San Daniele del Friuli, Italy
San Daniele del Friuli, Italy

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Rezza G.,National Institute of Health | Farchi F.,National Institute of Health | Pezzotti P.,National Institute of Health | Ruscio M.,Unit of Laboratory Medicine | And 20 more authors.
Eurosurveillance | Year: 2015

Italy is considered at low incidence of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), and the occurrence of human cases of TBE appears to be geographically restricted to the north east of the country. However, most information to date derives from case series, with no systematic data collection. To estimate incidence rates (IR) and spatial distribution of TBE cases, we conducted a retrospective study in north-eastern Italy. Data were collected through the infectious disease units and public health districts of three regions (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto) between 2000 and 2013. Overall, 367 cases were identified (IR: 0.38/100,000). The cases’ median age was 56 years and 257 (70%) were male. Central nervous system involvement was reported in 307 cases (84%). Annual fluctuations in case numbers occurred, with peaks in 2006 and in 2013, when 44 and 42 cases were respectively observed. A strong seasonality effect was noted, with the highest number of cases in July. In terms of geographical location, three main endemic foci with high TBE IR (> 10/100,000) were identified in three provinces, namely Belluno (Veneto region), Udine (Friuli Venezia Giulia) and Trento (Trentino Alto- Adige). When investigating the whole study area in terms of altitude, the IR between 400 and 600 m was greater (2.41/100,000) than at other altitudes (p< 0.01). In conclusion, the incidence of TBE in Italy is relatively low, even considering only the three known affected regions. However, three endemic foci at high risk were identified. In these areas, where the risk of TBEV infection is likely high, more active offer of TBE vaccination could be considered. © 2015, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). All rights reserved.


Mearelli F.,C O Clinica Medica Generale | Ruscio M.,Unit of Laboratory Medicine
Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine | Year: 2014

Background: A relevant amount of patients with clinical suspect of sepsis is admitted and treated in medical wards (MW). These patients have a better prognosis but are older and with more comorbidities compared to those admitted to intensive care units (ICU). Procalcitonin (PCT) is extensively used in emergency departments for the diagnosis of sepsis, but its accuracy in the setting of a MW has not been thoroughly investigated. Predicted low PCT levels also call for the comparison of immunomagnetic-chemiluminescent (L-PCT) and time-resolved amplified cryptate emission (TRACE, K-PCT) technologies, in PCT determination. Methods: In 80 patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) diagnostic criteria and suspect of sepsis newly admitted to a MW, PCT was determined with L- and K-PCT method. Results: Sixty patients were diagnosed as sepsis (20 microbiologically and 40 clinically proven) and 20 with noninfective SIRS. The sepsis group had significantly higher levels of both PCTs, with no differences between the clinically and microbiologically proven subgroups. The areas under ROC curves for L- and K-PCT were 0.72 and 0.78 (p < 0.001 for each), respectively. Based on MW customized cut-off values of 0.150 (L-PCT) and 0.143 ng/mL (K-PCT), overall accuracies were 66.8 (95% CI 58.7-78.9) and 78.2% (69.8-87.2), respectively, compared to the 55% (44.2-66) of 0.5 ng/mL canonical cut-off. Neither PCT-L nor -K held prognostic value on survival. Conclusions: In MW patients, customized PCT cut-off levels provide better accuracy than customary levels adopted from ICU, and TRACE technology seems to offer a wider analysis range.


Sassi C.,U.S. National Institute on Aging | Sassi C.,University College London | Sassi C.,Charité - Medical University of Berlin | Sassi C.,German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease | Year: 2016

Heterozygous loss of function mutations in granulin represent a significant cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin and TDP-43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP). We report a novel GRN splice site mutation (c.709-2 A>T), segregating with frontotemporal dementia spectrum in a large family from southern Italy. The GRN c.709-2 A>T is predicted to result in the skipping of exon 8, leading to non-sense mediated mRNA decay. Moreover, the PGRN plasma levels in the GRN c.709-2 A>T carriers were significantly lower (24ng/ml) compared to controls (142.7ng/ml) or family members non-carriers (82.0ng/ml) (p-value=0.005, Kruskal Wallis), suggesting progranulin haploinsufficiency. We do not report any potential pathogenic GRN mutation in a follow-up cohort composed of 6 FTD families and 43 sporadic FTD cases, from the same geographic area. Our study suggests that GRN (c.709-2 A>T) is a novel and likely very rare cause of FTD in this Italian cohort. Finally, in line with previous studies, we show that GRN haploinsufficiency leads to a heterogeneous clinical picture, and plasma progranulin levels may be a reliable tool to identify GRN loss of function mutations. However, given that a) genetic and environmental factors, gender, and age may regulate PGRN plasma levels and b) plasma progranulin levels may not reflect PGRN levels in the central nervous system, we suggest that the measurement of progranulin in the plasma should always be coupled with genetic screening of GRN for mutations. © 2016 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.


PubMed | U.S. National Institute on Aging, Unit of Laboratory Medicine, Unit of Biostatistics and University of Bari
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD | Year: 2016

Heterozygous loss of function mutations in granulin represent a significant cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin and TDP-43 inclusions (FTLD-TDP). We report a novel GRN splice site mutation (c.709-2 A>T), segregating with frontotemporal dementia spectrum in a large family from southern Italy. The GRN c.709-2 A>T is predicted to result in the skipping of exon 8, leading to non-sense mediated mRNA decay. Moreover, the PGRN plasma levels in the GRN c.709-2 A>T carriers were significantly lower (24ng/ml) compared to controls (142.7ng/ml) or family members non-carriers (82.0ng/ml) (p-value=0.005, Kruskal Wallis), suggesting progranulin haploinsufficiency. We do not report any potential pathogenic GRN mutation in a follow-up cohort composed of 6 FTD families and 43 sporadic FTD cases, from the same geographic area. Our study suggests that GRN (c.709-2 A>T) is a novel and likely very rare cause of FTD in this Italian cohort. Finally, in line with previous studies, we show that GRN haploinsufficiency leads to a heterogeneous clinical picture, and plasma progranulin levels may be a reliable tool to identify GRN loss of function mutations. However, given that a) genetic and environmental factors, gender, and age may regulate PGRN plasma levels and b) plasma progranulin levels may not reflect PGRN levels in the central nervous system, we suggest that the measurement of progranulin in the plasma should always be coupled with genetic screening of GRN for mutations.

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