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Haifa, Israel

Gilbar R.,Netanya Academic College | Shalev S.,The Genetic Institute | Spiegel R.,Emek Medical Center | Pras E.,The Danek Gertner Institute of Human Genetics | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Genetic Counseling | Year: 2016

Many factors predict the intention to disclose genetic information to relatives. The article examines the impact of patients’ socio-demographic factors on their intention to disclose genetic testing results to their relatives. Data were collected in eight genetic clinics in Israel. Patients were requested to fill in a questionnaire after counseling. A convenience sample of 564 participants who visited these clinics was collected for a response rate of 85 %. Of them, 282 participants came for susceptibility testing for hereditary cancers (cancer group), and 282 for genetic screening tests (prenatal group). In the cancer group, being secular and having more years of education correlated positively with the intention to disclose test results to relatives. In the prenatal group, being married and female correlated positively with the intention to disclose. In the cancer group, being religious and with less years of education correlated positively with the view that the clinician should deliver the results to the family. In the prenatal group, being male and unmarried correlated positively with this belief. In both groups, being of young age correlated with the perception that genetic information is private. Varied sociodemographic factors affect the intention to inform family members. Thus, knowing the social background of patients will shed light on people’s attitudes to genetic information and will help clinicians provide effective counseling in discussions with patients about the implications of test results for relatives. © 2015, National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. Source


Ben-Itzchak E.,Ariel University | Ben-Itzchak E.,The Autism Center | Ben-Shachar S.,The Genetic Institute | Zachor D.A.,The Autism Center | Zachor D.A.,Tel Aviv University
Autism Research | Year: 2013

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heritable disorder occurring predominantly in males. The aim of this study was to compare sex differences in the prevalence of specific neurological phenotypes commonly described in ASD. The study included 663 participants, aged 18 months to 15 years, diagnosed with ASD. Neurological and behavioral assessments were performed using standardized tests, and obtaining medical, developmental, and familial histories from the parents. Phenotypes under investigation were macro- and microcephaly, developmental regression, minor neurological and musculoskeletal deficits (MNMD), and seizures. Male:female ratio in the ASD group was 6.7:1. No sex differences in autism severity, cognitive ability, and adaptive functioning were noted. Mean head circumference percentile for males (50.1±25.6) was significantly larger than females (43.4±30.2). Micro- and macrocephaly were more frequent in ASD than expected (5.9%; 18.1%, respectively). Microcephaly in females (15.1%) was significantly more prevalent than in males (4.5%). The prevalence of macrocephaly in both sexes did not differ significantly. Regression was noted in 30.2% of the females with ASD, significantly higher than in males (18.9%). MNMD was documented in 73.8% of the females, significantly higher than in males (57.1%). M:F ratio decreased in a group with two or more phenotypes (3.6:1), while male predominance was more significant in the group without phenotypes (13.6:1). Neurological phenotypes associated with ASD are more prevalent in females than in males, resulting in more complex clinical and neurological manifestations in females. Therefore, involvement of different etiologies is suggested in ASD in females. © 2013 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source


Gal M.,Bar - Ilan University | Levanon E.Y.,Bar - Ilan University | Hujeirat Y.,The Genetic Institute | Khayat M.,The Genetic Institute | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A | Year: 2014

Developmental malformations of the vitreoretinal vasculature are a heterogeneous group of conditions with various modes of inheritance, and include familial exudative vitreoretinopathy (FEVR), persistent fetal vasculature (PFV), and Norrie disease. We investigated a large consanguineous kindred with multiple affected individuals exhibiting variable phenotypes of abnormal vitreoretinal vasculature, consistent with the three above-mentioned conditions and compatible with autosomal recessive inheritance. Exome sequencing identified a novel c.542G>T (p.C181F) apparently mutation in the TSPAN12 gene that segregated with the ocular disease in the family. The TSPAN12 gene was previously reported to cause dominant and recessive FEVR, but has not yet been associated with other vitreoretinal manifestations. The intra-familial clinical variability caused by a single mutation in the TSPAN12 gene underscores the complicated phenotype-genotype correlation of mutations in this gene, and suggests that there are additional genetic and environmental factors involved in the complex process of ocular vascularization during embryonic development. Our study supports considering PFV, FEVR, and Norrie disease a spectrum of disorders, with clinical and genetic overlap, caused by mutations in distinct genes acting in the Norrin/β-catenin signaling pathway. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source


Rice G.I.,University of Manchester | Forte G.M.A.,University of Manchester | Szynkiewicz M.,University of Manchester | Chase D.S.,University of Manchester | And 53 more authors.
The Lancet Neurology | Year: 2013

Background: Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS) is an inflammatory disorder caused by mutations in any of six genes (TREX1, RNASEH2A, RNASEH2B, RNASEH2C, SAMHD1, and ADAR). The disease is severe and effective treatments are urgently needed. We investigated the status of interferon-related biomarkers in patients with AGS with a view to future use in diagnosis and clinical trials. Methods: In this case-control study, samples were collected prospectively from patients with mutation-proven AGS. The expression of six interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) was measured by quantitative PCR, and the median fold change, when compared with the median of healthy controls, was used to create an interferon score for each patient. Scores higher than the mean of controls plus two SD (>2·466) were designated as positive. Additionally, we collated historical data for interferon activity, measured with a viral cytopathic assay, in CSF and serum from mutation-positive patients with AGS. We also undertook neutralisation assays of interferon activity in serum, and looked for the presence of autoantibodies against a panel of interferon proteins. Findings: 74 (90%) of 82 patients had a positive interferon score (median 12·90, IQR 6·14-20·41) compared with two (7%) of 29 controls (median 0·93, IQR 0·57-1·30). Of the eight patients with a negative interferon score, seven had mutations in RNASEH2B (seven [27%] of all 26 patients with mutations in this gene). Repeat sampling in 16 patients was consistent for the presence or absence of an interferon signature on 39 of 41 occasions. Interferon activity (tested in 147 patients) was negatively correlated with age (CSF, r=-0·604; serum, r=-0·289), and was higher in CSF than in serum in 104 of 136 paired samples. Neutralisation assays suggested that measurable antiviral activity was related to interferon α production. We did not record significantly increased concentrations of autoantibodies to interferon subtypes in patients with AGS, or an association between the presence of autoantibodies and interferon score or serum interferon activity. Interpretation: AGS is consistently associated with an interferon signature, which is apparently sustained over time and can thus be used to differentiate patients with AGS from controls. If future studies show that interferon status is a reactive biomarker, the measurement of an interferon score might prove useful in the assessment of treatment efficacy in clinical trials. Funding: European Union's Seventh Framework Programme; European Research Council. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Gochberg-Sarver A.,The Genetic Institute | Gochberg-Sarver A.,Tel Aviv University | Kedmi M.,The Genetic Institute | Kedmi M.,Weizmann Institute of Science | And 4 more authors.
Molecular Genetics and Metabolism | Year: 2012

Studies have provided evidences for the effects of nicotine on adipose tissues, as well as in inflammatory response. We hypothesized that nicotine affects adipokine gene expression in adipose tissues via specific neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). First, we described the expression of multiple nAChR subunit genes in mouse white and brown adipose tissues (WAT and BAT), and detected differential expression in WAT and BAT (α2 > α5 > β2 and α2 > β2 > β4, respectively). Additionally, when nicotine was administered to wild-type mice, it significantly affected the expression of adipokine genes, such as Tnfα, AdipoQ, Haptoglobin and Mcp1 in WAT. Next, we demonstrated that in mice deficient for the β2 nAChR subunit (β2. -/- mice), the expression levels of Cox2 and Ngfβ genes in WAT, and Leptin, Cox2, AdipoQ and Haptoglobin in BAT, were significantly altered. Furthermore, interactions between mouse β2 subunit and nicotine treatment affected the expression levels of the adipokine genes Tnfα, Cox2 and AdipoQ in WAT and of AdipoQ in BAT. Finally, analysis of a cellular model of cultured adipocytes demonstrated that application of nicotine after silencing of the β2 nAChR subunit significantly elevated the expression level of Cox2 gene. Together, our data suggest a molecular link between the β2 nACh receptor subunit and the expression levels of specific adipokines, which is also affected by nicotine. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source

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