James J. Dowling's research while affiliated with SickKids and other places

Publications (272)

Article
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Exertional heat illness (EHI) and malignant hyperthermia (MH) are life threatening conditions associated with muscle breakdown in the setting of triggering factors including volatile anesthetics, exercise, and high environmental temperature. To identify new genetic variants that predispose to EHI and/or MH, we performed genomic sequencing on a coho...
Article
X-linked myotubular myopathy (XLMTM) is a severe monogenetic disorder of the skeletal muscle. It is caused by loss of expression/function mutations in the myotubularin (MTM1) gene. Much of what is known about the disease, as well as the treatment strategies, has been uncovered through experimentation in pre-clinical models, particularly the Mtm1 ge...
Article
BackgroundX-linked myotubular myopathy (XLMTM) is a life-threatening congenital myopathy that, in most cases, is characterized by profound muscle weakness, respiratory failure, need for mechanical ventilation and gastrostomy feeding, and early death.Objective We aimed to characterize the neuromuscular, respiratory, and extramuscular burden of XLMTM...
Article
Centronuclear myopathy (CNM) is a congenital neuromuscular disorder caused by pathogenic variation in genes associated with membrane trafficking and excitation-contraction coupling (ECC). Bi-allelic autosomal recessive mutations in striated muscle enriched protein kinase (SPEG) account for a subset of CNM patients. Previous research has been limite...
Preprint
Parasitic nematodes are a major threat to global food security, particularly as the world amasses 10 billion people amidst limited arable land. Most traditional nematicides have been banned due to poor nematode-selectivity, leaving farmers with inadequate controls. Here, we use the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to identify a family of selec...
Preprint
Nematode parasites of humans, livestock and crops pose a significant burden on human health and welfare. Alarmingly, parasitic nematodes of animals have rapidly evolved resistance to anthelmintic drugs, and traditional nematicides that protect crops are facing increasing restrictions because of poor phylogenetic selectivity. Here, we present a pipe...
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Importance: Infants with hypotonia can present with a variety of potentially severe clinical signs and symptoms and often require invasive testing and multiple procedures. The wide range of clinical presentations and potential etiologies leaves diagnosis and prognosis uncertain, underscoring the need for rapid elucidation of the underlying genetic...
Preprint
Centronuclear myopathy (CNM) is a congenital neuromuscular disorder caused by pathogenic variation in genes associated with membrane trafficking and excitation-contraction coupling (ECC). Bi-allelic autosomal recessive mutations in striated muscle enriched protein kinase ( SPEG ) account for a subset of CNM patients. Previous research has been limi...
Article
Transition in paediatric health care refers to the planned process of shifting to an adult model of care and is highly individualised, patient focussed and requires a coordinated effort from different health care professionals. Through this retrospective study, we describe the spectrum of neuromuscular diseases evaluated through a paediatric to adu...
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The small sample sizes inherent in rare and pediatric disease settings offer significant challenges for clinical trial design. In such settings, Bayesian adaptive trial methods can often pay dividends, allowing the sensible incorporation of auxiliary data and other relevant information to bolster that collected by the trial itself. Previous work ha...
Preprint
X-linked myotubular myopathy is a severe monogenetic disorder of the skeletal muscle caused by loss of expression/function mutations in the MTM1 (myotubularin) gene. There is a growing understanding of the pathologic and molecular abnormalities associated with loss of MTM1, and emerging therapeutic strategies that are in the process of translation...
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X-linked myotubular myopathy (XLMTM) is a severe congenital muscle disease caused by mutation in the MTM1 gene. MTM1 encodes myotubularin (MTM1), an endosomal phosphatase that acts to dephosphorylate key second messenger lipids PI3P and PI3,5P2. XLMTM is clinically characterized by profound muscle weakness and associated with multiple disabilities...
Article
Congenital muscular dystrophy type 1A (MDC1A), the most common congenital muscular dystrophy in Western countries, is caused by recessive mutations in LAMA2, the gene encoding laminin alpha 2. Currently, no cure or disease modifying therapy has been successfully developed for MDC1A. Examination of patient muscle biopsies revealed altered distributi...
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Leiomyosarcomas (LMS) are genetically heterogeneous tumors differentiating along smooth muscle lines. Currently, LMS treatment is not informed by molecular subtyping and is associated with highly variable survival. While disease site continues to dictate clinical management, the contribution of genetic factors to LMS subtype, origins, and timing ar...
Article
Neuromuscular disorders comprise a diverse group of human inborn diseases that arise from defects in the structure and/or function of the muscle tissue — encompassing the muscle cells (myofibres) themselves and their extracellular matrix — or muscle fibre innervation. Since the identification in 1987 of the first genetic lesion associated with a ne...
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Purpose of review: There has been an explosion of advancement in the field of genetic therapies. The first gene-based treatments are now in clinical practice, with several additional therapeutic programs in various stages of development. Novel technologies are being developed that will further advance the breadth and success of genetic medicine.Co...
Article
Objectives Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) is required for 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5MTHF) synthesis, and common variants reduces its efficiency and associate with metabolic disorders. High folic acid (FA) intakes, commonly consumed by pregnant women in North America, may further inhibit MTHFR enzyme; programming long-term metabolic dy...
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Objectives Neuronal development and function is dependent on the interaction between the central nervous system and immune system. Microglia are resident macrophages of the brain critical for regulating neuronal activity during embryonic development. 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5MTHF), the bioactive folate form, is essential for fetal brain developme...
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Objective Nemaline myopathy (NM) is a rare neuromuscular condition with clinical and genetic heterogeneity. To establish disease natural history, we performed a cross-sectional study of NM, complemented by longitudinal assessment and exploration of pilot outcome measures. Methods Fifty-seven individuals with NM were recruited at two family worksho...
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The RYR1 gene, which encodes the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium release channel or type 1 ryanodine receptor (RyR1) of skeletal muscle, was sequenced in 1988 and RYR1 variations that impair calcium homeostasis and increase susceptibility to malignant hyperthermia were first identified in 1991. Since then, RYR1-related myopathies (RYR1-RM) have been...
Article
Background Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons causing muscle atrophy and weakness. Nusinersen, the first effective SMA therapy was approved by Health Canada in June 2017 and has been added to the provincial formulary of all but one Canadian province. Access to this effective therapy has triggered...
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We report the recruitment activities and outcomes of a multi-disease neuromuscular patient registry in Canada. The Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) registers individuals across Canada with a confirmed diagnosis of a neuromuscular disease. Diagnosis and contact information are collected across all diseases and detailed prospective data...
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Phosphoinositides (PIPs) and their regulatory enzymes are key players in many cellular processes and are required for aspects of vertebrate development. Dysregulated PIP metabolism has been implicated in several human diseases, including a subset of skeletal myopathies that feature structural defects in the triad. The role of PIPs in skeletal muscl...
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Full-text available
LAMA2-related congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD; LAMA2-MD), also referred to as merosin deficient CMD (MDC1A), is a severe neonatal onset muscle disease caused by recessive mutations in the LAMA2 gene. LAMA2 encodes laminin α2, a subunit of the extracellular matrix (ECM) oligomer laminin 211. There are currently no treatments for MDC1A, and there...
Article
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Background: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a devastating rare disease that affects individuals regardless of ethnicity, gender, and age. The first-approved disease-modifying therapy for SMA, nusinursen, was approved by Health Canada, as well as by American and European regulatory agencies following positive clinical trial outcomes. The trials we...
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Background The first‐line use of specialized metabolic screening laboratories in the investigation of hypotonia and/or developmental delay remains a standard practice despite lack of supporting evidence. Our study aimed to address the utility of such testing by determining the proportion of patients whose diagnosis was directly supported by metabol...
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Background: Pathogenic variations in the gene encoding the skeletal muscle ryanodine receptor (RyR1) are associated with malignant hyperthermia (MH) susceptibility, a life-threatening hypermetabolic condition and RYR1-related myopathies (RYR1-RM), a spectrum of rare neuromuscular disorders. In RYR1-RM, intracellular calcium dysregulation, post-tra...
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Wilson disease is a recessive genetic disorder caused by pathogenic loss-of-function variants in the ATP7B gene. It is characterized by disrupted copper homeostasis resulting in liver disease and/or neurological abnormalities. The variant NM_000053.3:c.1934T > G (Met645Arg) has been reported as compound heterozygous, and is highly prevalent among W...
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Ryanodine receptor type I-related myopathies (RYR1-RMs) are a common group of childhood muscle diseases associated with severe disabilities and early mortality for which there are no available treatments. The goal of this study is to identify new therapeutic targets for RYR1-RMs. To accomplish this, we developed a discovery pipeline using nematode,...
Article
Full-text available
Ryanodine receptor type I-related myopathies (RYR1-RMs) are a common group of childhood muscle diseases associated with severe disabilities and early mortality for which there are no available treatments. The goal of this study is to identify new therapeutic targets for RYR1-RMs. To accomplish this, we developed a discovery pipeline using nematode,...
Article
Full-text available
Ryanodine receptor type I-related myopathies (RYR1-RMs) are a common group of childhood muscle diseases associated with severe disabilities and early mortality for which there are no available treatments. The goal of this study is to identify new therapeutic targets for RYR1-RMs. To accomplish this, we developed a discovery pipeline using nematode,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Phosphoinositides (PIPs) and their regulatory enzymes are key players in many cellular processes and are required for aspects of vertebrate development. Dysregulated PIP metabolism has been implicated in several human diseases, including a subset of skeletal myopathies that feature structural defects in the triad. The role of PIPs in skeletal muscl...
Article
Full-text available
Neuromuscular disorders (NMDs) encompass a diverse group of genetic diseases characterized by loss of muscle functionality. Despite extensive efforts to develop therapies, no curative treatment exists for any of the NMDs. For multiple disorders, however, therapeutic strategies are currently being tested in clinical settings, and the first successfu...
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Determination of genotypic/phenotypic features of GATAD2B-associated neurodevelopmental disorder (GAND). Fifty GAND subjects were evaluated to determine consistent genotypic/phenotypic features. Immunoprecipitation assays utilizing in vitro transcription–translation products were used to evaluate GATAD2B missense variants’ ability to interact with...
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Objective To investigate the efficacy of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for decreasing elevated oxidative stress and increasing physical endurance in individuals with ryanodine receptor 1-related myopathies (RYR1-RM). Methods In this 6-month natural history assessment (n = 37) followed by a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial, 33 eligible...
Article
Dynamin 2 (DNM2) encodes a ubiquitously expressed large GTPase with membrane fission capabilities that participates in the endocytosis of clathrin-coated vesicles. Heterozygous mutations in DNM2 are associated with two distinct neuromuscular disorders, Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT) and autosomal dominant centronuclear myopathy (CNM). Despite ex...
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Background & aims: Mutations in the tetratricopeptide repeat domain 7A gene (TTC7A) cause intestinal epithelial and immune defects. Patients can become immune deficient and develop apoptotic enterocolitis, multiple intestinal atresia, and recurrent intestinal stenosis. The intestinal disease in patients with TTC7A deficiency is severe, untreatable...
Preprint
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Ryanodine receptor type I-related myopathies (RYR1-RMs) represent the largest group of non-dystrophic myopathies. RYR1-RMs are associated with severe disabilities and early mortality; despite these facts, there are currently no available treatments. The goal of this study was to identify new therapeutic targets for RYR1-RMs. To accomplish this, we...
Article
Full-text available
Nemaline myopathy is a rare neuromuscular disorder that affects 1 in 50,000 live births, with prevalence as high as 1 in 20,000 in certain populations. 13 genes have been linked to nemaline myopathy, all of which are associated with the thin filament of the muscle sarcomere. Of the 13 associated genes, mutations in NEBULIN accounts for up to 50% of...
Article
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Phosphoinositides (PIPs) are a ubiquitous group of seven low-abundance phospholipids that play a crucial role in defining localized membrane properties and that regulate myriad cellular processes, including cytoskeletal remodeling, cell signaling cascades, ion channel activity and membrane traffic. PIP homeostasis is tightly regulated by numerous i...
Preprint
Full-text available
Wilson Disease is a recessive disorder caused by pathogenic loss-of-function variants in the ATP7B gene. It is characterized by disrupted copper homeostasis resulting in liver disease and/or neurological abnormalities. Variant NM_000053.3:c.1934T>G (Met645Arg) has been reported in compound heterozygosity in several Wilson Disease patients and is hi...