[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract
Objectives: Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy type 1 (FSHD1) has been genetically linked to reduced numbers (≤8) of D4Z4 repeats at 4q35. Particularly severe FSHD cases, characterised by an infantile onset and presence of additional extra-muscular features, have been associated with the shortest D4Z4 reduced alleles with 1–3 repeats (1–3 DRA). We searched for signs of perinatal onset and evaluated disease outcome through the systematic collection of clinical and anamnestic records of de novo and familial index cases and their relatives, carrying 1–3 DRA.
Participants: 66 index cases and 33 relatives carrying 1–3 DRA.
Outcomes: The clinical examination was performed using the standardised FSHD evaluation form with validated inter-rater reliability. To investigate the earliest signs of disease, we designed the Infantile Anamnestic Questionnaire (IAQ). Comparison of age at onset was performed using the non-parametric Wilcoxon rank-sum or Kruskal-Wallis test. Comparison of the FSHD score was performed using a general linear model and Wald test. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to estimate the age-specific cumulative motor impairment risk.
Results: No patients had perinatal onset. Among index cases, 36 (54.5%) showed the first signs by 10 years of age. The large majority of patients with early disease onset (26 out of 36, 72.2%) were de novo; whereas the majority of patients with disease onset after 10 years of age were familial (16, 53.3%). Comparison of the disease severity outcome between index cases with age at onset before and over 10 years of age, failed to detect statistical significance (Wald test p value=0.064). Of 61 index cases, only 17 (27.9%) presented extra-muscular conditions. Relatives carrying 1–3 DRA showed a large clinical variability ranging from healthy subjects, to patients with severe motor impairment.
Conclusions: The size of the D4Z4 allele is not always predictive of severe clinical outcome. The high degree of clinical variability suggests that additional factors contribute to the phenotype complexity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Progressive external ophthalmoplegia (PEO), Kearns-Sayre syndrome (KSS) and Pearson syndrome are the three sporadic clinical syndromes classically associated with single large-scale deletions of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). PEO plus is a term frequently utilized in the clinical setting to identify patients with PEO and some degree of multisystem involvement, but a precise definition is not available. The purpose of the present study is to better define the clinical phenotypes associated with a single mtDNA deletion, by a retrospective study on a large cohort of 228 patients from the database of the "Nation-wide Italian Collaborative Network of Mitochondrial Diseases". In our database, single deletions account for about a third of all patients with mtDNA-related disease, more than previously recognized. We elaborated new criteria for the definition of PEO and "KSS spectrum" (a category of which classic KSS represents the most severe extreme). The criteria for "KSS spectrum" include the resulting multisystem clinical features associated with the KSS features, and which therefore can predict their presence or subsequent development. With the new criteria, we were able to classify nearly all our single-deletion patients: 64.5 % PEO, 31.6 % KSS spectrum (including classic KSS 6.6 %) and 2.6 % Pearson syndrome. The deletion length was greater in KSS spectrum than in PEO, whereas heteroplasmy was inversely related with age at onset. We believe that the new phenotype definitions implemented here may contribute to a more homogeneous patient categorization, which will be useful in future cohort studies of natural history and clinical trials.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Journal of Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
Our aim was to conduct a comparative study in a large cohort of myopathic patients carrying LMNA gene mutations to evaluate clinical and molecular features associated with different phenotypes.
We performed a retrospective cohort study of 78 myopathic patients with LMNA mutation and 30 familial cases with LMNA mutation without muscle involvement. We analyzed features characterizing the various forms of LMNA-related myopathy through correlation statistics.
Of the 78 patients, 37 (47%) had limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 1B (LGMD1B), 18 (23%) congenital muscular dystrophy (MDCL), 17 (22%) autosomal dominant Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy 2 (EDMD2), and 6 (8%) an atypical myopathy. The myopathic phenotypes shared a similar cardiac impairment. Cardioverter defibrillator or pacemaker was implanted in 41 (53%) myopathic patients compared to 7 (23%) familial cases without muscle involvement (p = 0.005). Heart transplantation was performed in 8 (10.3%) myopathic patients and in none of the familial cases. Ten (12.8%) myopathic patients died; there were no deaths among the familial cases (p = 0.032). Missense mutations were found in 14 patients (82%) with EDMD2 and 14 patients (78%) with MDCL compared to 17 patients (45%) with LGMD1B and 4 (67%) atypical patients. Frameshift mutations were detected in 17 (45%) LGMD1B compared to 3 (18%) EDMD2, 1 (6%) MDCL, and 2 (33%) with atypical myopathy (p = 0.021). Furthermore, frameshift mutations were found in 30 of 73 patients (41%) with heart involvement compared to 4 of 35 (11%) without heart involvement (p = 0.004).
Our data provided new insights in LMNA-related myopathies, whose natural history appears to be dominated by cardiac involvement and related complications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The m.3243A>G "MELAS" (mitochondrial encephalopathy with lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes) mutation is one of the most common point mutations of the mitochondrial DNA, but its phenotypic variability is incompletely understood. The aim of this study was to revise the phenotypic spectrum associated with the mitochondrial m.3243A>G mutation in 126 Italian carriers of the mutation, by a retrospective, database-based study ("Nation-wide Italian Collaborative Network of Mitochondrial Diseases"). Our results confirmed the high clinical heterogeneity of the m.3243A>G mutation. Hearing loss and diabetes were the most frequent clinical features, followed by stroke-like episodes. "MIDD" (maternally-inherited diabetes and deafness) and "PEO" (progressive external ophthalmoplegia) are nosographic terms without any real prognostic value, because these patients may be even more prone to the development of multisystem complications such as stroke-like episodes and heart involvement. The "MELAS" acronym is convincing and useful to denote patients with histological, biochemical and/or molecular evidence of mitochondrial disease who experience stroke-like episodes. Of note, we observed for the first time that male gender could represent a risk factor for the development of stroke-like episodes in Italian m.3243A>G carriers. Gender effect is not a new concept in mitochondrial medicine, but it has never been observed in MELAS. A better elucidation of the complex network linking mitochondrial dysfunction, apoptosis, estrogen effects and stroke-like episodes may hold therapeutic promises.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy has been genetically linked to reduced numbers (≤8) of D4Z4 repeats at 4q35 combined with 4A(159/161/168) DUX4 polyadenylation signal haplotype. However, we have recently reported that 1.3% of healthy individuals carry this molecular signature and 19% of subjects affected by facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy do not carry alleles with eight or fewer D4Z4 repeats. Therefore, prognosis for subjects carrying or at risk of carrying D4Z4 reduced alleles has become more complicated. To test for additional prognostic factors, we measured the degree of motor impairment in a large group of patients affected by facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy and their relatives who are carrying D4Z4 reduced alleles. The clinical expression of motor impairment was assessed in 530 subjects, 163 probands and 367 relatives, from 176 unrelated families according to a standardized clinical score. The associations between clinical severity and size of D4Z4 allele, degree of kinship, gender, age and 4q haplotype were evaluated. Overall, 32.2% of relatives did not display any muscle functional impairment. This phenotype was influenced by the degree of relation with proband, because 47.1% of second- through fifth-degree relatives were unaffected, whereas only 27.5% of first-degree family members did not show motor impairment. The estimated risk of developing motor impairment by age 50 for relatives carrying a D4Z4 reduced allele with 1-3 repeats or 4-8 repeats was 88.7% and 55%, respectively. Male relatives had a mean score significantly higher than females (5.4 versus 4.0, P = 0.003). No 4q haplotype was exclusively associated with the presence of disease. In 13% of families in which D4Z4 alleles with 4-8 repeats segregate, the diagnosis of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy was reported only in one generation. In conclusion, this large-scale analysis provides further information that should be taken into account when counselling families in which a reduced allele with 4-8 D4Z4 repeats segregates. In addition, the reduced expression of disease observed in distant relatives suggests that a family's genetic background plays a role in the occurrence of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. These results indicate that the identification of new susceptibility factors for this disease will require an accurate classification of families.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
Myoclonic epilepsy with ragged-red fibers (MERRF) is a rare mitochondrial syndrome, mostly caused by the 8344A>G mitochondrial DNA mutation. Most of the previous studies have been based on single case/family reports or series with few patients. The primary aim of this study was the characterization of a large cohort of patients with the 8344A>G mutation. The secondary aim was revision of the previously published data.
Retrospective, database-based study (Nation-wide Italian Collaborative Network of Mitochondrial Diseases) and systematic revision.
Forty-two patients carrying the mutation were identified. The great majority did not have full-blown MERRF syndrome. Myoclonus was present in 1 of 5 patients, whereas myopathic signs and symptoms, generalized seizures, hearing loss, eyelid ptosis, and multiple lipomatosis represented the most common clinical features. Some asymptomatic mutation carriers have also been observed. Myoclonus was more strictly associated with ataxia than generalized seizures in adult 8344A>G subjects. Considering all of the 321 patients so far available, including our dataset and previously published cases, at the mean age of approximately 35 years, the clinical picture was characterized by the following signs/symptoms, in descending order: myoclonus, muscle weakness, ataxia (35%-45% of patients); generalized seizures, hearing loss (25%-34.9%); cognitive impairment, multiple lipomatosis, neuropathy, exercise intolerance (15%-24.9%); and increased creatine kinase levels, ptosis/ophthalmoparesis, optic atrophy, cardiomyopathy, muscle wasting, respiratory impairment, diabetes, muscle pain, tremor, migraine (5%-14.9%).
Our results showed higher clinical heterogeneity than commonly thought. Moreover, MERRF could be better defined as a myoclonic ataxia rather than a myoclonic epilepsy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Pompe's disease is an inherited metabolic myopathy caused by acid α-glucosidase deficiency. Early diagnosis optimizes the treatment effectiveness.
One-hundred-thirty-seven consecutive patients with unexplained hyperCKemia underwent the assessment of acid α-glucosidase activity on dried blood spot. Second tier confirmatory testing in positive patients included the assessment of α-glucosidase activity on lymphocytes or muscle tissue and molecular analysis.
Three patients were diagnosed with later-onset Pompe's disease, revealing 2.2% prevalence in asymptomatic hyperCKemia. Moreover, three patients positive to the screening revealed abnormal biochemical second tier testing, but were heterozygous for the common c.-32-13T>G mutation at molecular level.
The selective screening for later-onset Pompe's disease in asymptomatic hyperCKemia allowed the identification of affected patients in a pre-clinical stage. Additionally, the identification of carriers with biochemical alterations related to Pompe's disease extends the spectrum of its manifestations to heterozygous subjects.
No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Molecular Genetics and Metabolism
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fatigue and pain have been previously shown to be important determinants for decreasing quality of life (QoL) in one report in patients with non-dystrophic myotonia. The aims of our study were to assess QoL in skeletal muscle channelopathies (SMC) using INQoL (individualized QoL) and SF-36 questionnaires.
We administered INQoL and SF-36 to 66 Italian patients with SMC (26: periodic paralysis, 36: myotonia congenita and 4: Andersen-Tawil) and compared the results in 422 patients with myotonic dystrophies (DM1: 382; and DM2: 40).
(i) INQoL index in SMC is similar to that in DMs (P = 0.79). (ii) Patients with myotonia congenita have the worst perception of QoL. (iii) Myotonia has the most detrimental effect on patients with myotonia congenita, followed by patients with DM2 and then by patients with DM1 and hyperkalemic periodic paralysis. (iv) Pain is a significant complaint in patients with myotonia congenita, hypokalemic periodic paralysis and DM2 but not in DM1. (v) Fatigue has a similar detrimental effect on all patient groups except for patients with hyperkalemic periodic paralysis in whom muscle weakness and myotonia more than fatigue affect QoL perception. (vi) Muscle symptoms considered in INQoL correlate with physical symptoms assessed by SF-36 (R from −0.34 to −0.76).
QoL perception in patients with SMC is similar to that of patients with DMs, chronic multisystem disabling conditions. Our results provide information to target treatment and health care of these patients. The sensitivity of INQoL to changes in QoL in the SMC needs to be further explored in longitudinal studies.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · European Journal of Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder caused by mutations of the SMN1 gene. Based on severity, three forms of SMA are recognized (types I-III). All patients usually have 2-4 copies of a highly homologous gene (SMN2), which produces insufficient levels of functional survival motor neuron (SMN) protein due to the alternative splicing of exon 7. The availability of potential candidates to the treatment of SMA has raised a number of issues, including the availability of biomarkers. This study was aimed at evaluating whether the quantification of SMN2 products in peripheral blood is a suitable biomarker for SMA. Forty-five adult type III patients were evaluated by Manual Muscle Testing, North Star Ambulatory Assessment scale, 6-min walk test, myometry, forced vital capacity, and dual X-ray absorptiometry. Molecular assessments included SMN2 copy number, levels of full-length SMN2 (SMN2-fl) transcripts and those lacking exon 7 and SMN protein. Clinical outcome measures strongly correlated to each other. Lean body mass correlated inversely with years from diagnosis and with several aspects of motor performance. SMN2 copy number and SMN protein levels were not associated with motor performance or transcript levels. SMN2-fl levels correlated with motor performance in ambulant patients. Our results indicate that SMN2-fl levels correlate with motor performance only in patients preserving higher levels of motor function, whereas motor performance was strongly influenced by disease duration and lean body mass. If not taken into account, the confounding effect of disease duration may impair the identification of potential SMA biomarkers.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 17 October 2012; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.233.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · European journal of human genetics: EJHG
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies, X-linked recessive myopathies, predominantly affect males, a clinically significant proportion of females manifesting symptoms have also been reported. They represent an heterogeneous group characterized by variable degrees of muscle weakness and/or cardiac involvement. Though preferential inactivation of the normal X chromosome has long been considered the principal mechanism behind disease manifestation in these females, supporting evidence is controversial.
Eighteen females showing a mosaic pattern of dystrophin expression on muscle biopsy were recruited and classified as symptomatic (7) or asymptomatic (11), based on the presence or absence of muscle weakness. The causative DMD gene mutations were identified in all cases, and the X-inactivation pattern was assessed in muscle DNA. Transcriptional analysis in muscles was performed in all females, and relative quantification of wild-type and mutated transcripts was also performed in 9 carriers. Dystrophin protein was quantified by immunoblotting in 2 females.
The study highlighted a lack of relationship between dystrophic phenotype and X-inactivation pattern in females; skewed X-inactivation was found in 2 out of 6 symptomatic carriers and in 5 out of 11 asymptomatic carriers. All females were characterized by biallelic transcription, but no association was found between X-inactivation pattern and allele transcriptional balancing. Either a prevalence of wild-type transcript or equal proportions of wild-type and mutated RNAs was observed in both symptomatic and asymptomatic females. Moreover, very similar levels of total and wild-type transcripts were identified in the two groups of carriers.
This is the first study deeply exploring the DMD transcriptional behaviour in a cohort of female carriers. Notably, no relationship between X-inactivation pattern and transcriptional behaviour of DMD gene was observed, suggesting that the two mechanisms are regulated independently. Moreover, neither the total DMD transcript level, nor the relative proportion of the wild-type transcript do correlate with the symptomatic phenotype.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · BMC Medical Genetics