[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction:
Myotonia in myotonic dystrophy types 1 (DM1) and 2 (DM2) is generally attributed to reduced chloride channel conductance. We used muscle velocity recovery cycles (MVRCs) to investigate muscle membrane properties in DM1 and DM2, with comparisons with myotonia congenita (MC).
MVRCs and responses to repetitive stimulation were compared between patients with DM1 (n=18), DM2 (n=5), MC (n=18), and normal controls (n=20).
Both DM1 and DM2 showed enhanced late supernormality after multiple conditioning stimuli, indicating delayed repolarization as in MC. Contrary to MC, however, DM1 showed reduced early supernormality after multiple conditioning stimuli, and weak DM1 patients also showed abnormally slow latency recovery after repetitive stimulation.
These findings support impaired chloride conductance in both DM1 and DM2. The early supernormality changes indicate that sodium currents were reduced in DM1, while the weakness-associated slow recovery after repetitive stimulation may provide an indication of reduced Na(+) /K(+) -ATPase activation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the nuclear gene POLG (encoding the catalytic subunit of DNA polymerase gamma) are an important cause of mitochondrial disease. The most common POLG mutation, A467T, appears to exhibit considerable phenotypic heterogeneity. The mechanism by which this single genetic defect results in such clinical diversity remains unclear. In this study we evaluate the clinical, neuropathological and mitochondrial genetic features of four unrelated patients with homozygous A467T mutations. One patient presented with the severe and lethal Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome, which was confirmed on neuropathology, and was found to have a depletion of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Of the remaining three patients, one presented with mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes (MELAS), one with a phenotype in the Myoclonic Epilepsy, Myopathy and Sensory Ataxia (MEMSA) spectrum and one with Sensory Ataxic Neuropathy, Dysarthria and Ophthalmoplegia (SANDO). All three had secondary accumulation of multiple mtDNA deletions. Complete sequence analysis of muscle mtDNA using the MitoChip resequencing chip in all four cases demonstrated significant variation in mtDNA, including a pathogenic MT-ND5 mutation in one patient. These data highlight the variable and overlapping clinical and neuropathological phenotypes and downstream molecular defects caused by the A467T mutation, which may result from factors such as the mtDNA genetic background, nuclear genetic modifiers and environmental stressors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A central theme in the quest to unravel the genetic basis of epilepsy has been the effort to elucidate the roles played by inherited defects in ion channels. The ubiquitous expression of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) throughout the central nervous system (CNS), along with their involvement in fundamental processes, such as neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission, has made them attractive candidates. Recent insights provided by the identification of mutations in the P/Q-type calcium channel in humans and rodents with epilepsy and the finding of thalamic T-type calcium channel dysfunction in the absence of seizures have raised expectations of a causal role of calcium channels in the polygenic inheritance of idiopathic epilepsy. In this review, we consider how genetic variation in neuronal VGCCs may influence the development of epilepsy.
Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Congenital myopathies are a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of muscle disorders characterized by congenital or early-onset hypotonia and muscle weakness, and specific pathological features on muscle biopsy. The phenotype ranges from foetal akinesia resulting in in utero or neonatal mortality, to milder disorders that are not life-limiting. Over the past decade, more than 20 new congenital myopathy genes have been identified. Most encode proteins involved in muscle contraction; however, mutations in ion channel-encoding genes are increasingly being recognized as a cause of this group of disorders. SCN4A encodes the α-subunit of the skeletal muscle voltage-gated sodium channel (Nav1.4). This channel is essential for the generation and propagation of the muscle action potential crucial to muscle contraction. Dominant SCN4A gain-of-function mutations are a well-established cause of myotonia and periodic paralysis. Using whole exome sequencing, we identified homozygous or compound heterozygous SCN4A mutations in a cohort of 11 individuals from six unrelated kindreds with congenital myopathy. Affected members developed in utero- or neonatal-onset muscle weakness of variable severity. In seven cases, severe muscle weakness resulted in death during the third trimester or shortly after birth. The remaining four cases had marked congenital or neonatal-onset hypotonia and weakness associated with mild-to-moderate facial and neck weakness, significant neonatal-onset respiratory and swallowing difficulties and childhood-onset spinal deformities. All four surviving cohort members experienced clinical improvement in the first decade of life. Muscle biopsies showed myopathic features including fibre size variability, presence of fibrofatty tissue of varying severity, without specific structural abnormalities. Electrophysiology suggested a myopathic process, without myotonia. In vitro functional assessment in HEK293 cells of the impact of the identified SCN4A mutations showed loss-of-function of the mutant Nav1.4 channels. All, apart from one, of the mutations either caused fully non-functional channels, or resulted in a reduced channel activity. Each of the affected cases carried at least one full loss-of-function mutation. In five out of six families, a second loss-of-function mutation was present on the trans allele. These functional results provide convincing evidence for the pathogenicity of the identified mutations and suggest that different degrees of loss-of-function in mutant Nav1.4 channels are associated with attenuation of the skeletal muscle action potential amplitude to a level insufficient to support normal muscle function. The results demonstrate that recessive loss-of-function SCN4A mutations should be considered in patients with a congenital myopathy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
To determine the molecular basis of a complex phenotype of congenital muscle weakness observed in an isolated but consanguineous patient.
The proband was evaluated clinically and neurophysiologically over a period of 15 years. Genetic testing of candidate genes was performed. Functional characterization of the candidate mutation was done in mammalian cell background using whole cell patch clamp technique.
The proband had fatigable muscle weakness characteristic of congenital myasthenic syndrome with acute and reversible attacks of most severe muscle weakness as observed in periodic paralysis. We identified a novel homozygous SCN4A mutation (p.R1454W) linked to this recessively inherited phenotype. The p.R1454W substitution induced an important enhancement of fast and slow inactivation, a slower recovery for these inactivated states, and a frequency-dependent regulation of Nav1.4 channels in the heterologous expression system.
We identified a novel loss-of-function mutation of Nav1.4 that leads to a recessive phenotype combining clinical symptoms and signs of congenital myasthenic syndrome and periodic paralysis, probably by decreasing channel availability for muscle action potential genesis at the neuromuscular junction and propagation along the sarcolemma.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Evidence accumulated over recent years has shown that genetic neurological channelopathies can cause many different neurological diseases. Presentations relating to the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve or muscle mean that channelopathies can impact on almost any area of neurological practice. Typically, neurological channelopathies are inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion and cause paroxysmal disturbances of neurological function, although the impairment of function can become fixed with time. These disorders are individually rare, but an accurate diagnosis is important as it has genetic counselling and often treatment implications. Furthermore, the study of less common ion channel mutation-related diseases has increased our understanding of pathomechanisms that is relevant to common neurological diseases such as migraine and epilepsy. Here, we review the molecular genetic and clinical features of inherited neurological channelopathies.
Preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A substantial impediment to progress in trials of new therapies in neuromuscular disorders is the absence of responsive outcome measures that correlate with patient functional deficits and are sensitive to early disease processes. Irrespective of the primary molecular defect, neuromuscular disorder pathological processes include disturbance of intramuscular water distribution followed by intramuscular fat accumulation, both quantifiable by MRI. In pathologically distinct neuromuscular disorders, we aimed to determine the comparative responsiveness of MRI outcome measures over 1 year, the validity of MRI outcome measures by cross-sectional correlation against functionally relevant clinical measures, and the sensitivity of specific MRI indices to early muscle water changes before intramuscular fat accumulation beyond the healthy control range.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · The Lancet Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial disorders are now well recognized as an important cause of genetic disease. They exhibit remarkable phenotypic, biochemical, and molecular heterogeneity, and frequently involve multiple organ systems. Their complexity partly relates to the dual expression of mitochondrial proteins by both mitochondrial and nuclear genomic DNA. Multiple copies of mitochondrial DNA ( mtDNA) are present in a single human mitochondrion. Each molecule exists as a double-stranded, circular, helical structure containing 37 genes: 13 encode polypeptide subunits, whilst the remaining 24 encode 22 transfer and 2 ribosomal RNAs necessary for their synthesis. These protein subunits contribute towards four of five multimeric enzymes (so-called complex I/III/IV/V, with complex II entirely nuclear-encoded) embedded in the inner mitochondrial membrane. The enzymes catalyze a sequence of redox reactions which ultimately generates adenine triphosphate, the cellular unit of energy, during oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). The remaining OXPHOS subunits (more than 70 in total), in addition to the apparatus required for their transcription, translation, post-translational modification and assembly, are nuclear-encoded. The mitochondrion's dependence on nuclear DNA extends further to include the machinery required for the maintenance, replication, and repair of mtDNA molecules, the proteins for which are synthesized in the cell cytoplasm prior to transport across mitochondrial membrane for replication. Recent advancements in DNA analysis using next generation sequencing technology have provided an unprecedented expansion in the depth of knowledge concerning both molecular mechanisms and biological pathways which underpin many mitochondrial diseases. This understanding has led to the emergence of many potential targets and treatment strategies for these disorders for which there is currently no cure. This review highlights the challenges to therapy development and clinical trial design and outlines the approaches currently being investigated to treat this diverse group of disorders.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Discovery medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Paramyotonia congenita (PMC) and sodium channel myotonia (SCM) have been considered as phenotypically distinct diseases since the potassium aggravated myotonias were first described. They are marked by the presence and absence of weakness and thought to have distinctive neurophysiology patterns. However there is little phenotypic data published comparing large groups of these patients. We investigated a large cohort of 137 patients with mutations in the sodium channel, SCN4A, to identify phenotypic differences between these groups. We found that, whilst there were distinct differences between those patients with Hyperkalaemic periodic paralysis and PMC/SCM, there were no significant phenotypic differences between PMC and SCM patients. This was both when comparing patients with and without episodes of weakness and comparing those with distinct neurophysiology patterns. We therefore propose that PMC and SCM, whilst being separate from Hyperkalaemic periodic paralysis, are part of a spectrum of the same disease and that patients are more likely to lie at a particular point on that spectrum depending on their specific genotype.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction Alternating hemiplegia of Childhood (AH) caused by de novo mutations in ATP1A3, is characterised by recurrent plegic and dystonic episodes, seizures, non-paroxysmal neurological features, and dysautonomia. Premature mortality is observed and attributed to sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. A single case of asystole in AH is reported. Other neuronal channelopathies have cardiac involvement, and since ATP1A3 is expressed in cardiomyocytes, we hypothesised that ECG abnormalities are present in AH.
Methods 52 patients fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for AH were recruited, and screened for ATP1A3 mutations. ECGs were analysed for heart rate, cardiac axis, PR, QRS, RR, and QTc intervals, repolarisation patterns, and J-point abnormalities.
Results 53.8% exhibited abnormal resting 12-lead ECGs independent of seizures or AH episodes; 48.1% had repolarisation abnormalities. The proportion of intraventricular conduction delay or partial right bundle branch block was greater in this cohort compared to the general population. ECG abnormalities were significantly greater in patients >16 years than in those <16 years (p=0.0095), and also within the most common mutation group (D801N; p=0.045).
Conclusions These ECG abnormalities reflect impaired repolarisation reserve in AH in an age-dependent manner, and may account for some cases of premature mortality observed. Long-term cardiac surveillance in AH is recommended.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry