaluated using the International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale and the Inherited Ataxia Clinical Rating Scale. Cerebral diffusion trace ( D¯) values were generated, and regions of interest (ROIs) and voxel-based analysis with Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM) were used for data analysis. In SCA2 patients, ROI analysis and SPM confirmed significant increases in D¯ values in the pons, cerebellar white matter (CWM) and middle cerebellar peduncles. Moreover, SPM analysis revealed increased D¯ values in the right thalamus, bilateral temporal cortex/white matter, and motor cortex/pyramidal tract regions. Increased diffusivity in the frontal white matter (FWM) and the CWM was significantly correlated with ataxia severity. DWI-MRI revealed that both infratentorial and supratentorial microstructural changes may characterize SCA2 patients in the course of the disease and might contribute to the severity of the symptoms. © 2013 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
    Movement Disorders 12/2013; · 4.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cerebellar ataxia, supranuclear ophthalmoplegia, and peripheral neuropathy. Autonomic nervous system dysfunction is often present. This study evaluated the cardiac sympathetic function in patients with SCA2 using (123)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) in comparison with patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and control subjects. Nine patients with SCA2, nine patients with PD, and nine control subjects underwent (123)I-MIBG imaging studies from which early and late heart-to-mediastinum (H/M) ratios and myocardial washout rates were calculated. Early (F = 12.3, p < 0.0001) and late (F = 16.8, p < 0.0001) H/M ratios were significantly different among groups. In controls, early and late H/M ratios (2.2 ± 0.12 and 2.1 ± 0.20) were significantly higher than in patients with SCA2 (1.9 ± 0.23 and 1.8 ± 0.20, both p < 0.05) and with patients with PD (1.7 ± 0.29 and 1.4 ± 0.35, both p < 0.001). There was also a significant difference in washout rates among groups (F = 11.7, p < 0.0001). In controls the washout rate (19.9 ± 9.6 %) was significantly lower (p < 0.005) than in patients with PD (51.0 ± 23.7 %), but not different from that in SCA2 patients (19.5 ± 9.4 %). In SCA2 patients, in a multivariable linear regression analysis only the Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia score was independently associated with early H/M ratio (β = -0.12, p < 0.05). (123)I-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy demonstrated an impairment of cardiac sympathetic function in patients with SCA2, which was less marked than in PD patients. These results suggest that (123)I-MIBG cardiac imaging could become a useful tool for analysing the pathophysiology of SCA2.
    European Journal of Nuclear Medicine 08/2013; · 4.53 Impact Factor
  • Neurology 07/2013; · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Multiple-system atrophy is an intractable neurodegenerative disease characterized by autonomic failure in addition to various combinations of parkinsonism, cerebellar ataxia, and pyramidal dysfunction. Although multiple-system atrophy is widely considered to be a nongenetic disorder, we previously identified multiplex families with this disease, which indicates the involvement of genetic components. Methods In combination with linkage analysis, we performed whole-genome sequencing of a sample obtained from a member of a multiplex family in whom multiple-system atrophy had been diagnosed on autopsy. We also performed mutational analysis of samples from members of five other multiplex families and from a Japanese series (363 patients and two sets of controls, one of 520 persons and one of 2383 persons), a European series (223 patients and 315 controls), and a North American series (172 patients and 294 controls). On the basis of these analyses, we used a yeast complementation assay and measured enzyme activity of parahydroxybenzoate-polyprenyl transferase. This enzyme is encoded by the gene COQ2 and is essential for the biosynthesis of coenzyme Q10. Levels of coenzyme Q10 in lymphoblastoid cells and brain tissue were measured on high-performance liquid chromatography. Results We identified a homozygous mutation (M78V-V343A/M78V-V343A) and compound heterozygous mutations (R337X/V343A) in COQ2 in two multiplex families. Furthermore, we found that a common variant (V343A) and multiple rare variants in COQ2, all of which are functionally impaired, are associated with sporadic multiple-system atrophy. The V343A variant was exclusively observed in the Japanese population. Conclusions Functionally impaired variants of COQ2 were associated with an increased risk of multiple-system atrophy in multiplex families and patients with sporadic disease, providing evidence of a role of impaired COQ2 activities in the pathogenesis of this disease. (Funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and others.).
    New England Journal of Medicine 06/2013; 369(3):233-44. · 51.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are autosomal, dominantly inherited, fully penetrant neurodegenerative diseases. Our aim was to study the preclinical stage of the most common SCAs: SCA1, SCA2, SCA3, and SCA6. METHODS: Between Sept 13, 2008, and Dec 1, 2011, offspring or siblings of patients with SCA1, SCA2, SCA3, or SCA6 were enrolled into a prospective, longitudinal observational study at 14 European centres. To be eligible for inclusion in our study, individuals had to have no ataxia and be aged 18-50 years if directly related to individuals with SCA1, SCA2, or SCA3, or 35-70 years if directly related to individuals with SCA6. We did anonymous genetic testing to identify mutation carriers. We assessed participants with clinical scales, questionnaires, and performance-based coordination tests. In eight of the 14 centres, participants underwent MRI. We analysed relations between outcome variables and time from onset (defined as the difference between present age and estimated age at ataxia onset). This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01037777. FINDINGS: 276 participants met inclusion criteria and agreed to participate, of whom 12 (4%) were excluded from final analysis because DNA samples were missing or genotyping failed. Estimated time from onset was -9 years (IQR -13 to -6) in 50 carriers of the SCA1 mutation, -12 years (-15 to -9) in 31 SCA2 mutation carriers, -8 years (-11 to -6) in 26 SCA3 mutation carriers, and -18 years (-22 to -16) in 16 SCA6 mutation carriers. Compared with non-carriers of each mutation, SCA1 mutation carriers had higher median scores on the scale for the assessment and rating of ataxia (SARA; 0·5 [IQR 0-1·0] vs 0 [0-0]; p=0·0052), as did SCA2 mutation carriers (0·5 [0-2·0] vs 0 [0-0·5]; p=0·0037). SCA2 mutation carriers had lower SCA functional index scores than did non-carriers (-0·43 [-0·91 to -0·07] vs 0·09 [-0·30 to 0·56]; p=0·0007). SCA2 mutation carriers had worse composite cerebellar functional scores than did their non-carrier counterparts (0·915 [0·861-0·959] vs 0·849 [0·764-0·886]; p=0·0039). All other differences between carriers and non-carriers were non-significant. In SCA1 and SCA2 mutation carriers, SARA scores were increased in participants who were closer to the estimated age at onset (SCA1: r=0·36, p=0·0112; SCA2: r=0·50, p=0·0038). 83 individuals (30%) underwent MRI. Voxel-based morphometry showed grey-matter loss in the brainstem and cerebellum in SCA1 and SCA2 mutation carriers, and normalised brainstem volume was lower in SCA2 mutation carriers (median 0·015, range 0·012-0·016) than in non-carriers (0·019, 0·017-0·021; p=0·0107). INTERPRETATION: Preclinical SCA1 and SCA2 mutation carriers seem to have mild coordination deficits and abnormalities in the brain that are more common in carriers who are closer to the estimated onset of ataxia. Individuals in this early disease stage could be targeted in future preventive trials. FUNDING: ERA-Net E-Rare and Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
    The Lancet Neurology 05/2013; · 23.92 Impact Factor
  • European Journal of Neurology 04/2013; 20(4):e60. · 4.16 Impact Factor
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    Alessandro Filla, Giuseppe Campanella
    Neurological Sciences 03/2013; · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Processing of time in the millisecond range seems to depend on cerebellar function and it can be assessed by using the somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold testing. No studies have yet investigated this temporal discrimination task in patients with cerebellar atrophy. Eleven patients with degenerative cerebellar ataxia and 11 controls underwent somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold evaluation. The degree of cerebellar dysfunction was measured by the International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale. Somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold was higher in patients compared to controls for each stimulated site (hand, neck, and eye). Age, disease duration, and International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale scores were not correlated to somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold. Somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold is abnormal in patients with cerebellar atrophy. These findings suggest that the cerebellum plays a role in modulating the somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold and confirm the role of cerebellum in the processing of time in the millisecond range.
    The Cerebellum 01/2013; · 2.60 Impact Factor
  • PLoS ONE 01/2013; in press. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous MRI studies of functional connectivity in pre-symptomatic mutation carriers of Huntington's disease (HD) have shown dysfunction of the Default-Mode Network (DMN). No data however are currently available on the DMN alterations in the symptomatic stages of the disease, which are characterized by cortical atrophy involving several DMN nodes. We assessed DMN integrity and its possible correlations with motor and cognitive symptoms in 26 symptomatic HD patients as compared to 22 normal volunteers, by analyzing resting state functional MRI data, using the Precuneal Cortex/Posterior Cingulate Cortices (PC/PCC) as seed, controlling at voxel level for the effect of atrophy by co-varying for gray matter volume. Direct correlation with PC/PCC was decreased, without correlation with atrophy, in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (including anterior cingulate and subgenual cortex), right dorso-medial prefrontal cortex, and in the right inferior parietal cortex (mainly involving the angular gyrus). Negative correlations with PC/PCC were decreased bilaterally in the inferior parietal cortices, while a cluster in the right middle occipital gyrus presented increased correlation with PC/PCC. DMN changes in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex significantly correlated with the performance at the Stroop test (p = .0002). Widespread DMN changes, not correlating with the atrophy of the involved nodes, are present in symptomatic HD patients, and correlate with cognitive disturbances.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e72159. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded CAG repeat in exon 1 of the HTT gene. There is increasing evidence pointing towards an involvement of the endocrine system in HD. Recent studies, investigating the increased risk of diabetes mellitus and impaired insulin sensitivity and secretion in HD patients, led to contradictory results. Objective: To investigate glucose homeostasis in HD. Methods: Twenty-eight consecutive patients with HD and 28 healthy controls were matched for age, sex, and BMI. Diagnosis of HD was confirmed genetically. Clinical tools for assessment were the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) motor section and the Total Function Capacity (TFC). Basal metabolic and endocrine investigations and a 2-hour 75-g oGTT were performed. We used the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) as index of insulin sensitivity and the insulinogenic index to assess insulin secretion. Results: HD patients did not differ from the controls with respect to fasting plasma glucose, insulin sensitivity and secretion. CAG expansion size, disease stage and duration, or BMI did not influence HOMA-IR and insulinogenic index. Patients showed lower serum glucose (-19%) and insulin levels (-48%) at 30 min and higher serum insulin levels at 90 (+132%) and 120 min (+380%). Conclusions: Our data do not support an increased risk of diabetes among HD patients although they show glucose regulation abnormalities with a flat glucose curve and delayed insulin peak after oral glucose load.
    Journal of Huntington's disease. 01/2013; 2(4):501-507.

Publication Stats

6k Citations
1,077.12 Total Impact Points


  • 1983–2014
    • University of Naples Federico II
      • • Department of Neuroscience and Reproductive and Odontostomatological Sciences
      • • Department of Molecular Medicine and Medical Biotechnology
      Napoli, Campania, Italy
    • Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro
      Bari, Apulia, Italy
  • 2013
    • University of Bonn - Medical Center
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2004–2013
    • National Research Council
      • Institute of Biostructure and Bioimaging IBB
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2008–2012
    • University of Bonn
      • Department of Neurobiology
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2011
    • Erasmus MC
      • Department of Clinical Genetics
      Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands
  • 1990–2010
    • Second University of Naples
      Caserta, Campania, Italy
  • 2009
    • Unité Inserm U1077
      Caen, Lower Normandy, France
  • 2005–2009
    • Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2003
    • San Raffaele Scientific Institute
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2001
    • Sapienza University of Rome
      • Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic Medicine and Orthopedic Science
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 1998–2001
    • Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri IRCCS
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy
    • Ospedali Vito Fazzi
      Lecce, Apulia, Italy
  • 1994
    • IRCCS Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Nazionale C. Mondino
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy