[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Congenital bilateral absence of vas deferens (CBAVD) is a manifestation of the mildest form of cystic fibrosis (CF) and is characterized by obstructive azoospermia in otherwise healthy patients. Owing to the availability of assisted reproductive technology, CBAVD patients can father children. These fathers are at risk of transmitting a mutated allele of the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene, responsible for CF, to their offspring. The identification of mutations in both CFTR alleles in CBAVD patients is a crucial requirement for calculating the risk of producing a child with full-blown CF if the female partner is a healthy CF carrier. However, in the majority of CBAVD patients, conventional mutation screening is not able to detect mutations in both CFTR alleles, and this difficulty hampers the execution of correct genetic counselling. To obtain information about the most represented CFTR mutations in CBAVD patients, we analysed 23 CBAVD patients, 15 of whom had a single CFTR mutation after screening for 36 mutations and the 5T allele. The search for the second CFTR mutation in these cases was performed by using a triplex approach: (i) first, a reverse dot-blot analysis was performed to detect mutations with regional impact; (ii) next, multiple ligation-dependent probe amplification assays were conducted to search for large rearrangements; and (iii) finally, denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography was used to search for point mutations in the entire coding region. Using these approaches, the second CFTR mutation was detected in six patients, which increased the final detection rate to 60.8%.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · Asian Journal of Andrology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Deficit of the short stature homeobox containing gene (SHOX) accounts for 2.15% of cases of idiopathic short stature (ISS) and 50-100% of cases of Leri-Weill dyschondrosteosis (LWD). It has been demonstrated that patients with SHOX deficit show a good response to treatment with GH. Thus, the early identification of SHOX alterations is a crucial point in order to choose the best treatment for ISS and LWD patients. In this study, we analyze the most commonly used molecular techniques for the detection of SHOX gene alterations. multiple ligation-dependent probe amplification analysis appears to represent the gold standard for the detection of deletion involving the SHOX gene or the enhancer region, being able to show both alterations in a single assay.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2010 · Journal of endocrinological investigation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
An increasing number of couples undergo assisted reproduction techniques (ART) to generate a child, with the risk of the transmission to the offspring of a genetic defect underlying the condition of infertility.
To review the most common genetic causes of infertility and identify the appropriate genetic testing to be carried out to reduce the risk of genetic defect in the offspring.
Review of the literature in the field.
Cytogenetic investigation and screening of the CFTR gene are the only genetics testing suggested in all the couples undergoing ART; other tests should be performed only in selected cases.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2009 · Expert Opinion on Medical Diagnostics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human prostate is endowed with intraepithelial and stromal lymphocytes, which may develop lymphoid follicles (LF) and allow a local immune response. We sought to investigate whether interleukin (IL)-7 and BAFF/BLyS, two fundamental survival factors for T and B cells, are expressed in the normal and neoplastic prostate and affect intraprostatic lymphocyte homeostasis.
We have used real-time reverse transcription-PCR of microdissected prostatic glands and confocal microscopy to detect cytokine production, combined with immunohistochemistry to characterize intraprostatic lymphocytes.
Prostatic epithelia constitutively produce IL-7 and, to a lesser extent, BAFF/BLyS. Indeed, we show that IL-7 receptor alpha is expressed by intraepithelial T lymphocytes and parafollicular T cells, whereas BAFF-R is found on periglandular B lymphocytes and mantle zone B cells of LFs. Prostate-homing B and T lymphocytes are scarcely proliferating, whereas most of them express the antiapoptotic protein bcl-2 and reveal a low apoptotic index in the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling assay. The transition from normal to neoplastic glands in prostate cancer (PCa) is marked by a dramatic decline of IL-7 and BAFF/BLyS production. Accordingly, PCa is characterized by a significant reduction of intraepithelial lymphocytes and loss of LFs. B-cell and T-cell expression of bcl-2 decrease, whereas the apoptotic events increase. The remaining PCa-infiltrating lymphocytes are mostly CD8(+) T cells that lack terminal differentiation and barely penetrate neoplastic glands.
These results suggest that epithelial IL-7 and BAFF/BLyS production support intraprostatic lymphocyte survival. Its loss in PCa is associated with a severe depletion of prostate-associated lymphocytes and points to a novel tumor escape mechanism.
Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Clinical Cancer Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the X-linked androgen receptor (AR) gene cause androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), resulting in an impaired embryonic sex differentiation in 46,XY genetic men. Complete androgen insensitivity (CAIS) produces a female external phenotype, whereas cases with partial androgen insensitivity (PAIS) have various ambiguities of the genitalia. Mild androgen insensitivity (MAIS) is characterized by undermasculinization and gynecomastia. Here we describe a 2-month-old 46,XY female patient, with all of the characteristics of CAIS. Defects in testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) synthesis were excluded. Sequencing of the AR gene showed the presence in exon 6 of a T to C transition in the second base of codon 790, nucleotide position 2369, causing a novel missense Leu790Pro mutation in the ligand-binding domain of the AR protein. The identification of a novel AR mutation in a girl with CAIS provides significant information due to the importance of missense mutations in the ligand-binding domain of the AR, which are able to induce functional abnormalities in the androgen binding capability, stabilization of active conformation, or interaction with coactivators.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2008 · Asian Journal of Andrology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by degeneration of the anterior horn cells of the spinal cord, causing symmetric proximal muscle weakness. SMA is classified in three clinical types, SMA I, SMA II, and SMA III, based on the severity of the symptoms and the age of onset. About 95% of SMA cases are caused by homozygous deletion of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene (5q13), or its conversion to SMN2. The molecular diagnosis of this disease is usually carried out by a polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism approach able to evidence the absence of both SMN1 copies. However, this approach is not able to identify heterozygous healthy carriers, which show a very high frequency in general population (1:50). We used the multiple ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) approach for the molecular diagnosis of SMA in 19 affected patient and in 57 individuals at risk to become healthy carriers. This analysis detected the absence of the homozygous SMN1 in all the investigated cases, and allowed to discriminate between SMN1 deletion and conversion to SMN2 on the basis of the size showed by the peaks specific for the different genes mapped within the SMA critical region. Moreover, MLPA analysis evidenced a condition of the absence of the heterozygous SMN1 in 33 out of the 57 relatives of the affected patients, demonstrating the usefulness of this approach in the identification of healthy carriers. Thus, the MLPA technique represents an easy, low cost, and high throughput system in the molecular diagnosis of SMA, both in affected patients and in healthy carriers.