A missense mutation in the calsequestrin-1 gene (CASQ1) was found in a group of patients with a myopathy characterized by weakness, fatigue, and the presence of large vacuoles containing characteristic inclusions resulting from the aggregation of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) proteins. The mutation affects a conserved aspartic acid in position 244 (p.Asp244Gly) located in one of the high-affinity Ca(2+) -binding sites of CASQ1 and alters the kinetics of Ca(2+) release in muscle fibers. Expression of the mutated CASQ1 protein in COS-7 cells showed a markedly reduced ability in forming elongated polymers, whereas both in cultured myotubes and in in vivo mouse fibers induced the formation of electron-dense SR vacuoles containing aggregates of the mutant CASQ1 protein that resemble those observed in muscle biopsies of patients. Altogether, these results support the view that a single missense mutation in the CASQ1 gene causes the formation of abnormal SR vacuoles containing aggregates of CASQ1, and other SR proteins, results in altered Ca(2+) release in skeletal muscle fibers, and, hence, is responsible for the clinical phenotype observed in these patients.
Neuromuscular diseases (NMDs) encompass a broad spectrum of conditions. Because infections may be relevant to the final prognosis of most NMDs, vaccination appears to be the simplest and most effective solution for protecting NMD patients from vaccine-preventable infections. However, very few studies have evaluated the immunogenicity, safety, tolerability, and efficacy of different vaccines in NMD patients; therefore, detailed vaccination recommendations for NMD patients are not available. Here, we present vaccination recommendations from a group of Italian Scientific Societies for optimal disease prevention in NMD patients that maintain high safety levels. We found that NMD patients can be classified into two groups according to immune function: patients with normal immunity and patients who are immunocompromised, including those who intermittently or continuously take immunosuppressive therapy. Patients with normal immunity and do not take immunosuppressive therapy can be vaccinated as healthy subjects. In contrast, immunocompromised patients, including those who take immunosuppressive therapy, should receive all inactivated vaccines as well as influenza and pneumococcal vaccines; these patients should not be administered live attenuated vaccines. In all cases, the efficacy and long-term persistence of immunity from vaccination in NMD patients can be lower than in normal subjects. Household contacts of immunocompromised NMD patients should also be vaccinated appropriately.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) diseases include a group of clinically heterogeneous inherited neuropathies subdivided into demyelinating (CMT1), axonal (CMT2) and intermediate CMT forms. CMTs are associated with different genes, although mutations in some of these genes may cause both clinical pictures. To date, more than 50 CMT genes have been identified, but more than half of the cases are due to mutations in MFN2, MPZ, GJB1 and PMP22. The aim of this study was to estimate the frequency of disease mutations of these four genes in the axonal form of CMT in order to evaluate their effectiveness in the molecular diagnosis of CMT2 patients. A cohort of 38 CMT2 Italian subjects was screened for mutations in the MFN2, MPZ and GJB1 genes by direct sequencing and for PMP22 rearrangements using the MLPA technique. Overall, we identified 15 mutations, 8 of which were novel: 11 mutations (28.9 %) were in the MFN2 gene, 2 (5.3 %) in MPZ and 2 (5.3 %) in PMP22. No mutations were found in GJB1. Two patients showed rearrangements in the PMP22 gene, which is commonly associated with CMT1 or HNPP phenotypes thus usually not tested in CMT2 patients. By including this gene in the analysis, we reached a molecular diagnosis rate of 39.5 %, which is one of the highest reported in the literature. Our findings confirm the MFN2 gene as the most common cause of CMT2 and suggest that PMP22 rearrangements should be considered in the molecular diagnosis of CMT2 patients.
The Performance of Upper Limb was specifically designed to assess upper limb function in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The aim of this study was to assess (1) a cohort of typically developing children from the age of 3years onwards in order to identify the age when the activities assessed in the individual items are consistently achieved, and (2) a cohort of 322 Duchenne children and young adults to establish the range of findings at different ages. We collected normative data for the scale validation on 277 typically developing subjects from 3 to 25years old. A full score was consistently achieved by the age of 5years. In the Duchenne cohort there was early involvement of the proximal muscles and a proximal to distal progressive involvement. The scale was capable of measuring small distal movements, related to activities of daily living, even in the oldest and weakest patients. Our data suggest that the assessment can be reliably used in both ambulant and non ambulant Duchenne patients in a multicentric setting and could therefore be considered as an outcome measure for future trials.
Myoclonus is a possible manifestation of mitochondrial disorders, and its presence is considered, in association with epilepsy and the ragged red fibers, pivotal for the syndromic diagnosis of MERRF (myoclonic epilepsy with ragged red fibers). However, its prevalence in mitochondrial diseases is not known. The aims of this study are the evaluation of the prevalence of myoclonus in a big cohort of mitochondrial patients and the clinical characterization of these subjects. Based on the database of the "Nation-wide Italian Collaborative Network of Mitochondrial Diseases," we reviewed the clinical and molecular data of mitochondrial patients with myoclonus among their clinical features. Myoclonus is a rather uncommon clinical feature of mitochondrial diseases (3.6% of 1,086 patients registered in our database). It is not strictly linked to a specific genotype or phenotype, and only 1 of 3 patients with MERRF harbors the 8344A>G mutation (frequently labeled as "the MERRF mutation"). Finally, myoclonus is not inextricably linked to epilepsy in MERRF patients, but more to cerebellar ataxia. In a myoclonic patient, evidences of mitochondrial dysfunction must be investigated, even though myoclonus is not a common sign of mitochondriopathy. Clinical, histological, and biochemical data may predict the finding of a mitochondrial or nuclear DNA mutation. Finally, this study reinforces the notion that myoclonus is not inextricably linked to epilepsy in MERRF patients, and therefore the term "myoclonic epilepsy" seems inadequate and potentially misleading.
The 6 minute walk test has been recently chosen as the primary outcome measure in international multicenter clinical trials in Duchenne muscular dystrophy ambulant patients. The aim of the study was to assess the spectrum of changes at 3 years in the individual measures, their correlation with steroid treatment, age and 6 minute walk test values at baseline. Ninety-six patients from 11 centers were assessed at baseline and 12, 24 and 36 months after baseline using the 6 minute walk test and the North Star Ambulatory Assessment. Three boys (3%) lost the ability to perform the 6 minute walk test within 12 months, another 13 between 12 and 24 months (14%) and 11 between 24 and 36 months (12%). The 6 minute walk test showed an average overall decline of -15.8 (SD 77.3) m at 12 months, of -58.9 (SD 125.7) m at 24 months and -104.22 (SD 146.2) m at 36 months. The changes were significantly different in the two baseline age groups and according to the baseline 6 minute walk test values (below and above 350 m) (p<0.001). The changes were also significantly different according to steroid treatment (p?=?0.01). Similar findings were found for the North Star Ambulatory Assessment. These are the first 36 month longitudinal data using the 6 minute walk test and North Star Ambulatory Assessment in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Our findings will help not only to have a better idea of the progression of the disorder but also provide reference data that can be used to compare with the results of the long term extension studies that are becoming available.
To evaluate with Magnetic Resonance (MR) the degree of fatty replacement and edematous involvement in skeletal muscles in patients with Tubular Aggregate Myopathy (TAM). To asses the inter-observer agreement in evaluating muscle involvement and the symmetry index of fatty replacement.
In the last few years some of the therapeutical approaches for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) are specifically targeting distinct groups of mutations, such as deletions eligible for skipping of individual exons. The aim of this observational study was to establish whether patients with distinct groups of mutations have different profiles of changes on the 6 minute walk test (6MWT) over a 12 month period.
Identification of mutations at familial loci for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has provided novel insights into the aetiology of this rapidly progressing fatal neurodegenerative disease. However, genome wide association studies (GWAS) of the more common (?90%) sporadic form have been less successful with the exception of the replicated locus at 9p21.2. To identify new loci associated with disease susceptibility we have established the largest association study in ALS to date and undertaken a GWAS meta-analytical study combining 3,959 newly genotyped Italian individuals (1,982 cases, 1,977 controls) collected by SLAGEN (Italian Consortium for the Genetics of ALS) together with samples from Netherlands, USA, UK, Sweden, Belgium, France, Ireland and Italy collected by ALSGEN (the International Consortium on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Genetics). We analyzed a total of 13,225 individuals, 6,100 cases and 7,125 controls for almost 7 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We identified a novel locus with genome-wide significance at 17q11.2 (rs34517613 P=1.11 x 10(-8); OR 0.82) that was validated when combined with genotype data from a replication cohort (P=8.62 x 10(-9); OR 0.833) of 4,656 individuals. Furthermore, we confirmed the previously reported association at 9p21.2 (rs3849943 with P=7.69 x 10(-9); OR 1.16). Finally, we have estimated the contribution of common variation to heritability of sporadic ALS as ?12% using a linear mixed model accounting for all SNPs. Our results provide an insight into the genetic structure of sporadic ALS, confirming that common variation contributes to risk and that sufficiently powered studies can identify novel susceptibility loci.
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.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is as an adult-onset neurodegenerative disorder involving both upper and lower motor neurons. About 5% of all cases exhibit signs of frontotemporal degeneration (FTD). We established the mutation frequency of C9ORF72, SOD1, TARDBP, and FUS genes in 307 patients with sporadic ALS, 46 patients with familial ALS (FALS), and 73 patients affected with FTD, all originating from the northeastern part of Italy. C9ORF72 pathogenic expansion was found on 22% of familial ALS, 5% of sporadic ALS, and 14% of FTD patients, resulting the most frequently genetic determinant in our cohort. Sequence analysis of ALS cohort identified 2 novel variants on SOD1 (p.Glu41Gly) and FUS (p.Gly496Glyfs*31). Interestingly, the single base deletion on FUS was observed in an homozygous state, suggesting a recessive pattern of inheritance. No point mutations were identified on FTD cohort. Although useful to direct genetic testing, this study results expand the current knowledge of ALS genetics.
Brody disease is an inherited myopathy associated with a defective function of sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase 1 (SERCA1) protein. Mutations in the ATP2A1 gene have been reported only in some patients. Therefore it has been proposed to distinguish patients with ATP2A1 mutations, Brody disease (BD), from patients without mutations, Brody syndrome (BS). We performed a detailed study of SERCA1 protein expression in muscle of patients with BD and BS, and evaluated the alternative splicing of SERCA1 in primary cultures of normal human muscle and in infant muscle. SERCA1 reactivity was observed in type 2 muscle fibers of patients with and without ATP2A1 mutations and staining intensity was similar in patients and controls. Immunoblot analysis showed a significant reduction of SERCA1 band in muscle of BD patients. In addition we demonstrated that the wild type and mutated protein exhibits similar solubility properties and that RIPA buffer improves the recovery of the wild type and mutated SERCA1 protein. We found that SERCA1b, the SERCA1 neonatal form, is the main protein isoform expressed in cultured human muscle fibers and infant muscle. Finally, we identified two novel heterozygous mutations within exon 3 of the ATP2A1 gene from a previously described patient with BD.
The "hospital-at-home" model may provide adequate care without an adverse effect on clinical outcome, and is generally well received by users. Our objective was to compare hospital-at-home and in-patient hospital care for neuromuscular disease (NMD) patients with respiratory tract infections.
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.
Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is an inherited neuromuscular disease caused by expansion of a polyglutamine (polyQ) tract in the androgen receptor (AR). SBMA is triggered by the interaction between polyQ-AR and its natural ligands, testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). SBMA is characterized by the loss of lower motor neurons and skeletal muscle fasciculations, weakness, and atrophy. To test the hypothesis that the interaction between polyQ-AR and androgens exerts cell-autonomous toxicity in skeletal muscle, we characterized the process of myogenesis and polyQ-AR expression in DHT-treated satellite cells obtained from SBMA patients and age-matched healthy control subjects. Treatment with androgens increased the size and number of myonuclei in myotubes from control subjects, but not from SBMA patients. Myotubes from SBMA patients had a reduced number of nuclei, suggesting impaired myotube fusion and altered contractile structures. The lack of anabolic effects of androgens on myotubes from SBMA patients was not due to defects in myoblast proliferation, differentiation or apoptosis. DHT treatment of myotubes from SBMA patients increased nuclear accumulation of polyQ-AR and decreased the expression of interleukin-4 (IL-4) when compared to myotubes from control subjects. Following DHT treatment, exposure of myotubes from SBMA patients with IL-4 treatment rescued myonuclear number and size to control levels. This supports the hypothesis that androgens alter the fusion process in SBMA myogenesis. In conclusion, these results provide evidence of an androgen-dependent impairment of myogenesis in SBMA that could contribute to disease pathogenesis.
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy type 1 (FSHD1) is caused by contraction of the D4Z4 repeat array on chromosome 4 to a size of 1-10 units. The residual number of D4Z4 units inversely correlates with clinical severity, but significant clinical variability exists. Each unit contains a copy of the DUX4 retrogene. Repeat contractions are associated with changes in D4Z4 chromatin structure that increase the likelihood of DUX4 expression in skeletal muscle, but only when the repeat resides in a genetic background that contains a DUX4 polyadenylation signal. Mutations in the structural maintenance of chromosomes flexible hinge domain containing 1 (SMCHD1) gene, encoding a chromatin modifier of D4Z4, also result in the increased likelihood of DUX4 expression in individuals with a rare form of FSHD (FSHD2). Because SMCHD1 directly binds to D4Z4 and suppresses somatic expression of DUX4, we hypothesized that SMCHD1 may act as a genetic modifier in FSHD1. We describe three unrelated individuals with FSHD1 presenting an unusual high clinical severity based on their upper-sized FSHD1 repeat array of nine units. Each of these individuals also carries a mutation in the SMCHD1 gene. Familial carriers of the FSHD1 allele without the SMCHD1 mutation were only mildly affected, suggesting a modifier effect of the SMCHD1 mutation. Knocking down SMCHD1 in FSHD1 myotubes increased DUX4 expression, lending molecular support to a modifier role for SMCHD1 in FSHD1. We conclude that FSHD1 and FSHD2 share a common pathophysiological pathway in which the FSHD2 gene can act as modifier for disease severity in families affected by FSHD1.
Type II glycogenosis (GSDII) is a rare and often fatal neuromuscular disorder caused by acid alpha-glucosidase deficiency. Although alglucosidase alfa enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) significantly improves outcomes in subjects with the infantile form, its efficacy in patients with the late-onset one is not entirely clear. The long-term efficacy of ERT in late-onset GSGII complicated by severe pulmonary impairment causing high mechanical ventilation dependency was investigated in this study.
Mutations in dynamin 2 (DNM2) gene cause autosomal dominant centronuclear myopathy and occur in around 50% of patients with centronuclear myopathy. We report clinical, morphological, muscle imaging and genetic data of 10 unrelated Italian patients with centronuclear myopathy related to DNM2 mutations. Our results confirm the clinical heterogeneity of this disease, underlining some peculiar clinical features, such as severe pulmonary impairment and jaw contracture that should be considered in the clinical follow-up of these patients. Muscle MRI showed a distinct pattern of involvement, with predominant involvement of soleus and tibialis anterior in the lower leg muscles, followed by hamstring muscles and adductor magnus at thigh level and gluteus maximus. The detection of three novel DNM2 mutations and the first case of somatic mosaicism further expand the genetic spectrum of the disease.
The aim of the study was i) to assess the spectrum of changes over 24 months in ambulant boys affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy, ii) to establish the difference between the first and the second year results and iii) to identify possible early markers of loss of ambulation.
Owing to the frequent observation of poverty of movements, facial hypomimia and balance impairment, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) variant with predominance of upper motor neuron involvement (UMN-ALS) is prone to be diagnosed with Parkinsonism. A clinical assessment, including the velocity-dependent stretch response test to differentiate between pyramidal and extrapyramidal stiffness; the Unified Parkinsons Disease Rating Scale and the Berg Balance Scale to assess degree of bradykinesia and postural instability; and (123)I-FP-CIT scintigraphy evaluation to investigate the nigrostriatal circuit involvement, were carried out to characterize Parkinson-like features in UMN-ALS patients. Sixteen UMN-ALS patients were included in the study. The velocity-dependent stretch response indicated spasticity in all the muscles tested. The degree of stiffness was found to be related to bradykinesia and postural instability. Eleven patients (70%) showed a reduction in striatal (123)I-FP-CIT uptake found to be related to disease duration and patients ages but not to scores of the functional scales. Slowness of movements and postural instability noted in our patients could be mostly attributed to spasticity. The lack of any correlation between UPDRS or BBS scores and the degree of nigrostriatal impairment on DaTSCAN seems to disprove nigrostriatal circuit involvement in these extrapyramidal-like features.
Polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, monoclonal gammopathy, skin changes (POEMS) syndrome is a rare plasma cell disease. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) seems to play a pathogenic role. Peripheral neuropathy is the main neurological feature. Cranial pachymeningitis has occasionally been reported, but no histopathological studies have been performed. The authors extensively evaluated the central nervous system MRI in 11 patients (seven men, four women; mean age at diagnosis 54.45 years) with POEMS syndrome. In two patients, meningeal histopathology with staining for VEGF and VEGF receptor was performed, and pachymeningeal involvement characterised at histopathological, immunohistochemical and confocal microscopy levels. Nine patients presented with cranial pachymeningitis. One patient suffered from migraine, and none complained of cranial nerve palsies or visual loss. None showed any MRI signs of spinal pachymeningitis. No correlation was found with disease duration and VEGF serum level. Histopathology showed hyperplasia of meningothelial cells, neovascularisation and obstructive vessel remodelling, without inflammation. VEGF and VEGF receptor were strongly coexpressed on endothelium, smooth-muscle cells of arterioles and meningothelial cells. In conclusion, POEMS patients present a high prevalence of meningeal involvement. The histological changes, different from those present in chronic pachymeningitis of other aetiology, suggest a possible VEGF role in the pathogenesis of the meningeal remodelling.
A substantial proportion of patients with neuromuscular disease (NMD) who undergo positive pressure ventilation via endotracheal intubation for acute respiratory failure fail to pass spontaneous breathing trials and should be considered at high risk for extubation failure. In our study, we prospectively investigated the efficacy of early application of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) combined with assisted coughing as an intervention aimed at preventing extubation failure in patients with NMD.
Patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) with antibodies to muscle-specific receptor tyrosine kinase (MuSK) differ from acetylcholine receptor (AChR)-positive MG patients, as they frequently present with severe oculobulbar muscle weakness or with neck, shoulder, and respiratory muscle involvement. The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) has been confirmed to be the main target of both AChR- and MuSK-MG. However, histopathological investigation disclosed that muscle fiber atrophy was prevalent in AChR-MG, whereas mild myopathic changes and mitochondrial abnormalities were more frequently observed in MuSK-MG. As the pathogenetic mechanism in MuSK-MG remains unclear, this study investigated the submicroscopic pattern of muscle histopathology to establish a possible correlation between clinical involvement and subcellular morphological findings. Muscle biopsies from seven MuSK-MG patients and from seven patients with AChR-MG were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy. Myopathic and mitochondrial abnormalities were more prominent in MuSK-MG and show giant, swollen, and degenerated mitochondria with fragmented cristae. The most common changes in AChR-MG muscles were fiber atrophy, myofibrillar disarray, and Z-line streaming, consistent with mild neurogenic abnormalities. A different pathogenetic mechanism is emerging in MuSK-MG compared to AChR-MG. Mitochondrial abnormalities seem to be more prominent in MuSK-MG, whereas neurogenic atrophy is observed in AChR-MG.
Storage diseases (SDs) are rare metabolic disorders characterized by the intra- or extralysosomal accumulation of unmetabolized compounds. Different causes determine the buildup of undigested material, resulting in typical histochemical and ultrastructural changes. Ultrastructural examination of tissue from patients with clinically suspected SDs may disclose pathognomonic alterations or suggest a differential diagnosis even in the absence of clinically evident involvement of the biopsied tissue. Accurate diagnosis of SDs requires a continuous integration of clinical, biochemical, ultrastructural, and, when available, molecular data. It is also important for the pathologist to be familiar with the morphological variability characterizing each SD, because some morphologies are often the early stages of undeveloped forms and morphologically similar diseases are easily confused. The major advantages of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques are discussed, emphasizing the current role of TEM as a rapid, cost-effective, and efficient diagnostic tool.
Psychopathological diagnosis has become increasingly important in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), since the recent emphasis on the comprehensive management and end-of-life decisions. Rorschach test is the third most commonly used psychological instrument worldwide and can offer a different approach from self-reporting questionnaires, mainly providing information on issues of which individuals may be unaware or unwilling to admit to. Forty-two ALS patients underwent a psychopathological assessment with the Rorschach test. Psychopathological data were also correlated with skeletal muscle strength as measured by MRC scale and functional evaluation as ALSFRSr and FVC values. Psychopathological features, including suicidial ideation, were more frequent in the recently diagnosed ALS patients. These features were observed to be different according to the kind of functional impairment. Rorschach test may be an useful tool to assess psychopathological features in ALS. Results of our study highlight the need of an early psychopathological diagnosis and specific psychotherapeutic treatment in patients with ALS.
The North Star Ambulatory Assessment is a functional scale specifically designed for ambulant boys affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Recently the 6-minute walk test has also been used as an outcome measure in trials in DMD. The aim of our study was to assess a large cohort of ambulant boys affected by DMD using both North Star Assessment and 6-minute walk test. More specifically, we wished to establish the spectrum of findings for each measure and their correlation. This is a prospective multicentric study involving 10 centers. The cohort included 112 ambulant DMD boys of age ranging between 4.10 and 17 years (mean 8.18±2.3 DS). Ninety-one of the 112 were on steroids: 37/91 on intermittent and 54/91 on daily regimen. The scores on the North Star assessment ranged from 6/34 to 34/34. The distance on the 6-minute walk test ranged from 127 to 560.6 m. The time to walk 10 m was between 3 and 15 s. The time to rise from the floor ranged from 1 to 27.5 s. Some patients were unable to rise from the floor. As expected the results changed with age and were overall better in children treated with daily steroids. The North Star assessment had a moderate to good correlation with 6-minute walk test and with timed rising from floor but less with 10 m timed walk/run test. The 6-minute walk test in contrast had better correlation with 10 m timed walk/run test than with timed rising from floor. These findings suggest that a combination of these outcome measures can be effectively used in ambulant DMD boys and will provide information on different aspects of motor function, that may not be captured using a single measure.
Acute respiratory failure (ARF) is a common event in the advanced stage of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and may be rarely a presenting symptom. Frequently, such patients require intubation and mechanical ventilation (MV) and, in a large proportion, receive tracheostomy, as a consequence of weaning failure. In our study, we investigated postdischarge survival and quality of life (QoL) after tracheostomy for ARF in patients with ALS.
Glycogen storage disease type II (GSDII) is an autosomal recessive lysosomal disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding alpha-glucosidase (GAA). The disease can be clinically classified into three types: a severe infantile form, a juvenile and an adultonset form. Cases with juvenile or adult onset GSDII mimic limb-girdle muscular dystrophy or polymyositis and are often characterized by respiratory involvement. GSDII patients are diagnosed by biochemical assay and by molecular characterization of the GAA gene. Ascertaining a natural history of patients with heterogeneous late-onset GSDII is useful for evaluating their progressive functional disability. A significant decline is observed over the years in skeletal and respiratory muscle function. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) has provided encouraging results in the infantile form. It is not yet known if ERT is effective in late-onset GSDII. We examined a series of 11 patients before and after ERT evaluating muscle strength by MRC, timed and graded functional tests, 6-minute walk test (6MWT), respiratory function by spirometric parameters and quality of life. We observed a partial improvement during a prolonged follow-up from 3 to 18 months. The use of different clinical parameters in the proposed protocol seems crucial to determine the efficacy of ERT, since not all late-onset patients respond similarly to ERT.
Myofibrillar myopathies (MFMs) are morphologically distinct but genetically heterogeneous muscular dystrophies in which disintegration of Z disks and then of myofibrils is followed by ectopic accumulation of multiple proteins. Cardiomyopathy, neuropathy, and dominant inheritance are frequent associated features. Mutations in alphaB-crystallin, desmin, myotilin, Zasp, or filamin-C can cause MFMs and were detected in 32 of 85 patients of the Mayo MFM cohort. Bag3, another Z-disk-associated protein, has antiapoptotic properties, and its targeted deletion in mice causes fulminant myopathy with early lethality. We therefore searched for mutations in BAG3 in 53 unrelated MFM patients.
Collagen VI gene mutations cause Ullrich and Bethlem muscular dystrophies. Pathogenic mutations frequently have a dominant negative effect, with defects in collagen VI chain secretion and assembly. It is agreed that, conversely, collagen VI haploinsufficiency has no pathological consequences. Thus, RNA-targeting approaches aimed at preferentially inactivating the mutated COL6 messenger may represent a promising therapeutic strategy. By in vitro studies we obtained the preferential depletion of the mutated COL6A2 messenger, by targeting a common single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), cistronic with a dominant COL6A2 mutation. We used a 2-O-methyl phosphorothioate (2OMePS) antisense oligonucleotide covering the SNP within exon 3, which is out of frame. Exon 3 skipping has the effect of depleting the mutated transcript via RNA nonsense-mediated decay, recovering the correct collagen VI secretion and restoring the ability to form an interconnected microfilament network into the extracellular matrix. This novel RNA modulation approach to correcting dominant mutations may represent a therapeutic strategy potentially applicable to a great variety of mutations and diseases.
The present study investigated for the first time numerical processing in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. Twenty-four non-demented patients affected by probable or definite ALS and 27 healthy controls underwent cognitive assessment. Numerical abilities (Number Comprehension, Number Transcoding, Arithmetic Fact retrieval, Calculation Skills and Arithmetic Principles) and neuropsychological functions were evaluated in accordance with Strongs consensus criteria. Clear group differences between the patients and controls were found in Multiplication Facts (Tables), Multiplication Approximation, and Multiplication Principles. These deficits were not statistically related to impairments of more general cognitive functioning. In conclusion, specific, previously unreported arithmetical deficits have been found in ALS patients. This particular impairment pattern could be indicative of damage to the cortico-subcortical circuits involved in some specific aspects of multiplication. Our findings could contribute to further delineate the profile of cognitive impairment in ALS.
Protein-o-mannosyl transferase 1 (POMT1) is a glycosyltransferase involved in ?-dystroglycan (?-DG) glycosylation. Clinical phenotype in POMT1-mutated patients ranges from congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) with structural brain abnormalities, to limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) with microcephaly and mental retardation, to mild LGMD. No cardiac involvement has until now been reported in POMT1-mutated patients. We report three patients who harbored compound heterozygous POMT1 mutations and showed left ventricular (LV) dilation and/or decrease in myocardial contractile force: two had a LGMD phenotype with a normal or close-to-normal cognitive profile and one had CMD with mental retardation and normal brain MRI. Reduced or absent ?-DG immunolabeling in muscle biopsies were identified in all three patients. Bioinformatic tools were used to study the potential effect of POMT1-detected mutations. All the detected POMT1 mutations were predicted in silico to interfere with protein folding and/or glycosyltransferase function. The report on the patients described here has widened the clinical spectrum associated with POMT1 mutations to include cardiomyopathy. The functional impact of known and novel POMT1 mutations was predicted with a bioinformatics approach, and results were compared with previous in vitro studies of protein-o-mannosylase function.
A polymorphism (rs28357094) in the promoter region of the SPP1 gene coding for osteopontin (OPN) is a strong determinant of disease severity in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The rare G allele of rs28357094 alters gene promoter function and reduces mRNA expression in transfected HeLa cells. To dissect the molecular mechanisms of increased disease severity associated with the G allele, we characterized SPP1 mRNA and protein in DMD muscle biopsies of patients with defined rs28357094 genotype. We did not find significant differences in osteopontin mRNA or protein expression between patients carrying the T (ancestral allele) or TG/GG genotypes at rs28357094. The G allele was significantly associated with reduced CD4(+) and CD68(+) cells on patient muscle biopsy. We also quantified transforming growth factor-? (TGFB) and TGFB receptor-2 (TGFBR2) mRNA in DMD muscle biopsies, given the ability of TGFB and TGFBR2 to activate SPP1 promoter region and their role in DMD pathogenesis. The amount of TGFB and TGFBR2 mRNA did not predict the amount of SPP1 mRNA or protein, while a polymorphism in the TGFBR2 gene (rs4522809) was found to be a strong predictor of SPP1 mRNA level. Our findings suggest that OPN mediates inflammatory changes in DMD and that TGFB signalling has a role in the complex regulation of osteopontin expression.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.