52 research outputs found

    Non-neural phenotype of spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy: Results from a large cohort of Italian patients

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    Objective: To carry out a deep characterisation of the main androgen-responsive tissues involved in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA). Methods: 73 consecutive Italian patients underwent a full clinical protocol including biochemical and hormonal analyses, genitourinary examination, bone metabolism and densitometry, cardiological evaluation and muscle pathology. Results: Creatine kinase levels were slightly to markedly elevated in almost all cases (68 of the 73; 94%). 30 (41%) patients had fasting glucose above the reference limit, and many patients had total cholesterol (40; 54.7%), low-density lipoproteins cholesterol (29; 39.7%) and triglyceride (35; 48%) levels above the recommended values. Although testosterone, luteinising hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone values were generally normal, in one-third of cases we calculated an increased Androgen Sensitivity Index reflecting the presence of androgen resistance in these patients. According to the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), 7/70 (10%) patients reported severe lower urinal tract symptoms (IPSS score >19), and 21/73 (30%) patients were moderately symptomatic (IPSS score from 8 to 19). In addition, 3 patients were carriers of an indwelling bladder catheter. Videourodynamic evaluation indicated that 4 of the 7 patients reporting severe urinary symptoms had an overt prostate-unrelated bladder outlet obstruction. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan data were consistent with low bone mass in 25/61 (41%) patients. Low bone mass was more frequent at the femoral than at the lumbar level. Skeletal muscle biopsy was carried out in 20 patients and myogenic changes in addition to the neurogenic atrophy were mostly observed. Conclusions: Our study provides evidence of a wide non-neural clinical phenotype in SBMA, suggesting the need for comprehensive multidisciplinary protocols for these patients. \ua9 2016 Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited

    Effect of RNS60 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a phase II multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

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    Background and purpose Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease with limited treatment options. RNS60 is an immunomodulatory and neuroprotective investigational product that has shown efficacy in animal models of ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. Its administration has been safe and well tolerated in ALS subjects in previous early phase trials. Methods This was a phase II, multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial. Participants diagnosed with definite, probable or probable laboratory-supported ALS were assigned to receive RNS60 or placebo administered for 24 weeks intravenously (375 ml) once a week and via nebulization (4 ml/day) on non-infusion days, followed by an additional 24 weeks off-treatment. The primary objective was to measure the effects of RNS60 treatment on selected biomarkers of inflammation and neurodegeneration in peripheral blood. Secondary objectives were to measure the effect of RNS60 on functional impairment (ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised), a measure of self-sufficiency, respiratory function (forced vital capacity, FVC), quality of life (ALS Assessment Questionnaire-40, ALSAQ-40) and survival. Tolerability and safety were assessed. Results Seventy-four participants were assigned to RNS60 and 73 to placebo. Assessed biomarkers did not differ between arms. The mean rate of decline in FVC and the eating and drinking domain of ALSAQ-40 was slower in the RNS60 arm (FVC, difference 0.41 per week, standard error 0.16, p = 0.0101; ALSAQ-40, difference -0.19 per week, standard error 0.10, p = 0.0319). Adverse events were similar in the two arms. In a post hoc analysis, neurofilament light chain increased over time in bulbar onset placebo participants whilst remaining stable in those treated with RNS60. Conclusions The positive effects of RNS60 on selected measures of respiratory and bulbar function warrant further investigation

    Genome-wide Analyses Identify KIF5A as a Novel ALS Gene

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    To identify novel genes associated with ALS, we undertook two lines of investigation. We carried out a genome-wide association study comparing 20,806 ALS cases and 59,804 controls. Independently, we performed a rare variant burden analysis comparing 1,138 index familial ALS cases and 19,494 controls. Through both approaches, we identified kinesin family member 5A (KIF5A) as a novel gene associated with ALS. Interestingly, mutations predominantly in the N-terminal motor domain of KIF5A are causative for two neurodegenerative diseases: hereditary spastic paraplegia (SPG10) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 (CMT2). In contrast, ALS-associated mutations are primarily located at the C-terminal cargo-binding tail domain and patients harboring loss-of-function mutations displayed an extended survival relative to typical ALS cases. Taken together, these results broaden the phenotype spectrum resulting from mutations in KIF5A and strengthen the role of cytoskeletal defects in the pathogenesis of ALS.Peer reviewe

    Association of Variants in the SPTLC1 Gene With Juvenile Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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    Importance: Juvenile amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare form of ALS characterized by age of symptom onset less than 25 years and a variable presentation.Objective: To identify the genetic variants associated with juvenile ALS.Design, Setting, and Participants: In this multicenter family-based genetic study, trio whole-exome sequencing was performed to identify the disease-associated gene in a case series of unrelated patients diagnosed with juvenile ALS and severe growth retardation. The patients and their family members were enrolled at academic hospitals and a government research facility between March 1, 2016, and March 13, 2020, and were observed until October 1, 2020. Whole-exome sequencing was also performed in a series of patients with juvenile ALS. A total of 66 patients with juvenile ALS and 6258 adult patients with ALS participated in the study. Patients were selected for the study based on their diagnosis, and all eligible participants were enrolled in the study. None of the participants had a family history of neurological disorders, suggesting de novo variants as the underlying genetic mechanism.Main Outcomes and Measures: De novo variants present only in the index case and not in unaffected family members.Results: Trio whole-exome sequencing was performed in 3 patients diagnosed with juvenile ALS and their parents. An additional 63 patients with juvenile ALS and 6258 adult patients with ALS were subsequently screened for variants in the SPTLC1 gene. De novo variants in SPTLC1 (p.Ala20Ser in 2 patients and p.Ser331Tyr in 1 patient) were identified in 3 unrelated patients diagnosed with juvenile ALS and failure to thrive. A fourth variant (p.Leu39del) was identified in a patient with juvenile ALS where parental DNA was unavailable. Variants in this gene have been previously shown to be associated with autosomal-dominant hereditary sensory autonomic neuropathy, type 1A, by disrupting an essential enzyme complex in the sphingolipid synthesis pathway.Conclusions and Relevance: These data broaden the phenotype associated with SPTLC1 and suggest that patients presenting with juvenile ALS should be screened for variants in this gene.</p

    Neurofilaments in motor neuron disorders: towards promising diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers

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    Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are etiologically and biologically heterogeneous diseases. The pathobiology of motor neuron degeneration is still largely unknown, and no effective therapy is available. Heterogeneity and lack of specific disease biomarkers have been appointed as leading reasons for past clinical trial failure, and biomarker discovery is pivotal in today's MND research agenda.In the last decade, neurofilaments (NFs) have emerged as promising biomarkers for the clinical assessment of neurodegeneration. NFs are scaffolding proteins with predominant structural functions contributing to the axonal cytoskeleton of myelinated axons. NFs are released in CSF and peripheral blood as a consequence of axonal degeneration, irrespective of the primary causal event. Due to the current availability of highly-sensitive automated technologies capable of precisely quantify proteins in biofluids in the femtomolar range, it is now possible to reliably measure NFs not only in CSF but also in blood.In this review, we will discuss how NFs are impacting research and clinical management in ALS and other MNDs. Besides contributing to the diagnosis at early stages by differentiating between MNDs with different clinical evolution and severity, NFs may provide a useful tool for the early enrolment of patients in clinical trials. Due to their stability across the disease, NFs convey prognostic information and, on a larger scale, help to stratify patients in homogenous groups. Shortcomings of NFs assessment in biofluids will also be discussed according to the available literature in the attempt to predict the most appropriate use of the biomarker in the MND clinic

    Composition and biological activity of essential oils from Artemisia roxburghiana Besser and Elsholtzia fruticosa Rehder cultivated in Italy

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    Artemisia roxburghiana Besser and Elsholtzia fruticosa Rehder plants were evaluated as innovative crops for the production of essential oil with valuable biological activity. A high essential oil content resulted for both species, that is 0.31% for A. roxburghiana and 0.46% for E. fruticosa. The composition of essential oil of A. roxburghiana is characterized by higher amount of cis-thujone, 1-8 cineole and camphor, while E. fruticosa oil is rich in 1,8-cineole and -terpinene. The biocidal activities of both oils were evaluated against some pathogenic Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial strains and as natural insecticides against aphids. E. fruticosa oil showed higher microbiologic activity compared to A. roxburghiana one, particularly against Staphylocosus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, Salmonella sp. and Escherichia coli. Both plant species revealed a high aphicidal activity against the polyphagous pest Myzus persicae, assessed by nymph mortality and fecundity reduction, and their efficacy resulted to be comparable to that of azadyrachtin. Due to the high content and the biocidal activity of these oils, the two investigated species represent a possible innovative crop for the production of essential oils to be employed in the food and the agro-industry

    CSF Heavy Neurofilament May Discriminate and Predict Motor Neuron Diseases with Upper Motor Neuron Involvement

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    Objective: To assess whether phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (pNfH) can discriminate different upper motor neuron (UMN) syndromes, namely, ALS, UMN-predominant ALS, primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) and hereditary spastic paraparesis (hSP) and to test the prognostic value of pNfH in UMN diseases. Methods: CSF and serum pNfH were measured in 143 patients presenting with signs of UMN and later diagnosed with classic/bulbar ALS, UMNp-ALS, hSP, and PLS. Between-group comparisons were drawn by ANOVA and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was performed. The prognostic value of pNfH was tested by the Cox regression model. Results: ALS and UMNp-ALS patients had higher CSF pNfH compared to PLS and hSP (p p = 0.01) and presence of multifocal fasciculations (HR 15.69, p = 0.02) were independent prognostic factors. Conclusions: CSF pNfH is significantly higher in classic and UMNp-ALS compared to UMN diseases with a better prognosis such as PLS and hSP. Its prognostic role is confirmed in classic and bulbar ALS, but not among UMNp, where clinical signs remained the only independent prognostic factors

    Italian version of the Rasch-Built Overall Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Disability Scale (ROADS): validation and longitudinal performance

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    Objective To validate an Italian version of the Rasch-Built Overall ALS Disability Scale (ROADS) in a broad population of patients and assess its longitudinal performance over time. Methods 270 ALS patients referring to the Motor Neuron Disease Clinic of the University of Padova and Modena (Italy) accepted to compile the Italian version of the ROADS and results were correlated with the ALSFRSr and ALSAQ-40 scores, FVC values, and creatinine or albumin blood levels. To verify test-retest reliability, patients were asked to fill in a second copy of the scale within 5-7 days. Thirty-nine patients compiled a further copy of questionnaire during the follow up visit (after 133 days on average) which allowed us a longitudinal assessment of the scale. Results We found a good external construct validity between ROADS and either ALSFRS-R (correlation coefficient = 0.85) or ALSAQ-40 (correlation coefficient = - 0.84). Test-retest reliability was excellent with a concordance-correlation coefficient of 0.93. Yet, we observed a significant correlation between changes over time of the ROADS normalised sum score (- 2.18 point loss per month) and those of both the ALSFRS-R (positive correlation; Rho = 0.64, p <= 0.0001) or the ALSAQ-40 (negative correlation; Rho = - 0.60, p = 0.014). Conclusions The Italian version of ROADS proved to be a reliable marker to monitor overall disability in ALS patients. Further studies are necessary to assess its longitudinal performance

    Evaluation of peripherin in biofluids of patients with motor neuron diseases

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    Peripherin (PRPH), a type III intermediate filament, assembles with neurofilaments in neurons of the peripheral nervous system, including lower motor neurons (LMN). To evaluate the role of PRPH in LMN degeneration, we assessed PRPH and neurofilament light chain (NfL) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum of 91 patients with motor neuron diseases (MND) and 69 controls. Overall, we found PRPH to be more concentrated in serum than in CSF. Serum PRPH resulted significantly increased in MND patients but it was unrelated to CSF-NfL or survival in the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) subset. PRPH might represent a marker of LMN involvement
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