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De Vries L.,Jesse Z and Sara Lea Shafer Institute for Endocrinology and Diabetes | De Vries L.,Tel Aviv University | Gat-Yablonski G.,Jesse Z and Sara Lea Shafer Institute for Endocrinology and Diabetes | Gat-Yablonski G.,Tel Aviv University | And 6 more authors.
Human Reproduction | Year: 2014

Central precocious puberty may be familial in about a quarter of the idiopathic cases. However, little is known about the genetic causes responsible for the disorder. In this report we describe a family with central precocious puberty associated with a mutation in the makorin RING-finger protein 3 (MKRN3) gene. A novel missense mutation (p.H420Q) in the imprinted MKRN3 gene was identified in the four affected siblings, in their unaffected father and in his affected mother. An in silico mutant MKRN3 model predicts that the mutation p.H420Q leads to reduced zinc binding and, subsequently, impaired RNA binding. These findings support the fundamental role of the MKRN3 protein in determining pubertal timing. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.


Cattaneo A.,University of Brescia | Gennarelli M.,University of Brescia | Gennarelli M.,Genetic Unit | Uher R.,King's College London | And 9 more authors.
Neuropsychopharmacology | Year: 2013

To improve the 'personalized-medicine' approach to the treatment of depression, we need to identify biomarkers that, assessed before starting treatment, predict future response to antidepressants ('predictors'), as well as biomarkers that are targeted by antidepressants and change longitudinally during the treatment ('targets'). In this study, we tested the leukocyte mRNA expression levels of genes belonging to glucocorticoid receptor (GR) function (FKBP-4, FKBP-5, and GR), inflammation (interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-10, macrophage inhibiting factor (MIF), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α), and neuroplasticity (brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), p11 and VGF), in healthy controls (n=34) and depressed patients (n=74), before and after 8 weeks of treatment with escitalopram or nortriptyline, as part of the Genome-based Therapeutic Drugs for Depression study. Non-responders had higher baseline mRNA levels of IL-1β (+33%), MIF (+48%), and TNF-α (+39%). Antidepressants reduced the levels of IL-1β (-6%) and MIF (-24%), and increased the levels of GR (+5%) and p11 (+8%), but these changes were not associated with treatment response. In contrast, successful antidepressant response was associated with a reduction in the levels of IL-6 (-9%) and of FKBP5 (-11%), and with an increase in the levels of BDNF (+48%) and VGF (+20%) - that is, response was associated with changes in genes that did not predict, at the baseline, the response. Our findings indicate a dissociation between 'predictors' and 'targets' of antidepressant responders. Indeed, while higher levels of proinflammatory cytokines predict lack of future response to antidepressants, changes in inflammation associated with antidepressant response are not reflected by all cytokines at the same time. In contrast, modulation of the GR complex and of neuroplasticity is needed to observe a therapeutic antidepressant effect. © 2013 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. All rights reserved.


Minelli A.,Genetic Unit | Bonvicini C.,Genetic Unit | Scassellati C.,Genetic Unit | Sartori R.,University of Verona | And 2 more authors.
BMC Psychiatry | Year: 2011

Background: A genetic liability for anxiety-related personality traits in healthy subjects has been associated with the functional serotonin transporter promoter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR), although the data are somewhat conflicting. Moreover, only one study has investigated the functional significance of the 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 haplotypes in relation to anxiety traits in healthy subjects. We tested whether the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and the 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 haplotypes are linked to Harm Avoidance (HA) using an association study (STUDY I) and a meta-analytic approach (STUDY II).Methods: STUDY I: A total of 287 unrelated Italian volunteers were screened for DSM-IV Axis I disorders and genotyped for the 5-HTTLPR and rs25531 (A/G) polymorphisms. Different functional haplotype combinations were also analyzed. STUDY II: A total of 44 studies were chosen for a meta-analysis of the putative association between 5-HTTLPR and anxiety-related personality traits.Results: STUDY I: In the whole sample of 287 volunteers, we found that the SS genotype and S'S' haplotypes were associated with higher scores on HA. However, because the screening assessed by Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.) showed the presence of 55 volunteers affected by depression or anxiety disorders, we analyzed the two groups ("disordered" and "healthy") separately. The data obtained did indeed confirm that in the "healthy" group, the significant effects of the SS genotype and S'S' haplotypes were lost, but they remained in the "disordered" group. STUDY II: The results of the 5-HTTLPR meta-analysis with anxiety-related traits in the whole sample confirmed the association of the SS genotype with higher anxiety-related traits scores in Caucasoids; however, when we analyzed only those studies that used structured psychiatric screening, no association was found.Conclusions: This study demonstrates the relevance to perform analyses on personality traits only in DSM-IV axis I disorder-free subjects. Furthermore, we did not find an association between functional serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms and anxiety traits in healthy subjects screened through a structured psychiatric interview. © 2011 Minelli et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Reddy R.,McGill University | Akoury E.,McGill University | Phuong Nguyen N.M.,McGill University | Abdul-Rahman O.A.,University of Mississippi Medical Center | And 8 more authors.
European Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2013

To date, two maternal-effect genes have been shown to have causative roles in recurrent hydatidiform moles (RHMs); NLRP7 that is mutated in 48-60% of patients with RHMs and C6orf221 (HUGO-approved nomenclature is now KHDC3L), a recently identified gene, that is mutated in 14% of patients with RHMs who are negative for NLRP7 mutations. We sequenced KHDC3L in 97 patients with RHMs and reproductive loss who are mostly negative for NLRP7 mutations. We identified three unrelated patients, each homozygous for one of the two protein-truncating mutations, a novel 4-bp deletion resulting in a frameshift, c.299-302delTCAA, p.Ile100Argfs*2, and a previously described 4-bp deletion, c.322-325delGACT, p.Asp108Ilefs*30, transmitted on a shared haplotype to three patients from different populations. We show that five HM tissues from one of these patients are diploid and biparental similar to HMs from patients with two defective NLRP7 mutations. Using immunofluorescence, we show that KHDC3L protein displays a juxta perinuclear signal and colocalizes with NLRP7 in lymphoblastoid cell lines from normal subjects. Using cell lines from patients, we demonstrate that the KHDC3L mutations do not change the subcellular localization of the protein in hematopoietic cells. Our data highlight the similarities between the two causative genes for RHMs, KHDC3L and NLRP7, in their subcellular localization, the parental contribution to the HM tissues caused by them, and the presence of several founder mutations and variants in both of them indicating positive selection and adaptation. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.


Minelli A.,Genetic Unit | Zanardini R.,Neuropsychopharmacology Unit | Bonvicini C.,Genetic Unit | Sartori R.,University of Verona | And 4 more authors.
European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience | Year: 2011

Consisting evidence in animal models has suggested that alterations in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) brain expression and release are involved in the pathogenesis of mental illnesses, such as, mood, anxiety, and eating disorders. This hypothesis is supported by data emerging from biochemical studies on serum BDNF levels and genetic studies on the functional polymorphism Val66Met in the BDNF gene in patients and control subjects. Anxiety-related personality traits are associated with several mental disorders. However, they are also measurable in non-affected subjects and, so, may represent a useful "endophenotype" to study the biological correlation of the vulnerability factors in the general population. In this study, we analyzed putative correlations in subjects unaffected by mental disorders between personality traits, serum BDNF levels (N = 107), and the BDNF Val66Met genotype (N = 217). Furthermore, we tested the possible interactions between these variables. A significant correlation has been observed between high scores of harm avoidance (HA) measured by the temperament and character inventory (TCI), and low BDNF serum concentration (r = -0.253, P = 0.009). In addition, an association has been evidenced between low BDNF levels in serum and the BDNF Val/Val genotype (P = 0.021). By analyzing putative concomitant effects of different variables on HA scores in a regression model, we observed a significant correlation only with BDNF serum concentrations (P = 0.022). The study results suggest that a decrease in serum BDNF concentrations may represent a biochemical marker associated with anxiety personality traits also retrievable in the general population. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Balca-Silva J.,Applied Molecular Biology Biochemistry Unit | Neves S.S.,Applied Molecular Biology Biochemistry Unit | Goncalves A.C.,Applied Molecular Biology Biochemistry Unit | Abrantes A.M.,Biophysics Unit | And 4 more authors.
Anticancer Research | Year: 2012

Background: The miR-34 family, under-expressed in-non small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs), are effectors of p53 activation upon irradiation of cells. We evaluated whether the miR-34b overexpression modulates the NSCLCs response to radiation. Materials and Methods: NSCLC cell lines A549 with V-KI-RAS2 Kirsten Rat Sarcoma viral oncogene (KRAS) codon 12 mutation and with wild type p53, and H1299, not expressing p53, were irradiated after transfection with pre-miR-34b. Cell survival was assessed by clonogenic survival assays. The apoptosis and the cell cycle were evaluated by flow cytometry. Results: In the A549 cell line, overexpression of miR-34b significantly reduced cell survival at lower than 4 Gy radiation doses. There was a significant reduction in B-cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (BCL2) expression but no significant differences were observed in the apoptotic cell population or the cycle profile. No significant effect was recorded in the H1299 irradiated cells. Conclusion: In the p53 wild type, KRAS mutated NSCLC cells, the overexpression of miR-34b increases radiosensitivity at low doses of radiation.


Scassellati C.,Instituto Of Ricovero E Cura A Carattere Scientifico Irccs | Bonvicini C.,Instituto Of Ricovero E Cura A Carattere Scientifico Irccs | Faraone S.V.,SUNY Upstate Medical University | Gennarelli M.,Genetic Unit | Gennarelli M.,University of Brescia
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry | Year: 2012

Objective: To determine whether peripheral biochemical markers (biomarkers) might differentiate patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) from non-ADHD individuals. Method: We conducted a systematic search and a series of meta-analyses of case-control studies comprising studies from 1969 to 2011. Results: We identified 210 studies in the following categories: 71 studies of the main metabolites and metabolism enzymes of monoaminergic neurotransmission pathway; 87 studies of environmental risk factors divided into heavy metals (18 studies), substance/chemical exposures (16 studies), and nutritional factors (trace elements: 29 studies; essential fatty acids: 24 studies); 22 studies of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) pathway; 31 studies indicated with "other." After screening for the availability for meta-analyses of drug naïve/free case-control studies and Bonferroni correction, five comparisons were statistically significant (Norepinephrine [NE], 3-Methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylethylene glycol [MHPG], monoamine oxidase [MAO], Zinc [Zn], cortisol), five of the significant findings found support in studies of response to ADHD medications (NE, MHPG, MAO, b-phenylethylamine [PEA], cortisol), six in studies of symptoms severity (NE, MHPG, MAO, ferritin, Zn, cortisol) and three in studies of neurophysiological or cognitive functioning (lead-ferritin-Zn). No evidence of publication bias was found, whereas significant heterogeneity of effect sizes across studies was found for three of the five biomarkers that differentiated ADHD from control subjects. Suggestive associations were evidenced for neuropeptide Y (NPY), manganese, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Conclusions: This study provides evidence for several peripheral biomarkers as being associated with ADHD both in diagnosis and in treatment efficacy. Further studies are warranted to replicate these findings, to assess their specificity for ADHD, and to quantify the degree to which they are sufficiently precise to be useful in clinical settings. © 2012 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.


Minelli A.,University of Brescia | Maffioletti E.,University of Brescia | Cloninger C.R.,University of Washington | Magri C.,University of Brescia | And 8 more authors.
Depression and Anxiety | Year: 2013

Background Anxiety disorders exhibit remarkably high rates of comorbidity with major depressive disorder (MDD). Mood and anxiety disorders are considered stress-related diseases. Genetic variations in the co-chaperone FK506-binding protein 51, FKBP5, which modulates the function of glucocorticoid receptors, have been associated with an increased risk for the development of posttraumatic stress disorder, but data regarding its role in MDD are controversial. The aims of this study were to clarify the role of the FKBP5 gene in depression and anxiety disorders through a case-control study and an association study with personality traits using the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) in healthy subjects. Methods Six hundred fifty-seven MDD patients, with or without an anxiety disorder in comorbidity, and 462 healthy volunteers were enrolled in the study. Two hundred fifty-six controls agreed to fill out the TCI. Results The results showed that the T allele of rs1360780 was more frequent among the patients affected by MDD with a comorbidity of anxiety disorders, compared to those without (P <.001). Among the controls, we found that the T allele more often exhibited personality traits associated with an increased vulnerability to anxiety. Conclusions These results support the hypothesis that allelic variants of FKBP5 are a risk factor for anxiety disorders. The identification of genetic variants involved in anxiety may have implications for the optimization of therapeutic interventions. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Bocchio-Chiavetto L.,Neuropsychopharmacology Unit | Maffioletti E.,Neuropsychopharmacology Unit | Maffioletti E.,University of Brescia | Bettinsoli P.,Neuropsychopharmacology Unit | And 7 more authors.
European Neuropsychopharmacology | Year: 2013

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are potent modulators of protein expression that play key roles in brain pathways regulating neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity. These small RNAs may be critical for the pathophysiology of mental disorders and may influence the effectiveness of psychotropic drugs. To investigate the possible involvement of miRNAs in the mechanism of action of antidepressants (AD), we conducted a whole-miRNome quantitative analysis with qRT-PCR of the changes in the blood of 10 depressed subjects after 12 weeks of treatment with escitalopram. Thirty miRNAs were differentially expressed after the AD treatment: 28 miRNAs were up-regulated, and 2 miRNAs were strongly down-regulated. miRNA target gene prediction and functional annotation analysis showed that there was a significant enrichment in several pathways associated with neuronal brain function (such as neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, axon guidance, long-term potentiation and depression), supporting the hypothesis that the differentially regulated miRNAs may be involved in the AD mechanism. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP.


Rajab A.,Genetic Unit | Al Rashdi I.,Genetic Unit | Al Salmi Q.,Royal Hospital
Journal of Community Genetics | Year: 2013

The Sultanate of Oman is a rapidly developing Muslim country with well-organised government-funded health care services, including primary, secondary and tertiary, and rapidly expanding medical genetic facilities. At the present time, the Omani population is characterised by a rapid rate of growth, large family size, consanguineous marriages, and the presence of genetic isolates. The preservation of a tribal structure in the community coupled with traditional isolation has produced unique and favourable circumstances for building genealogical records and the study of genetic disease. Genetic services developed in the Sultanate of Oman in the past decade have become an important component of health care. The recently constructed Genetic Centre in Muscat expects to meet the needs of the Omani population in provision of genetic services and research, in a manner deferential to the cultural and religious traditions of the country. © Europian Union 2013.

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