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Cappelletti S.,Unit of Clinical Psychology | Specchio N.,Bambino Gesu Childrens Hospital | Moavero R.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Terracciano A.,Unit of Molecular Medicine for Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Diseases | And 5 more authors.
Epilepsy and Behavior | Year: 2015

Mutations in the PCDH19 gene are now recognized to cause epilepsy in females and are claiming increasing interest in the scientific world. Clinical features and seizure semiology have been described as heterogeneous. Intellectual disability might be present, ranging from mild to severe; behavioral and psychiatric problems are a common feature of the disorder, including aggressiveness, depressed mood, and psychotic traits. The purpose of our study was to describe the cognitive development in 11 girls with a de novo mutation in PCDH19 and early-onset epilepsy.Six patients had average mental development or mild intellectual disability regardless of persistence of seizures in clusters. Five patients presented moderate or severe intellectual disability and autistic features. In younger patients, we found that despite an average developmental quotient, they all presented a delay of expressive language acquisition and lower scores at follow-up testing completed at older ages, underlining that subtle dysfunctions might be present.Larger cohort and long-term follow-up might be useful in defining cognitive features and in improving the care of patients with PCDH19. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Falzarano M.S.,University of Ferrara | Bassi E.,University of Ferrara | Passarelli C.,Unit of Molecular Medicine for Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Diseases | Braghetta P.,University of Padua | Ferlini A.,University of Ferrara
Human Gene Therapy | Year: 2014

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe hereditary neuromuscular disorder caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene. Antisense-mediated targeted exon skipping has been shown to restore dystrophin expression both in DMD patients and in the mdx mouse, the murine model of DMD, but the ineffective delivery of these molecules limits their therapeutic use. We demonstrated that PMMA/N-isopropil-acrylamide (ZM2) nanoparticles (NPs), administered both intraperitoneally and orally, were able to deliver 2′OMePS antisense inducing various extents of dystrophin restoration in the mdx mice. Defining NP biodistribution is crucial to improve effects on target and dose regimens; thus, we performed in vivo studies of novel ZM4 NPs. ZM4 are conjugated with NIR fluorophores as optical probes suitable for studies on the Odyssey Imaging System. Our results indicate that NPs are widely distributed in all body muscles, including skeletal muscles and heart, suggesting that these vehicles are appropriate to deliver antisense oligonucleotides for targeting striated muscles in the DMD animal model, thus opening new horizons for Duchenne therapy. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2014.


Nogueira C.,National Institute of Health | Barros J.,Hospital Santo Antonio | Barros J.,Abel Salazar Biomedical Sciences Institute | Sa M.J.,Hospital Sao Joao | And 13 more authors.
Neurogenetics | Year: 2013

Complex III of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (CIII) catalyzes transfer of electrons from reduced coenzyme Q to cytochrome c. Low biochemical activity of CIII is not a frequent etiology in disorders of oxidative metabolism and is genetically heterogeneous. Recently, mutations in the human tetratricopeptide 19 gene (TTC19) have been involved in the etiology of CIII deficiency through impaired assembly of the holocomplex. We investigated a consanguineous Portuguese family where four siblings had reduced enzymatic activity of CIII in muscle and harbored a novel homozygous mutation in TTC19. The clinical phenotype in the four sibs was consistent with severe olivo-ponto-cerebellar atrophy, although their age at onset differed slightly. Interestingly, three patients also presented progressive psychosis. The mutation resulted in almost complete absence of TTC19 protein, defective assembly of CIII in muscle, and enhanced production of reactive oxygen species in cultured skin fibroblasts. Our findings add to the array of mutations in TTC19, corroborate the notion of genotype/phenotype variability in mitochondrial encephalomyopathies even within a single family, and indicate that psychiatric manifestations are a further presentation of low CIII. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Trivisano M.,Bambino Gesu Childrens Hospital | Terracciano A.,Unit of Molecular Medicine for Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Diseases | Milano T.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Cappelletti S.,Unit of Clinical Psychology | And 5 more authors.
Epilepsia | Year: 2015

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor genes are involved mainly in nocturnal frontal epilepsy. Despite extensive studies, to date, the α2 subunit did not show a strong association with this peculiar epileptic phenotype. We report CHRNA2 missense mutation in a family with benign familial infantile seizures (BFIS). TrueSeq Custom Amplicon (TSCA) sequencing approach was used to screen 10 ion channel genes in patients with idiopathic epilepsies. TSCA revealed a heterozygous single-nucleotide substitution in CHRNA2 gene (c.1126 C>T; p. Arg376Trp) that segregated in a family with BFIS; based on bio-informatics inspection, the change was predicted to be pathogenic. The investigated family includes parents and their three daughters. In affected individuals, seizures started between 6 and 24 months of age. Seizures were mainly in cluster and well-controlled. Outcome was good in all subjects. Even if nicotinic acetylcholine receptor genes are traditionally associated with autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (ADNFLE), this single-family description can open new possibilities in the genetic diagnosis, molecular characterization, and management of CHRNA2-related epilepsy. The pathogenic conversion of arginine 376 to tryptophan alters all of these interactions in the cytoplasmic domain, never reported to be involved in epileptogenic mechanism. Further functional tests will be necessary to strongly relate CHRNA2 mutation with BFIS phenotype. © Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 International League Against Epilepsy.


Specchio N.,Neurology Unit | Marini C.,University of Florence | Terracciano A.,Unit of Molecular Medicine for Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Diseases | Mei D.,University of Florence | And 9 more authors.
Epilepsia | Year: 2011

Purpose: To describe clinical and neuropsychological features of six consecutive sporadic girls with protocadherin 19 (PCDH19) mutations. Methods: Following recent descriptions of PCDH19 mutation in girls with epilepsy, we sequenced this gene in patients with infantile or early childhood seizures onset, either focal or generalized, without an obvious etiology. Key Findings: Mean age at the time of the study was 13.5 ± 11 years. Mean age at seizure onset was 15.5 ± 11 months (range 9-38). All patients experienced clusters of either focal or generalized seizures, precipitated during febrile illness in five patients. Attacks were very frequent at onset, but they became less numerous during follow-up. Ictal electroencephalography (EEG) showed temporal lobe involvement in five patients. Periictal EEG showed focal or multifocal epileptiform and slow abnormalities. Cognitive impairment became obvious after seizure onset in three patients and was associated with autistic features in two. Genetic analysis revealed five new and one known de novo PCDH19 mutation that were missense in four and frameshift in two. Variants are clustered in the large exon 1, corresponding to the extracellular domain of the PCDH19 protein. Significance: Our findings emphasize that de novo PCDH19 mutations are associated with infantile or early childhood onset of febrile or afebrile seizures often occurring in clusters. Cognitive impairment is not constantly present and autistic features are observed in some patients. Most patients have a "stormy" seizure onset, often related to fever; however, seizure severity does not clearly correlate with the degree of cognitive deficit. PCDH19 is likely a major epilepsy gene; phenotypes associated with mutations of this gene range from epileptic encephalopathies to mild epilepsy, yet large series of patients will be necessary to fully delineate phenotypic spectrum. © 2011 International League Against Epilepsy.

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