Four familial ALS pedigrees discordant for two SOD1 mutations: Are all SOD1 mutations pathogenic?

Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Umeå University, Umeå SE-901 85, Sweden.
Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.81). 05/2010; 81(5):572-7. DOI: 10.1136/jnnp.2009.192310
Source: PubMed


BACKGROUND: 153 mutations in the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene have been claimed to be associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in familial and sporadic ALS in an autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive pattern with complete or reduced penetrance. The authors now report four ALS pedigrees from Finland, France, Germany and Sweden with either the D90A or E100K SOD1 mutations in some but not all affected members. After re-collecting DNA, the non-segregation of the SOD1 mutations with disease was confirmed by three independent laboratories using different PCR primers: while some of the affected patients carry SOD1 mutations, other affected family members have two wildtype/normal SOD1 genes. In addition, some unaffected members within the same families are carriers of SOD1 gene mutations. To exclude other known genetic causes, the authors ruled out mutations within the genes coding for VAPB, ANG, TDP43, FUS and DCTN1 in affected individuals in the four pedigrees. CONCLUSIONS: The authors find that the D90A and E100K SOD1 gene mutations found in some patients are not the exclusive cause of ALS in these pedigrees. Whether this is also the case for the other 151 SOD1 mutations reported in ALS pedigrees is unknown. The findings have consequences for genetic testing in clinical practice when diagnosing ALS and for genetic counselling in ALS. Some SOD1 mutations may be part of an oligo- or epigentic pattern of inheritance. Such a pattern of inheritance may model other oligo- or polygenetic traits responsible for other forms of ALS.

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    • "All the peculiarities of this mutation mean that genetic counseling of these patients is challenging. Felbecker et al. (2010) have described ALS pedigrees discordant for genetic findings. They report four families in which SOD1 mutations segregated in one branch of a family and not in affected individuals of the other branch—unlike our family in which two affected siblings were discordant. "
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    ABSTRACT: Rapid advances in the genetics of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have dramatically changed the approach of clinicians and researchers to the motor neuron diseases. We report two siblings in whom the genetic study provided conflicting results, hence raising a number of issues which deserve to be considered by clinicians involved in genetic testing for ALS. The first patient died within 2 years of ALS onset, while her brother still manages to walk unaided, 7 years into onset. Genetic analyses, performed on the first patient as part of a research protocol, and as clinical genetic testing on the brother, provided different results. Results for Patient 1 were negative for all investigated genes, thus suggesting that her disease may be a phenocopy, while her brother carried an autosomal dominant TARDBP mutation (p.A382T). A multidisciplinary approach may help patients and clinicians face the emerging dilemmas in such a complex field. Sharing and updating of advances, not to mention uncertainties inherent to current knowledge, with patients and families may prove to be an effective way to support them and to make them aware of the present limits of our knowledge and of the blurred border between research and clinical practice.
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    • "All patients were screened for DNA-mutations in the following genes: SOD1, vesicle associated membrane protein B, TDP-43, fused in sarcoma (FUS), progranulin, chromatin modifying protein 2B, optineurin, ataxin 2 and angiogenin using standard procedures as described [15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23]. Only patients with a SOD1 gene mutation or patients without a mutation in any of the analyzed genes were included in this study. "
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    ABSTRACT: The changes in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) metabolome associated with the fatal neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are poorly understood and earlier smaller studies have shown conflicting results. The metabolomic methodology is suitable for screening large cohorts of samples. Global metabolomics can be used for detecting changes of metabolite concentrations in samples of fluids such as CSF. Using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC/TOFMS) and multivariate statistical modeling, we simultaneously studied the metabolome signature of ∼120 small metabolites in the CSF of patients with ALS, stratified according to hereditary disposition and clinical subtypes of ALS in relation to controls. The study is the first to report data validated over two sub-sets of ALS vs. control patients for a large set of metabolites analyzed by GC/TOFMS. We find that patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SALS) have a heterogeneous metabolite signature in the cerebrospinal fluid, in some patients being almost identical to controls. However, familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS) without superoxide dismutase-1 gene (SOD1) mutation is less heterogeneous than SALS. The metabolome of the cerebrospinal fluid of 17 ALS patients with a SOD1 gene mutation was found to form a separate homogeneous group. Analysis of metabolites revealed that glutamate and glutamine were reduced, in particular in patients with a familial predisposition. There are significant differences in the metabolite profile and composition among patients with FALS, SALS and patients carrying a mutation in the SOD1 gene suggesting that the neurodegenerative process in different subtypes of ALS may be partially dissimilar. Patients with a genetic predisposition to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis have a more distinct and homogeneous signature than patients with a sporadic disease.
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