Unit of Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Disorders

Rome, Italy

Unit of Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Disorders

Rome, Italy
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Martinelli D.,Bambino Gesu Childrens Hospital | Catteruccia M.,Unit of Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Disorders | Piemonte F.,Unit of Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Disorders | Pastore A.,Bambino Gesu Childrens Hospital | And 13 more authors.
Molecular Genetics and Metabolism | Year: 2012

Background: Genetically defined Leigh syndrome is a rare, fatal inherited neurodegenerative disorder that predominantly affects children. No treatment is available. EPI-743 is a novel small molecule developed for the treatment of Leigh syndrome and other inherited mitochondrial diseases. In compassionate use cases and in an FDA Expanded Access protocol, children with Leigh syndrome treated with EPI-743 demonstrated objective signs of neurologic and neuromuscular improvement. To confirm these initial findings, a phase 2A open label trial of EPI-743 for children with genetically-confirmed Leigh syndrome was conducted and herein we report the results. Methods: A single arm clinical trial was performed in children with genetically defined Leigh syndrome. Subjects were treated for 6. months with EPI-743 three times daily and all were eligible for a treatment extension phase. The primary objective of the trial was to arrest disease progression as assessed by neuromuscular and quality of life metrics. Results were compared to the reported natural history of the disease. Results: Ten consecutive children, ages 1-13. years, were enrolled; they possessed seven different genetic defects. All children exhibited reversal of disease progression regardless of genetic determinant or disease severity. The primary endpoints-Newcastle Pediatric Mitochondrial Disease Scale, the Gross Motor Function Measure, and PedsQL Neuromuscular Module-demonstrated statistically significant improvement (p<0.05). In addition, all children had an improvement of one class on the Movement Disorder-Childhood Rating Scale. No significant drug-related adverse events were recorded. Conclusions: In comparison to the natural history of Leigh syndrome, EPI-743 improves clinical outcomes in children with genetically confirmed Leigh syndrome. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Compagnucci C.,Unit of Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Disorders | Barresi S.,Unit of Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Disorders | Petrini S.,Research Laboratories | Billuart P.,University of Paris Descartes | And 5 more authors.
Stem Cells Translational Medicine | Year: 2016

Rho-GTPases have relevant functions in various aspects of neuronal development, such as differentiation, migration, and synaptogenesis. Loss of function of the oligophrenin-1 gene (OPHN1) causes X-linked intellectual disability with cerebellar hypoplasia and leads to hyperactivation of the rho kinase (ROCK) pathway. ROCK mainly acts through phosphorylation of the myosin phosphatise targeting subunit 1, triggering actin-myosin contractility. We show that during in vitro neurogenesis, ROCK activity decreases from day 10 until terminal differentiation, whereas in OPHN1-deficient human induced pluripotent stem cells (h-iPSCs), the levels of ROCK are elevated throughout differentiation. ROCK inhibition favors neuronal-like appearance of h-iPSCs, in parallel with transcriptional up regulation of nuclear receptor NR4A1, which is known to induce neurite outgrowth. This study analyzed the morphological, biochemical, and functional features of OPHN1-deficient h-iPSCs and their rescue by treatment with the ROCK inhibitor fasudil, shedding light on the relevance of the ROCK pathway during neuronal differentiation and providing a neuronal model for human OPHN1 syndrome and its treatment. © AlphaMed Press.

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