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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
A mutation in the CASQ1 gene causes a vacuolar myopathy with accumulation of sarcoplasmic reticulum protein aggregates.
Hum. Mutat.
PUBLISHED: 09-10-2014
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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.
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Polymyositis in solid organ transplant recipients receiving tacrolimus.
J. Neurol. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 08-06-2014
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Tacrolimus, also known as FK506, is an immunosuppressive agent widely used for the prevention of acute allograft rejection in organ transplantation and for the treatment of immunological diseases. This study reports two male patients who underwent solid organ transplantation (liver and kidney). After transplant, the patients received continuous immunosuppressive therapy with oral tacrolimus and later presented clinical manifestations and laboratory signs of myopathy. Muscle biopsies of both patients clearly documented an inflammatory myopathy with the histological features of polymyositis including CD8+ T cells which invaded healthy muscle fibers and expressed granzyme B and perforin, many CD68+ macrophages and MHC class I antigen upregulation on the surface of most fibers. Because of the temporal association while receiving tacrolimus and since other possible causes for myopathy were excluded, the most likely cause of polymyositis in our patients was tacrolimus toxicity. We suggest that patients on tacrolimus should be carefully monitored for serum CK levels and clinical signs of muscle disease.
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Autophagy, inflammation and innate immunity in inflammatory myopathies.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Autophagy has a large range of physiological functions and its dysregulation contributes to several human disorders, including autoinflammatory/autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory myopathies (IIMs). In order to better understand the pathogenetic mechanisms of these muscular disorders, we sought to define the role of autophagic processes and their relation with the innate immune system in the three main subtypes of IIM, specifically sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM), polymyositis (PM), dermatomyositis (DM) and juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM). We found that although the mRNA transcript levels of the autophagy-related genes BECN1, ATG5 and FBXO32 were similar in IIM and controls, autophagy activation in all IIM subgroups was suggested by immunoblotting results and confirmed by immunofluorescence. TLR4 and TLR3, two potent inducers of autophagy, were highly increased in IIM, with TLR4 transcripts significantly more expressed in PM and DM than in JDM, sIBM and controls, and TLR3 transcripts highly up-regulated in all IIM subgroups compared to controls. Co-localization between autophagic marker, LC3, and TLR4 and TLR3 was observed not only in sIBM but also in PM, DM and JDM muscle tissues. Furthermore, a highly association with the autophagic processes was observed in all IIM subgroups also for some TLR4 ligands, endogenous and bacterial HSP60, other than the high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1). These findings indicate that autophagic processes are active not only in sIBM but also in PM, DM and JDM, probably in response to an exogenous or endogenous 'danger signal'. However, autophagic activation and regulation, and also interaction with the innate immune system, differ in each type of IIM. Better understanding of these differences may lead to new therapies for the different IIM types.
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Altered Tnnt3 characterizes selective weakness of fast fibers in mice overexpressing FSHD Region Gene 1 (FRG1).
Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 12-04-2013
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Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), a common hereditary myopathy, is characterized by atrophy and weakness of selective muscle groups. FSHD is considered an autosomal dominant disease with incomplete penetrance and unpredictable variability of clinical expression within families. Mice over-expressing FRG1 (FSHD region gene 1), a candidate gene for this disease, develop a progressive myopathy with features of the human disorder. Here we show that in FRG1 over-expressing mice, fast muscles, which are the most affected by the dystrophic process, display anomalous fast skeletal troponin T (fTnT) isoform resulting from the aberrant splicing of the Tnnt3 mRNA that precedes the appearance of dystrophic signs. We determine that muscles of FRG1 mice develop less strength due to impaired contractile properties of fast-twitch fibers associated with an anomalous MyHC/actin ratio and a reduced sensitivity to Ca2+. We demonstrate that the decrease of Ca2+ sensitivity of fast-twitch fibers depends on the anomalous troponin complex and can be rescued by the substitution with the wild-type proteins. Finally, we find that the presence of aberrant splicing isoforms of TNNT3 characterizes dystrophic muscles in FSHD patients. Collectively, our results suggest that anomalous TNNT3 profile correlates with the muscle impairment in both humans and mice. On the basis of these results, we propose that aberrant fTnT represents a biological marker of muscle phenotype severity and disease progression.
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Large scale genotype-phenotype analyses indicate that novel prognostic tools are required for families with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy.
Brain
PUBLISHED: 09-11-2013
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Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy has been genetically linked to reduced numbers (? 8) of D4Z4 repeats at 4q35 combined with 4A(159/161/168) DUX4 polyadenylation signal haplotype. However, we have recently reported that 1.3% of healthy individuals carry this molecular signature and 19% of subjects affected by facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy do not carry alleles with eight or fewer D4Z4 repeats. Therefore, prognosis for subjects carrying or at risk of carrying D4Z4 reduced alleles has become more complicated. To test for additional prognostic factors, we measured the degree of motor impairment in a large group of patients affected by facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy and their relatives who are carrying D4Z4 reduced alleles. The clinical expression of motor impairment was assessed in 530 subjects, 163 probands and 367 relatives, from 176 unrelated families according to a standardized clinical score. The associations between clinical severity and size of D4Z4 allele, degree of kinship, gender, age and 4q haplotype were evaluated. Overall, 32.2% of relatives did not display any muscle functional impairment. This phenotype was influenced by the degree of relation with proband, because 47.1% of second- through fifth-degree relatives were unaffected, whereas only 27.5% of first-degree family members did not show motor impairment. The estimated risk of developing motor impairment by age 50 for relatives carrying a D4Z4 reduced allele with 1-3 repeats or 4-8 repeats was 88.7% and 55%, respectively. Male relatives had a mean score significantly higher than females (5.4 versus 4.0, P = 0.003). No 4q haplotype was exclusively associated with the presence of disease. In 13% of families in which D4Z4 alleles with 4-8 repeats segregate, the diagnosis of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy was reported only in one generation. In conclusion, this large-scale analysis provides further information that should be taken into account when counselling families in which a reduced allele with 4-8 D4Z4 repeats segregates. In addition, the reduced expression of disease observed in distant relatives suggests that a familys genetic background plays a role in the occurrence of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. These results indicate that the identification of new susceptibility factors for this disease will require an accurate classification of families.
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The role of brain MRI in mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy.
Neuroradiol J
PUBLISHED: 08-22-2013
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Leukoencephalopathy is a hallmark of mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) a devastating disorder characterized by ptosis, ophthalmoparesis, gastrointestinal dysfunction and polyneuropathy. To characterize MNGIE-associated leukoencephalopathy and to correlate it with clinical, biochemical and molecular data, four MNGIE patients with heterogeneous clinical phenotypes (enteropathic arthritis, exercise intolerance, CIDP-like phenotype and typical presentation) were studied by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) with apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps were also obtained. In two patients we also investigated the role of brain MRI in monitoring the evolution of leukoencephalopathy by performing follow-up imaging studies at an interval of one and two years. The extension and distribution of leukoencephalopathy were not clearly linked with age, phenotype or disease severity, and did not seem to be related to TYMP mutations, enzyme activity or pyrimidine levels. In the studied patients MRS revealed reduced N-acetyl-aspartate and increased choline signals. Although DWI appeared normal in all patients but one, ADC maps always showed moderate increased diffusivity. Leukoencephalopathy worsened over a two-year period in two patients, regardless of the clinical course, indicating a lack of correlation between clinical phenotype, size and progression of white matter abnormalities during this period. Brain MRI should be considered a very useful tool to diagnose both classical and atypical MNGIE. Serial MRIs in untreated and treated MNGIE patients will help to establish whether the leukoencephalopathy is a reversible condition or not.
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SERCA1 protein expression in muscle of patients with Brody disease and Brody syndrome and in cultured human muscle fibers.
Mol. Genet. Metab.
PUBLISHED: 06-10-2013
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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.
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Overexpression of TNF-? in mitochondrial diseases caused by mutations in mtDNA: evidence for signaling through its receptors on mitochondria.
Free Radic. Biol. Med.
PUBLISHED: 01-02-2013
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Mitochondrial diseases (MDs) are heterogeneous disorders due to impaired respiratory chain function causing defective ATP production. Although the disruption of oxidative phosphorylation is central to the MD pathophysiology, other factors may contribute to these disorders. We investigated the expression and the cellular localization of TNF-? and its receptors, TNFR1 and TNFR2, in muscle biopsies from 15 patients with mitochondrial respiratory chain dysfunction. Our data unambiguously demonstrate that TNF-? is expressed in muscle fibers with abnormal focal accumulations of mitochondria, so-called ragged red fibers, and is delivered to mitochondria where both receptors are localized. Moreover TNF receptors are differentially regulated in patients muscle in which the expression levels of TNFR1 mRNA are decreased and those of TNFR2 mRNA are increased compared with controls. These findings suggest for the first time that TNF-? could exert a direct effect on mitochondria via its receptors.
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The role of mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases.
J. Neurol.
PUBLISHED: 04-19-2011
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Mitochondria are implicated in several metabolic pathways including cell respiratory processes, apoptosis, and free radical production. Mitochondrial abnormalities have been documented in neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and Huntingtons diseases, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Several studies have demonstrated that mitochondrial impairment plays an important role in the pathogenesis of this group of disorders. In this review, we discuss the role of mitochondria in the main neurodegenerative diseases and review the updated knowledge in this field.
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Pitfalls in diagnosing mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy.
J. Inherit. Metab. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 01-08-2011
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Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding thymidine phosphorylase and is characterized by external ophthalmoparesis, gastrointestinal dysmotility, leukoencephalopathy, and neuropathy. The availability of new therapeutic options (peritoneal dialysis, allogeneic stem cell transplantation, enzyme replacement) makes it necessary to diagnose the disease early, which is not always achieved due to the difficulty in recognizing this disorder, especially in case of atypical presentation. We describe three MNGIE patients with atypical onset of the disease. In the first patient the main symptoms were long-standing chronic fever, recurrent acute migrant arthritis, and gastrointestinal disorders mimicking autoimmune or inflammatory intestinal diseases; the second patient complained only of exercise intolerance and muscle cramps, and the third patient had a CIDP-like polyneuropathy. This study stresses the insidious heterogeneous clinical onset of some cases of MNGIE, expands the spectrum of the phenotype, and suggests considering MNGIE in the differential diagnosis of enteropathic arthritis, isolated exercise intolerance, and inflammatory polyneuropathies not responsive to the usual treatment. A better understanding of the clinical heterogeneity of MNGIE is necessary in order to diagnose atypical cases and promote early diagnosis, which is now absolutely necessary in view of the new available therapies.
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Increased protein nitration in mitochondrial diseases: evidence for vessel wall involvement.
Mol. Cell Proteomics
PUBLISHED: 12-14-2010
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Mitochondrial diseases (MD) are heterogeneous disorders because of impairment of respiratory chain function leading to oxidative stress. We hypothesized that in MD the vascular endothelium may be affected by increased oxidative/nitrative stress causing a reduction of nitric oxide availability. We therefore, investigated the pathobiology of vasculature in MD patients by assaying the presence of 3-nitrotyrosine in muscle biopsies followed by the proteomic identification of proteins which undergo tyrosine nitration. We then measured the flow-mediated vasodilatation as a proof of altered nitric oxide generation/bioactivity. Here, we show that 3-nitrotyrosine staining is specifically located in the small vessels of muscle tissue and that the reaction is stronger and more evident in a significant percentage of vessels from MD patients as compared with controls. Eleven specific proteins which are nitrated under pathological conditions were identified; most of them are involved in energy metabolism and are located mainly in mitochondria. In MD patients the flow-mediated vasodilatation was reduced whereas baseline arterial diameters, blood flow velocity and endothelium-independent vasodilatation were similar to controls. The present results provide evidence that in MD the vessel wall is a target of increased oxidative/nitrative stress.
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A standardized clinical evaluation of patients affected by facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy: The FSHD clinical score.
Muscle Nerve
PUBLISHED: 06-15-2010
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To define numerically the clinical severity of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), we developed a protocol that quantifies muscle weakness by combining the functional evaluation of six muscle groups affected in this disease. To validate reproducibility of the protocol, 69 patients were recruited. Each patient was evaluated by at least five neurologists, and an FSHD severity score was given by each examiner. The degree of agreement among clinicians evaluations was measured by kappa-statistics. Nineteen subjects received a score between 0 and 1, 9 had a score between 2 and 4, 20 received a score between 5 and 10, and 8 had a score between 11 and 15. Of the 13 subjects with D4Z4 alleles within the normal range (ranging from 10 to 150 repeats), 12 obtained a score of 0 and only 1 had a score of 1. Kappa-statistics showed a very high concordance for all muscle groups. We developed a simple, reliable, easily used tool to define the clinical expression of FSHD. Longitudinal studies will assess its sensitivity and utility in measuring changes for widespread use.
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Current options in the treatment of mitochondrial diseases.
Recent Pat CNS Drug Discov
PUBLISHED: 03-03-2010
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Mitochondrial diseases (MD) are disorders caused by an impairment of the mitochondrial respiratory chain function. They are usually progressive, isolated or multi-system diseases and have variable times of onset. Because mitochondria have their own DNA (mtDNA), MD can be caused by mutations in both mtDNA and nuclear DNA (nDNA). The complexity of genetic control of mitochondrial function is in part responsible for the intra- and inter-familiar clinical heterogeneity of this class of diseases. Despite the remarkable progress in understanding of the molecular bases of these disorders, therapy of MD is quite inadequate. Present options of treatment mainly include physical, pharmacological and gene therapy approaches. Aerobic exercise and physical therapy is useful to prevent or correct deconditioning and may improve exercise tolerance. Pharmacological approach is based on removing noxious metabolites, using reactive oxygen species scavengers and administrating vitamins and cofactors which is especially important in case of primary deficiencies of specific compounds such as Coenzyme Q10. Gene therapy is fascinating but it is difficult to apply because of polyplasmy and heteroplasmy. Experimental methods include gene shifting, allotopic expression, mitochondrial transfection or correcting mtDNA mutations with specific restriction endonucleases. Here, we discussed some recent patents. Progresses in each of these fields may open interesting perspectives for the future.
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Brody disease: insights into biochemical features of SERCA1 and identification of a novel mutation.
J. Neuropathol. Exp. Neurol.
PUBLISHED: 02-10-2010
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Brody disease is an inherited disorder of skeletal muscle function characterized by increasing impairment of relaxation during exercise. The autosomal recessive form can be caused by mutations in the ATP2A1 gene, which encodes for the sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca-ATPase 1 (SERCA1) protein. We studied 2 siblings affected by Brody disease. The patients complained of exercise-induced delay of muscle relaxation and stiffness since childhood and had gene analysis of ATP2A1. Morphologic and biochemical studies were performed on a muscle biopsy from 1 patient. The biopsy showed fiber size variation and increased numbers of fibers with internal nuclei. Ultrastructural examination revealed dilatation of lateral cisternae and proliferation of tubular elements of the sarcoplasmic reticulum. By immunohistochemistry, SERCA1 was expressed in a normal pattern, but sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca-ATPase activity was significantly reduced. Immunoblotting after high-resolution 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis showed a significant difference in the amount of SERCA1 protein between the patient and controls. Both patients were found to have 2 previously unreported in-frame deletions in ATP2A1. Because SERCA1 protein has specific biochemical characteristics in our patient, these results underline the importance of a pathologic and biochemical analyses for the diagnosis. In addition, we describe 2 novel mutations in the ATP2A1 gene.
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Unusual presentation of phosphoglycerate mutase deficiency due to two different mutations in PGAM-M gene.
Neuromuscul. Disord.
PUBLISHED: 04-09-2009
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Phosphoglycerate mutase (PGAM) deficiency causes a rare metabolic myopathy characterized by exercise-related myalgia and myoglobinuria. This disorder was described in 13 patients and five different mutations in the PGAM-M gene were identified. We report on a new patient with an unusual clinical presentation. As a youth, he participated in different sports without complaining of muscular symptoms, but at 44 years of age, after a brief, intense effort, he experienced lightheadedness without fainting. Serum CK was elevated and the ischemic exercise test showed a pathological lactate response. Muscle biopsy showed only mild abnormalities, but biochemical study revealed a defect of PGAM and genetic analysis showed two different mutations in the PGAM-M gene. Our case expands the clinical spectrum of PGAM deficiency and suggests that the frequency of this metabolic myopathy may be underestimated.
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Cationic PMMA nanoparticles bind and deliver antisense oligoribonucleotides allowing restoration of dystrophin expression in the mdx mouse.
Mol. Ther.
PUBLISHED: 02-24-2009
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For subsets of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) mutations, antisense oligoribonucleotide (AON)-mediated exon skipping has proven to be efficacious in restoring the expression of dystrophin protein. In the mdx murine model systemic delivery of AON, recognizing the splice donor of dystrophin exon 23, has shown proof of concept. Here, we show that using cationic polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) (marked as T1) nanoparticles loaded with a low dose of 2-O-methyl-phosphorothioate (2OMePS) AON delivered by weekly intraperitoneal (IP) injection (0.9 mg/kg/week), could restore dystrophin expression in body-wide striated muscles. Delivery of an identical dose of naked AON did not result in detectable dystrophin expression. Transcription, western, and immunohistochemical analysis showed increased levels of dystrophin transcript and protein, and correct localization at the sarcolemma. This study shows that T1 nanoparticles have the capacity to bind and convoy AONs in body-wide muscle tissues and to reduce the dose required for dystrophin rescue. By immunofluorescence and electron microscopy studies, we highlighted the diffusion pathways of this compound. This nonviral approach may valuably improve the therapeutic usage of AONs in DMD as well as the delivery of RNA molecules with many implications in both basic research and medicine.
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Selective pseudohypertrophy of vastus medialis muscles associated with calpain 3 deficiency.
Neurologist
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Calpain 3 deficiency causes limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A, which is one of the most common forms of limb girdle muscular dystrophy. Nevertheless, calpainopathy is not always associated with mutations in the specific gene and secondary reduction in protein expression has been described.
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Critical illness myopathy.
Curr Opin Rheumatol
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To describe the incidence, major risk factors, and the clinical, electrophysiological, and histological features of critical illness myopathy (CIM). Major pathogenetic mechanisms and long-term consequences of CIM are also reviewed.
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Course and management of allogeneic stem cell transplantation in patients with mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy.
J. Neurol.
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Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding thymidine phosphorylase (TP). Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been proposed as a treatment for patients with MNGIE and a standardized approach to HSCT in this condition has recently been developed. We report on the transplant course, management and short-term follow-up in two MNGIE patients who underwent HSCT. The source of stem cells was bone marrow taken from an HLA 9/10 allele-matched unrelated donor in the first patient and from an HLA 10/10 allele-matched sibling donor in the second. Both patients achieved full donor chimerism, and we observed restoration of buffy coat TP activity and lowered urine nucleoside concentrations in both of them. The post-transplant clinical follow-up showed improvement in gastrointestinal dysmotility, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Neurological assessment remained unchanged. However, the first patient died 15 months after HSCT due to gastrointestinal obstruction and shock; the second patient died 8 months after the procedure due to respiratory distress following septic shock. Although HSCT corrects biochemical abnormalities and improves gastrointestinal symptoms, the procedure can be risky in subjects already in poor medical condition as are many MNGIE patients. Since transplant-related morbidity and mortality increases with progression of the disease and number of comorbidities, MNGIE patients should be submitted to HSCT when they are still relatively healthy, in order to minimize the complications of the procedure. Anyway, there is still incomplete knowledge on the natural history of the disease in many affected patients and it is not yet clear when the best time to do a transplant is. Further clues to the therapeutic potential of HSCT could result from a prolonged observation in a greater number of non-transplanted and transplanted patients, which would allow us to answer the questions of if, how and when MNGIE patients require HSCT treatment.
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Mitochondrial Sensorineural Hearing Loss: A Retrospective Study and a Description of Cochlear Implantation in a MELAS Patient.
Genet Res Int
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Hearing impairment is common in patients with mitochondrial disorders, affecting over half of all cases at some time in the course of the disease. In some patients, deafness is only part of a multisystem disorder. By contrast, there are also a number of "pure" mitochondrial deafness disorders, the most common probably being maternally inherited. We retrospectively analyzed the last 60 genetically confirmed mitochondrial disorders diagnosed in our Department: 28 had bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, whereas 32 didnt present ears abnormalities, without difference about sex and age of onset between each single group of diseases. We reported also a case of MELAS patient with sensorineural hearing loss, in which cochlear implantation greatly contributed to the patients quality of life. Our study suggests that sensorineural hearing loss is an important feature in mitochondrial disorders and indicated that cochlear implantation can be recommended for patients with MELAS syndrome and others mitochondrial disorders.
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Large-scale population analysis challenges the current criteria for the molecular diagnosis of fascioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy.
Am. J. Hum. Genet.
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Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is a common hereditary myopathy causally linked to reduced numbers (?8) of 3.3 kilobase D4Z4 tandem repeats at 4q35. However, because individuals carrying D4Z4-reduced alleles and no FSHD and patients with FSHD and no short allele have been observed, additional markers have been proposed to support an FSHD molecular diagnosis. In particular a reduction in the number of D4Z4 elements combined with the 4A(159/161/168)PAS haplotype (which provides the possibility of expressing DUX4) is currently used as the genetic signature uniquely associated with FSHD. Here, we analyzed these DNA elements in more than 800 Italian and Brazilian samples of normal individuals unrelated to any FSHD patients. We find that 3% of healthy subjects carry alleles with a reduced number (4-8) of D4Z4 repeats on chromosome 4q and that one-third of these alleles, 1.3%, occur in combination with the 4A161PAS haplotype. We also systematically characterized the 4q35 haplotype in 253 unrelated FSHD patients. We find that only 127 of them (50.1%) carry alleles with 1-8 D4Z4 repeats associated with 4A161PAS, whereas the remaining FSHD probands carry different haplotypes or alleles with a greater number of D4Z4 repeats. The present study shows that the current genetic signature of FSHD is a common polymorphism and that only half of FSHD probands carry this molecular signature. Our results suggest that the genetic basis of FSHD, which is remarkably heterogeneous, should be revisited, because this has important implications for genetic counseling and prenatal diagnosis of at-risk families.
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Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy: new insights from compound heterozygotes and implication for prenatal genetic counselling.
J. Med. Genet.
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Background Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is considered an autosomal dominant disease with a prevalence of 1 in 20?000. Almost all patients with FSHD carry deletions of integral copies of tandem 3.3 kb repeats (D4Z4) located on chromosome 4q35. However, FSHD families have been reported in which individuals carrying a D4Z4-reduced allele remain asymptomatic. Recently, it has been proposed that the D4Z4-reduced allele is pathogenic only in association with the permissive haplotype, 4APAS. Methods and results Through the Italian National Registry for FSHD (INRF), genotype-phenotype correlations were extensively studied in 11 non-consanguineous families in which two D4Z4-reduced alleles segregate. Overall, 68 subjects carrying D4Z4-reduced alleles were examined, including 15 compound heterozygotes. It was found that in four families the only FSHD-affected subject was the compound heterozygote for the D4Z4-reduced allele, and 52.6% of subjects carrying a single D4Z4-reduced 4A161PAS haplotype were non-penetrant carriers; moreover, the population frequency of the 4A161PAS haplotype associated with a D4Z4-reduced allele was found to be as high as 1.2%. Conclusions This study reveals a high frequency of compound heterozygotes in the Italian population and the presence of D4Z4-reduced alleles with the 4A161PAS pathogenic haplotype in the majority of non-penetrant subjects in FSHD families with compound heterozygosity. These data suggest that carriers of FSHD-sized alleles with 4A161PAS haplotype are more common in the general population than expected on the basis of FSHD prevalence. These findings challenge the notion that FSHD is a fully penetrant autosomal dominant disorder uniquely associated with the 4A161PAS haplotype, with relevant repercussions for genetic counselling and prenatal diagnosis.
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