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Lecco, Italy

Nizzardo M.,University of Milan | Simone C.,University of Milan | Falcone M.,University of Milan | Locatelli F.,IRCCS Eugenio Medea | And 3 more authors.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are a group of neurological disorders that selectively affect motor neurons. There are currently no cures or efficacious treatments for these diseases. In recent years, significant developments in stem cell research have been applied to MNDs, particularly regarding neuroprotection and cell replacement. However, a consistent source of motor neurons for cell replacement is required. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) could provide an inexhaustible supply of differentiated cell types, including motor neurons that could be used for MND therapies. Recently, it has been demonstrated that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells may serve as an alternative source of motor neurons, since they share ES characteristics, self-renewal, and the potential to differentiate into any somatic cell type. In this review, we discuss several reproducible methods by which hESCs or iPS cells are efficiently isolated and differentiated into functional motor neurons, and possible clinical applications. © 2010 Springer Basel AG. Source

Lo Mauro A.,Polytechnic of Milan | D'Angelo M.G.,IRCCS Eugenio Medea | Aliverti A.,Polytechnic of Milan
Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked myopathy resulting in progressive weakness and wasting of all the striated muscles including the respiratory muscles. The consequences are loss of ambulation before teen ages, cardiac involvement and breathing difficulties, the main cause of death. A cure for DMD is not currently available. In the last decades the survival of patients with DMD has improved because the natural history of the disease can be changed thanks to a more comprehensive therapeutic approach. This comprises interventions targeted to the manifestations and complications of the disease, particularly in the respiratory care. These include: 1) pharmacological intervention, namely corticosteroids and idebenone that significantly reduce the decline of spirometric parameters; 2) rehabilitative intervention, namely lung volume recruitment techniques that help prevent atelectasis and slows the rate of decline of pulmonary function; 3) scoliosis treatment, namely steroid therapy that is used to reduce muscle inflammation/degeneration and prolong ambulation in order to delay the onset of scoliosis, being an additional contribution to the restrictive lung pattern; 4) cough assisted devices that improve airway clearance thus reducing the risk of pulmonary infections; and 5) non-invasive mechanical ventilation that is essential to treat nocturnal hypoventilation, sleep disordered breathing, and ultimately respiratory failure. Without any intervention death occurs within the first 2 decades, however, thanks to this multidisciplinary therapeutic approach life expectancy of a newborn with DMD nowadays can be significantly prolonged up to his fourth decade. This review is aimed at providing state-of-the-art methods and techniques for the assessment and management of respiratory function in DMD patients. © 2015 LoMauro et al. Source

Michieletto P.,IRCCS Eugenio Medea | Bonanni P.,IRCCS Eugenio Medea | Pensiero S.,IRCCS Burlo Garofolo
Journal of AAPOS

Purpose: To provide detailed information about opthalmological findings in a group of patients with Angelman syndrome (AS). Methods: Consecutive patients with a genetically confirmed diagnosis of AS were submitted to ophthalmic and orthoptic examinations. Strabismus, visual acuity, cycloplegic refraction, and iris and fundus pigmentation were evaluated. Parents were also examined to compare the extent of fundus pigmentation. Results: A total of 34 patients were identified, representing 3 genetic classes: deletion, uniparental disomy, and mutation. Ametropia >1 D was present in 97% of cases: myopia in 9%, hyperopia in 76%, and astigmatism in 94%. Myopia and anisometropia were found only in the genetic deletion group. Strabismus, most frequently exotropia, was found in 24 patients (75%). Ocular hypopigmentation was observed in 18 subjects (53%), with choroidal involvement in 3 cases and isolated iris involvement in 4. Hypopigmentation was observed in all of the 3 genetic classes. Conclusions: Ophthalmic alterations in AS were observed more frequently than has been previously reported, except for ocular hypopigmentation, which was observed less frequently. Copyright © 2011 by the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. Source

Corti S.,University of Milan | Nizzardo M.,University of Milan | Simone C.,University of Milan | Falcone M.,University of Milan | And 11 more authors.
Science Translational Medicine

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is among the most common genetic neurological diseases that cause infant mortality. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated from skin fibroblasts from SMA patients and genetically corrected have been proposed to be useful for autologous cell therapy. We generated iPSCs from SMA patients (SMA-iPSCs) using nonviral, nonintegrating episomal vectors and used a targeted gene correction approach based on single-stranded oligonucleotides to convert the survival motor neuron 2 (SMN2) gene into an SMN1-like gene. Corrected iPSC lines contained no exogenous sequences. Motor neurons formed by differentiation of uncorrected SMA-iPSCs reproduced disease-specific features. These features were ameliorated in motor neurons derived from genetically corrected SMA-iPSCs. The different gene splicing profile in SMA-iPSC motor neurons was rescued after genetic correction. The transplantation of corrected motor neurons derived from SMA-iPSCs into an SMA mouse model extended the life span of the animals and improved the disease phenotype. These results suggest that generating genetically corrected SMA-iPSCs and differentiating them into motor neurons may provide a source of motor neurons for therapeutic transplantation for SMA. Source

Galli M.,Polytechnic of Milan | Cimolin V.,Polytechnic of Milan | Albertini G.,IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana Tosinvest Sanita | Piccinini L.,IRCCS Eugenio Medea | And 3 more authors.
European Journal of Paediatric Neurology

Movements of the lower limbs during walking have been widely investigated in literature, while quantification of arm movement during gait is scanty. The aim of the present study was to assess quantitatively the upper limb motion during gait in children with Cerebral Palsy (CP). Sixteen children with diplegic CP were evaluated using a full-body marker set, which allows assessing both the lower and upper limb kinematics. Our results demonstrated that movement of the arms was characterized by an abducted shoulder and a more flexed elbow position at the initial contact of the gait cycle with a quite physiological range of motion if compared to controls. These data showed that gait of children with diplegic CP is generally characterized by abnormal upper limb position which could be considered a strategy to keep balance and posture control during walking. © 2013 European Paediatric Neurology Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

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