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Dallabona C.,University of Parma | Diodato D.,Unit of Molecular Neurogenetics | Haack T.B.,TU Munich | Haack T.B.,Helmholtz Center Munich | And 23 more authors.
Neurology | Year: 2014

Objectives: The study was focused on leukoencephalopathies of unknown cause in order to define a novel, homogeneous phenotype suggestive of a common genetic defect, based on clinical and MRI findings, and to identify the causal genetic defect shared by patients with this phenotype. Methods: Independent next-generation exome-sequencing studies were performed in 2 unrelated patients with a leukoencephalopathy. MRI findings in these patients were compared with available MRIs in a database of unclassified leukoencephalopathies; 11 patients with similar MRI abnormalities were selected. Clinical and MRI findings were investigated. Results: Next-generation sequencing revealed compound heterozygous mutations in AARS2 encoding mitochondrial alanyl-tRNA synthetase in both patients. Functional studies in yeast confirmed the pathogenicity of the mutations in one patient. Sanger sequencing revealed AARS2 mutations in 4 of the 11 selected patients. The 6 patients with AARS2 mutations had childhoodto adulthood-onset signs of neurologic deterioration consisting of ataxia, spasticity, and cognitive decline with features of frontal lobe dysfunction. MRIs showed a leukoencephalopathy with striking involvement of left-right connections, descending tracts, and cerebellar atrophy. All female patients had ovarian failure. None of the patients had signs of a cardiomyopathy. Conclusions: Mutations in AARS2 have been found in a severe form of infantile cardiomyopathy in 2 families. We present 6 patients with a new phenotype caused by AARS2 mutations, characterized by leukoencephalopathy and, in female patients, ovarian failure, indicating that the phenotypic spectrum associated with AARS2 variants is much wider than previously reported. © 2014 American Academy of Neurology.

Jacobi H.,University of Bonn | du Montcel S.T.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | du Montcel S.T.,Biostatistics Unit | Bauer P.,University of Tubingen | And 42 more authors.
The Lancet Neurology | Year: 2015

Background: Spinocerebellar ataxias are dominantly inherited neurodegenerative diseases. As potential treatments for these diseases are being developed, precise knowledge of their natural history is needed. We aimed to study the long-term disease progression of the most common spinocerebellar ataxias: SCA1, SCA2, SCA3, and SCA6. Furthermore, we aimed to establish the order and occurrence of non-ataxia symptoms, and identify predictors of disease progression. Methods: In this longitudinal cohort study (EUROSCA), we enrolled men and women with positive genetic testing for SCA1, SCA2, SCA3, or SCA6 and with progressive, otherwise unexplained ataxia who were aged 18 years or older from 17 ataxia referral centres in ten European countries. Patients were seen every year for 3 years, and at irregular intervals thereafter. The primary outcome was the scale for the assessment and rating of ataxia (SARA), and the inventory of non-ataxia signs (INAS). We used linear mixed models to analyse progression. To account for dropouts, we applied a pattern-mixture model. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02440763. Findings: Between July 1, 2005, and Aug 31, 2006, 526 patients with SCA1, SCA2, SCA3, or SCA6 were enrolled. We analysed data for 462 patients with at least one follow-up visit. Median observation time was 49 months (IQR 35-72). SARA progression data were best fitted with a linear model in all genotypes. Annual SARA score increase was 2.11 (SE 0.12) in patients with SCA1, 1.49 (0.07) in patients with SCA2, 1.56 (0.08) in patients with SCA3, and 0.80 (0.09) in patients with SCA6. The increase of the number of non-ataxia signs reached a plateau in SCA1, SCA2, and SCA3. In patients with SCA6, the number of non-ataxia symptoms increased linearly, but more slowly than in patients with SCA1, SCA2, and SCA3 (p<0.0001). Factors that were associated with faster progression of the SARA score were short duration of follow-up (p=0.0179), older age at inclusion (0.04 [SE 0.02] per additional year; p=0.0476), and longer repeat expansions (0.06 [SE 0.02] per additional repeat unit; p=0.0128) in SCA1, short duration of follow-up (p<0.0001), lower age at onset (-0.02 [SE 0.01] per additional year; p=0.0014), and lower baseline SARA score (-0.02 [SE 0.01] per additional SARA point; p=0.0083) in SCA2, and lower baseline SARA score (-0.03 [SE 0.01] per additional SARA point; p=0.0195) in SCA6. In SCA3, we did not identify factors that affected progression of the SARA score. Interpretation: Our study provides quantitative data on the progression of the most common spinocerebellar ataxias based on a follow-up period that exceeds those of previous studies. Our data could prove useful for sample size calculation and patient stratification in interventional trials. Funding: EU FP6 (EUROSCA), German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; GeneMove), Polish Ministry of Science, EU FP7 (NEUROMICS). © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Mariotti C.,SOSD Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Diseases | Fancellu R.,SOSD Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Diseases | Caldarazzo S.,SOSD Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Diseases | Nanetti L.,SOSD Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Diseases | And 7 more authors.
Movement Disorders | Year: 2012

Background: Friedreich ataxia is a rare disease caused by GAA-trinucleotide-repeat expansions in the frataxin gene, leading to marked reduction of qualitatively normal frataxin protein. Recently, human recombinant erythropoietin was reported to increase frataxin levels in patients with Friedreich ataxia. Methods: We performed a 6-month, randomized placebo-controlled, double-blind, dose-response pilot trial to assess the safety and efficacy of erythropoietin in increasing frataxin levels. Sixteen adult patient with Friedreich ataxia were randomly assigned to erythropoietin (n = 11) or matching placebo (n = 5). All patients continued Idebenone treatment (5 mg/kg/day). Treatment consisted of a 6-month scaling-up phase, in which erythropoietin was administered intravenously at the following doses: 20,000 IU every 3 weeks, 40,000 IU every 3 weeks, and 40,000 IU every 2 weeks. Results: Erythropoietin treatment was safe and well tolerated, but did not result in any significant hematological, clinical, or biochemical effects in Friedreich ataxia patients. © 2012 Movement Disorder Society.

Smith B.N.,Institute of Psychiatry | Newhouse S.,Institute of Psychiatry | Shatunov A.,Institute of Psychiatry | Vance C.,Institute of Psychiatry | And 39 more authors.
European Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2013

A massive hexanucleotide repeat expansion mutation (HREM) in C9ORF72 has recently been linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Here we describe the frequency, origin and stability of this mutation in ALS+/-FTD from five European cohorts (total n=1347). Single-nucleotide polymorphisms defining the risk haplotype in linked kindreds were genotyped in cases (n=434) and controls (n=856). Haplotypes were analysed using PLINK and aged using DMLE+. In a London clinic cohort, the HREM was the most common mutation in familial ALS+/-FTD: C9ORF72 29/112 (26%), SOD1 27/112 (24%), TARDBP 1/112 (1%) and FUS 4/112 (4%) and detected in 13/216 (6%) of unselected sporadic ALS cases but was rare in controls (3/856, 0.3%). HREM prevalence was high for familial ALS+/-FTD throughout Europe: Belgium 19/22 (86%), Sweden 30/41 (73%), the Netherlands 10/27 (37%) and Italy 4/20 (20%). The HREM did not affect the age at onset or survival of ALS patients. Haplotype analysis identified a common founder in all 137 HREM carriers that arose around 6300 years ago. The haplotype from which the HREM arose is intrinsically unstable with an increased number of repeats (average 8, compared with 2 for controls, P<10-8). We conclude that the HREM has a single founder and is the most common mutation in familial and sporadic ALS in Europe. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Castellotti B.,SOSD Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Diseases | Mariotti C.,SOSD Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Diseases | Rimoldi M.,SOSD Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Diseases | Fancellu R.,SOSD Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Diseases | And 11 more authors.
Neurogenetics | Year: 2011

Ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type1 (AOA1, MIM 208920) is a rare autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in the APTX gene. We screened a cohort of 204 patients with cerebellar ataxia and 52 patients with early-onset isolated chorea. APTX gene mutations were found in 13 ataxic patients (6%). Eleven patients were homozygous for the known p.W279X, p.W279R, and p.P206L mutations. Three novel APTX mutations were identified: c.477delC (p.I159fsX171), c.C541T (p.Q181X), and c.C916T (p.R306X). Expression of mutated proteins in lymphocytes from these patients was greatly decreased. No mutations were identified in subjects with isolated chorea. Two heterozygous APTX sequence variants (p.L248M and p.D185E) were found in six families with ataxic phenotype. Analyses of coenzyme Q10 in muscle, fibroblasts, and plasma demonstrated normal levels of coenzyme in five of six mutated subjects. The clinical phenotype was homogeneous, irrespectively of the type and location of the APTX mutation, and it was mainly characterized by early-onset cerebellar signs, sensory neuropathy, cognitive decline, and oculomotor deficits. Three cases had slightly raised alpha-fetoprotein. Our survey describes one of the largest series of AOA1 patients and contributes in defining clinical, molecular, and biochemical characteristics of this rare hereditary neurological condition. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

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