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Point of Rocks, MD, United States

Sabatelli M.,Catholic University And Icomm Association For Als Research | Conforti F.L.,National Research Council Italy | Zollino M.,Catholic University of Rome | Mora G.,Scientific Institute of Milan | And 71 more authors.
Neurobiology of Aging

It has been recently reported that a large proportion of patients with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are associated with a hexanucleotide (GGGGCC) repeat expansion in the first intron of . C9ORF72. We have assessed 1757 Italian sporadic ALS cases, 133 from Sardinia, 101 from Sicily, and 1523 from mainland Italy. Sixty (3.7%) of 1624 mainland Italians and Sicilians and 9 (6.8%) of the 133 Sardinian sporadic ALS cases carried the pathogenic repeat expansion. None of the 619 regionally matched control samples (1238 chromosomes) carried the expansion. Twenty-five cases (36.2%) had behavioral FTD in addition to ALS. FTD or unspecified dementia was also detected in 19 pedigrees (27.5%) in first-degree relatives of ALS patients. Cases carrying the . C9ORF72 hexanucleotide expansion survived 1 year less than cases who did not carry this mutation. In conclusion, we found that . C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansions represents a sizeable proportion of apparent sporadic ALS in the Italian and Sardinian population, representing by far the most common mutation in Italy and the second most common in Sardinia. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.. Source

Brooks A.,Rutgers University | Hancock D.,Research Triangle Institute | Tischfield J.,Rutgers University | Foroud T.,Indiana University | And 3 more authors.

Variants within the gene cluster encoding α3, α5, and β4 nicotinic receptor subunits are major risk factors for substance dependence. The strongest impact on risk is associated with variation in the CHRNA5 gene, where at least two mechanisms are at work: amino acid variation and altered mRNA expression levels. The risk allele of the non-synonymous variant (rs16969968; D398N) primarily occurs on the haplotype containing the low mRNA expression allele. In populations of European ancestry, there are approximately 50 highly correlated variants in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 gene cluster and the adjacent PSMA4 gene region that are associated with CHRNA5 mRNA levels. It is not clear which of these variants contribute to the changes in CHRNA5 transcript level. Because populations of African ancestry have reduced linkage disequilibrium among variants spanning this gene cluster, eQTL mapping in subjects of African ancestry could potentially aid in defining the functional variants that affect CHRNA5 mRNA levels. We performed quantitative allele specific gene expression using frontal cortices derived from 49 subjects of African ancestry and 111 subjects of European ancestry. This method measures allele-specific transcript levels in the same individual, which eliminates other biological variation that occurs when comparing expression levels between different samples. This analysis confirmed that substance dependence associated variants have a direct cis-regulatory effect on CHRNA5 transcript levels in human frontal cortices of African and European ancestry and identified 10 highly correlated variants, located in a 9 kb region, that are potential functional variants modifying CHRNA5 mRNA expression levels. © 2013 Wang et al. Source

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