[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background In many cases where Huntington’s disease (HD) is suspected, the genetic test for HD is negative: these are known as HD phenocopies. Most of these individuals remain without a genetic diagnosis. A repeat expansion in the C9orf72 gene has been identified as the major cause of familial and sporadic frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Aim To determine whether the C9orf72 expansion mutation causes HD phenocopies.
Methods A cohort of 514 HD phenocopy patients were analysed for the C9orf72 expansion using repeat-primed PCR. In cases where the expansion was found, Southern hybridisation was performed to determine expansion size. Clinical case notes were reviewed to determine the phenotype of expansion-positive cases.
Results 10 subjects (1.95%) had the expansion, making it the commonest identified genetic cause of HD-phenocopy presentations. The size of expansion was not significantly different from that associated with other clinical presentations of C9orf72 expanded cases. The C9orf72 expansion-positive subjects were characterised by the presence of movement disorders including dystonia, chorea, myoclonus, tremor and rigidity. Furthermore the age of onset in this cohort was lower than previously reported for subjects with the C9orf72 expansion, and included one case with paediatric onset.
Conclusions This study extends the known phenotype of the C9orf72 expansion, both in age of onset and movement disorder symptoms. We propose a revised clinico-genetic algorithm for the investigation of HD-phenocopy patients based on these data.
No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In many cases where Huntington disease (HD) is suspected, the genetic test for HD is negative: these are known as HD phenocopies. A repeat expansion in the C9orf72 gene has recently been identified as a major cause of familial and sporadic frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Our objective was to determine whether this mutation causes HD phenocopies.
A cohort of 514 HD phenocopy patients were analyzed for the C9orf72 expansion using repeat primed PCR. In cases where the expansion was found, Southern hybridization was performed to determine expansion size. Clinical case notes were reviewed to determine the phenotype of expansion-positive cases.
Ten subjects (1.95%) had the expansion, making it the most common identified genetic cause of HD phenocopy presentations. The size of expansion was not significantly different from that associated with other clinical presentations of C9orf72 expanded cases. The C9orf72 expansion-positive subjects were characterized by the presence of movement disorders, including dystonia, chorea, myoclonus, tremor, and rigidity. Furthermore, the age at onset in this cohort was lower than previously reported for subjects with the C9orf72 expansion and included one case with pediatric onset.
This study extends the known phenotype of the C9orf72 expansion in both age at onset and movement disorder symptoms. We propose a revised clinico-genetic algorithm for the investigation of HD phenocopy patients based on these data.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
To obtain minimum point prevalence rates for the skeletal muscle channelopathies and to evaluate the frequency distribution of mutations associated with these disorders.
Analysis of demographic, clinical, electrophysiologic, and genetic data of all patients assessed at our national specialist channelopathy service. Only patients living in the United Kingdom with a genetically defined diagnosis of nondystrophic myotonia or periodic paralysis were eligible for the study. Prevalence rates were estimated for England, December 2011.
A total of 665 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria, of which 593 were living in England, giving a minimum point prevalence of 1.12/100,000 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03-1.21). Disease-specific prevalence figures were as follows: myotonia congenita 0.52/100,000 (95% CI 0.46-0.59), paramyotonia congenita 0.17/100,000 (95% CI 0.13-0.20), sodium channel myotonias 0.06/100,000 (95% CI 0.04-0.08), hyperkalemic periodic paralysis 0.17/100,000 (95% CI 0.13-0.20), hypokalemic periodic paralysis 0.13/100,000 (95% CI 0.10-0.17), and Andersen-Tawil syndrome (ATS) 0.08/100,000 (95% CI 0.05-0.10). In the whole sample (665 patients), 15 out of 104 different CLCN1 mutations accounted for 60% of all patients with myotonia congenita, 11 out of 22 SCN4A mutations for 86% of paramyotonia congenita/sodium channel myotonia pedigrees, and 3 out of 17 KCNJ2 mutations for 42% of ATS pedigrees.
We describe for the first time the overall prevalence of genetically defined skeletal muscle channelopathies in England. Despite the large variety of mutations observed in patients with nondystrophic myotonia and ATS, a limited number accounted for a large proportion of cases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
The objective of this study was to validate the immunohistochemical assay for the diagnosis of nondystrophic myotonia and to provide full clarification of clinical disease to patients in whom basic genetic testing has failed to do so.
An immunohistochemical assay of sarcolemmal chloride channel abundance using 2 different ClC1-specific antibodies.
This method led to the identification of new mutations, to the reclassification of W118G in CLCN1 as a moderately pathogenic mutation, and to confirmation of recessive (Becker) myotonia congenita in cases when only one recessive CLCN1 mutation had been identified by genetic testing.
We have developed a robust immunohistochemical assay that can detect loss of sarcolemmal ClC-1 protein on muscle sections. This in combination with gene sequencing is a powerful approach to achieving a final diagnosis of nondystrophic myotonia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The inherited cerebellar ataxias are a diverse group of clinically and genetically heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorders. Inheritance patterns of these disorders can be complex with autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, X-linked, and mitochondrial inheritance demonstrated by one or more ataxic syndromes. The broad range of mutation types found in inherited ataxia contributes to the complex genetic etiology of these disorders. The majority of inherited ataxias are caused by repeat expansions; however, conventional mutations are important causes of the rarer dominant and recessive ataxias. Advances in sequencing technology have allowed for much broader testing of these rare ataxia genes. This is relevant to the aims of the Human Variome Project, which aims to collate and store gene variation data through mutation databases. Variant data is currently located in a range of public and commercial resources. Few locus-specific databases have been created to catalogue variation in the dominant ataxia genes although there are several databases for some recessive genes. Developing these resources will facilitate a better understanding of the complex genotype-phenotype relationships in these disorders and assist interpretation of gene variants as testing for rarer ataxia genes becomes commonplace.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess whether exon deletions or duplications in CLCN1 are associated with recessive myotonia congenita (MC).
We performed detailed clinical and electrophysiologic characterization in 60 patients with phenotypes consistent with MC. DNA sequencing of CLCN1 followed by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification to screen for exon copy number variation was undertaken in all patients.
Exon deletions or duplications in CLCN1 were identified in 6% of patients with MC. Half had heterozygous exonic rearrangements. The other 2 patients (50%), with severe disabling infantile onset myotonia, were identified with both a homozygous mutation, Pro744Thr, which functional electrophysiology studies suggested was nonpathogenic, and a triplication/homozygous duplication involving exons 8-14, suggesting an explanation for the severe phenotype.
These data indicate that copy number variation in CLCN1 may be an important cause of recessive MC. Our observations suggest that it is important to check for exon deletions and duplications as part of the genetic analysis of patients with recessive MC, especially in patients in whom sequencing identifies no mutations or only a single recessive mutation. These results also indicate that additional, as yet unidentified, genetic mechanisms account for cases not currently explained by either CLCN1 point mutations or exonic deletions or duplications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acetazolamide has been the most commonly used treatment for hypokalemic periodic paralysis since 1968. However, its mechanism of efficacy is not fully understood, and it is not known whether therapy response relates to genotype. We undertook a clinical and genetic study to evaluate the response rate of patients treated with acetazolamide and to investigate possible correlations between response and genotype.
We identified a total of 74 genotyped patients for this study. These included patients who were referred over a 15-year period to the only U.K. referral center or to a Chinese center and who underwent extensive clinical evaluation. For all genotyped patients, the response to acetazolamide therapy in terms of attack frequency and severity was documented. Direct DNA sequencing of CACNA1S and SCN4A was performed.
Only 46% of the total patient cohort (34 of 74) reported benefit from acetazolamide. There was a greater chance of benefit in patients with mutations in CACNA1S (31 responded of 55 total) than in those with mutations in SCN4A (3 responded of 19 total). Patients with mutations that resulted in amino acids being substituted by glycine in either gene were the least likely to report benefit.
This retrospective study indicates that only approximately 50% of genotyped patients with hypokalemic periodic paralysis respond to acetazolamide. We found evidence supporting a relationship between genotype and treatment response. Prospective randomized controlled trials are required to further evaluate this relationship. Development of alternative therapies is required.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rate of DNA variation discovery has accelerated the need to collate, store and interpret the data in a standardised coherent way and is becoming a critical step in maximising the impact of discovery on the understanding and treatment of human disease. This particularly applies to the field of neurology as neurological function is impaired in many human disorders. Furthermore, the field of neurogenetics has been proven to show remarkably complex genotype-to-phenotype relationships. To facilitate the collection of DNA sequence variation pertaining to neurogenetic disorders, we have initiated the "Neurogenetics Consortium" under the umbrella of the Human Variome Project. The Consortium's founding group consisted of basic researchers, clinicians, informaticians and database creators. This report outlines the strategic aims established at the preliminary meetings of the Neurogenetics Consortium and calls for the involvement of the wider neurogenetic community in enabling the development of this important resource.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background / Purpose:
Skeletal muscle channelopathies are a group of neuromuscular disorders that are caused by mutations of voltage gated ion channels resulting in altered membrane excitability. They include the non dystrophic myotonias and the periodic paralyses. There are two main types of periodic paralysis: hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HyperPP) and hypokalemic periodic paralysis (HypoPP) which are the result of mutations in the genes coding for the skeletal muscle voltage gated calcium channel (CACNA1S) or sodium channel (SCN4A). The causative mutations of HypoPP have been found to localise in the voltage sensing segments (S4) of SCN4A and CACNA1S. However, the causative mutations for other skeletal muscle channelopathies have not been found to cluster in such a localized area of the causative gene.To investigate genetic heterogeneity in the skeletal muscle channelopathies and potential mechanisms for phenotypic variability including differential allelic expression and abnormal protein trafficking.Exonic sequencing of causative genes will be used to find additional mutations within these genes that cause skeletal muscle channelopathies. Phenotypic variation will be looked at using qPCR and immunohistochemistry of muscle samples.
SCN4A and CACNA1S S4 segments in an initial group of patients were sequenced and two novel mutations of SCN4A were found; p.S653G in a patient with HyperPP and p.R222Q in a patient with Myotonia Congenita. This is only the second SCN4A S4 arginine mutation to be reported in a phenotype other than HypoPP. R222W has previously been described, in HypoPP (Matthews et al 2009). Functional studies of the variability in voltage sensor function and resultant phenotype with differing residues may lead to better understanding of the pathomechansims of disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autosomal dominant dopa-responsive dystonia is commonly caused by mutations in the guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase-1 gene.
We report a British family that has been followed for more than 20 years in which no mutations were previously identified.
Reanalysis of this pedigree detected a duplication of guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase-1 exon 2 in affected family members. mRNA analysis showed a mutant transcript with a tandem exon 2 duplication. Four family members developed dopa-responsive dystonia, with onset in their late teens, and subsequently developed restless leg syndrome and migraine.
This is the first report of an intragenic guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase-1 duplication in a dopa-responsive dystonia family.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · Movement Disorders
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To improve the accuracy of genotype prediction and guide genetic testing in patients with muscle channelopathies we applied and refined specialized electrophysiological exercise test parameters.
We studied 56 genetically confirmed patients and 65 controls using needle electromyography, the long exercise test, and short exercise tests at room temperature, after cooling, and rewarming.
Concordant amplitude-and-area decrements were more reliable than amplitude-only measurements when interpreting patterns of change during the short exercise tests. Concordant amplitude-and-area pattern I and pattern II decrements of >20% were 100% specific for paramyotonia congenita and myotonia congenita, respectively. When decrements at room temperature and after cooling were <20%, a repeat short exercise test after rewarming was useful in patients with myotonia congenita. Area measurements and rewarming distinguished true temperature sensitivity from amplitude reduction due to cold-induced slowing of muscle fiber conduction. In patients with negative short exercise tests, symptomatic eye closure myotonia predicted sodium channel myotonia over myotonia congenita. Distinctive "tornado-shaped" neuromyotonia-like discharges may be seen in patients with paramyotonia congenita. In the long exercise test, area decrements from pre-exercise baseline were more sensitive than amplitude decrements-from-maximum-compound muscle action potential (CMAP) in patients with Andersen-Tawil syndrome. Possible ethnic differences in the normative data of the long exercise test argue for the use of appropriate ethnically-matched controls.
Concordant CMAP amplitude-and-area decrements of >20% allow more reliable interpretation of the short exercise tests and aid accurate DNA-based diagnosis. In patients with negative exercise tests, specific clinical features are helpful in differentiating sodium from chloride channel myotonia. A modified algorithm is suggested.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Annals of Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several missense mutations of CACNA1S and SCN4A genes occur in hypokalemic periodic paralysis. These mutations affect arginine residues in the S4 voltage sensors of the channel. Approximately 20% of cases remain genetically undefined.
We undertook direct automated DNA sequencing of the S4 regions of CACNA1S and SCN4A in 83 cases of hypokalemic periodic paralysis.
We identified reported CACNA1S mutations in 64 cases. In the remaining 19 cases, mutations in SCN4A or other CACNA1S S4 segments were found in 10, including three novel changes and the first mutations in channel domains I (SCN4A) and III (CACNA1S).
All mutations affected arginine residues, consistent with the gating pore cation leak hypothesis of hypokalemic periodic paralysis. Arginine mutations in S4 segments underlie 90% of hypokalemic periodic paralysis cases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To study the clinical and genetic features in a large cohort of UK patients with sodium channel paramyotonia congenita.
We conducted a UK-wide clinical and molecular genetic study of patients presenting with a phenotype suggestive of paramyotonia congenita.
We identified 42 affected individuals (28 kindreds). All cases met our core criteria for a clinical diagnosis of paramyotonia congenita. Seventy-five percent of patients (32 patients/20 kindreds) had SCN4A mutations. Twenty-nine subjects from 18 kindreds had exon 22 and 24 mutations, confirming these exons to be hot spots. Unexpectedly, 3 of these subjects harbored mutations previously described with potassium-aggravated myotonia (G1306A, G1306E). We identified two new mutations (R1448L and L1436P). Ten cases (8 kindreds) without mutations exhibited paramyotonia congenita with prominent pain and weakness.
This study identifies two new mutations, confirms SCN4A as a common cause of paramyotonia congenita in the UK, and suggests further allelic and possibly genetic heterogeneity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myotonia congenita (MC) is the commonest genetic skeletal muscle ion channelopathy. It is caused by mutations in CLCN1 on chromosome 7q35, which alter the function of the major skeletal muscle voltage-gated chloride channel. Dominant and recessive forms of the disease exist. We have undertaken a clinical, genetic and molecular expression study based upon a large cohort of over 300 UK patients. In an initial cohort of 22 families, we sequenced the DNA of the entire coding region of CLCN1 and identified 11 novel and 11 known mutations allowing us to undertake a detailed genotype-phenotype correlation study. Generalized muscle hypertrophy, transient weakness and depressed tendon reflexes occurred more frequently in recessive than dominant MC. Mild cold exacerbation and significant muscle pain were equally common features in dominant and recessive cases. Dominant MC occurred in eight families. We noted that four newly identified dominant mutations clustered in exon 8, which codes for a highly conserved region of predicted interaction between the CLC-1 monomers. Expressed in Xenopus oocytes these mutations showed clear evidence of a dominant-negative effect. Based upon the analysis of mutations in this initial cohort as well as a review of published CLCN1 mutations, we devised an exon hierarchy analysis strategy for genetic screening. We applied this strategy to a second cohort of 303 UK cases with a suspected diagnosis of MC. In 23 individuals, we found two mutations and in 86 individuals we identified a single mutation. Interestingly, 40 of the cases with a single mutation had dominant exon 8 mutations. In total 48 individuals (from 34 families) in cohort 1 and 2 were found to harbour dominant mutations (37% of mutation positive individuals, 30% of mutation positive families). In total, we have identified 23 new disease causing mutations in MC, confirming the high degree of genetic heterogeneity associated with this disease. The DNA-based strategy we have devised achieved a genetic diagnosis in 36% of individuals referred to our centre. Based on these results, we propose that exon 8 of CLCN1 is a hot-spot for dominant mutations. Our molecular expression studies of the new exon 8 mutations indicate that this region of the chloride channel has an important role in dominant negative interactions between the two chloride channel monomers. Accurate genetic counselling in MC should be based not only upon clinical features and the inheritance pattern but also on molecular genetic analysis and ideally functional expression data.