on Neurobiology of aging
by Saracino D, Clot F, Camuzat A, Anquetil V, Hannequin D, Guyant-Maréchal L, Didic M, Guillot-Noël L, Rinaldi D, Latouche M, Forlani S, Ghassab Y, Coppola C, Di Iorio G, David I, , Le Guern E, Brice A, Le Ber I
Valosin-containing protein (VCP) mutations are rare causes of autosomal dominant frontotemporal dementias associated with Paget's disease of bone, inclusion body myopathy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We analyzed the VCP gene in a cohort of 199 patients with frontotemporal dementia and identified 7 heterozygous mutations in unrelated families, including 3 novel mutations segregating with dementia. This expands the VCP mutation spectrum and suggests that although VCP mutations are rare (3.5% in this study), the gene should be analyzed even in absence of the full syndromic complex. Reporting genetic variants with convincing arguments for pathogenicity is important considering the large amount of data generated by next-generation sequencing and the growing difficulties to interpret rare genetic variants identified in isolated cases.
on Neuromuscular disorders : NMD
by Savarese M, Torella A, Musumeci O, Angelini C, Astrea G, Bello L, Bruno C, Comi GP, Di Fruscio G, Piluso G, Di Iorio G, Ergoli M, Esposito G, Fanin M, Farina O, Fiorillo C, Garofalo A, Giugliano T, Magri F, Minetti C, Moggio M, Passamano L, Pegoraro E, Picillo E, Sampaolo S, Santorelli FM, Semplicini C, Udd B, Toscano A, Politano L, Nigro V
Mutations in the GAA gene may cause a late onset Pompe disease presenting with proximal weakness without the characteristic muscle pathology, and therefore a test for GAA activity is the first tier analysis in all undiagnosed patients with hyperCKemia and/or limb-girdle muscular weakness. By using MotorPlex, a targeted gene panel for next generation sequencing, we analyzed GAA and other muscle disease-genes in a large cohort of undiagnosed patients with suspected inherited skeletal muscle disorders (n = 504). In this cohort, 275 patients presented with limb-girdle phenotype and/or an isolated hyperCKemia. Mutational analysis identified GAA mutations in ten patients. Further seven affected relatives were identified by segregation studies. All the patients carried the common GAA mutation c.-32-13T >G and a second, previously reported mutation. In the subcohort of 275 patients with proximal muscle weakness and/or hyperCKemia, we identified late-onset Pompe disease in 10 patients. The clinical overlap between Pompe disease and LGMDs or other skeletal muscle disorders suggests that GAA and the genes causing a metabolic myopathy should be analyzed in all the gene panels used for testing neuromuscular patients. However, enzymatic tests are essential for the interpretation and validation of genetic results.
on Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry
by Terracciano C, Farina O, Esposito T, Lombardi L, Napolitano F, De Blasiis P, Ciccone G, Todisco V, Tuccillo F, Bernardini S, Di Iorio G, Melone MAB, Sampaolo S
on Multiple sclerosis and related disorders
by Signoriello E, Landi D, Monteleone F, Saccà F, Nicoletti CG, Buttari F, Sica F, Marfia GA, Di Iorio G, Lus G, Centonze D
Fingolimod is a modulator of Central and peripheral sphingosine pathways, which is currently approved for treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In animal models it reduces inflammation, but it is also able to potentiate glutamatergic transmission and synaptic plasticity. We aimed to explore whether Fingolimod is able to modify the clinical expression of new demyelinating lesions with respect to IFNβ-1a in relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) patients suboptimal responders to IFNβ-1a.
on Clinical genetics
by Napolitano F, Di Iorio V, Testa F, Tirozzi A, Reccia MG, Lombardi L, Farina O, Simonelli F, Gianfrancesco F, Di Iorio G, Melone MAB, Esposito T, Sampaolo S
We recently described a complex multisystem syndrome in which mild-moderate myopia segregated as an independent trait. A plethora of genes has been related to sporadic and familial myopia. More recently, in Chinese patients severe myopia (MYP25, OMIM:617238) has been linked to mutations in P4HA2 gene. Seven family members complaining of reduced distance vision especially at dusk underwent complete ophthalmological examination. Whole exome sequencing was performed to identify the gene responsible for myopia in the pedigree. Moderate myopia was diagnosed in the family which was associated to the novel missense variant c.1147A>G p.(Lys383Glu) in the prolyl 4-hydroxylase,alpha-polypeptide 2 (P4HA2) gene, which catalyzes the formation of 4-hydroxyproline residues in the collagen strands. In vitro studies demonstrated P4HA2 mRNA and protein reduced expression level as well as decreased collagen hydroxylation and deposition in mutated fibroblast primary cultures compared to healthy cell lines. This study suggests that P4HA2 mutations may lead to myopic axial elongation of eyeball as a consequence of quantitative and structural alterations of collagen. This is the first confirmatory study which associates a novel dominant missense variant in P4HA2 with myopia in Caucasian patients. Further studies in larger cohorts are advisable to fully clarify genotype-phenotype correlations.
on Journal of cellular physiology
by Pascarella A, Terracciano C, Farina O, Lombardi L, Esposito T, Napolitano F, Franzese G, Panella G, Tuccillo F, la Marca G, Bernardini S, Boffo S, Giordano A, Melone MAB, Di Iorio G, Sampaolo S
Autosomal recessive Pompe disease is a lysosomal disorder caused by mutations of the acid-α-glucosidase (GAA) gene. Deficiency of GAA enzyme leads to glycogen accumulation and autophagy impairment in cardiac and skeletal muscles, but also in lymphocytes. Since an effective therapy is available, a rapid, sensitive and specific test is crucial to early identify affected subjects. Number of lymphocytes containing PAS-positive vacuoles was evaluated on blood films from 72 consecutive adult patients with hyperckemia and/or muscle weakness, 13 genetically confirmed late-onset-Pompe-disease (LOPD) and 13 of their offspring. GAA activity, measured on dried blood spot (DBS) in all patients inversely correlated with number of PAS-positive lymphocytes. More than 4 PAS-positive lymphocytes were found in 11 out of the 72 patients (6 new diagnosis of LOPD, 3 different glycogen storage myopathies, 1 glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, 1 caveolinopathy), in all 13 LOPD patients and in the 13 LOPD offspring. These latter resulted to have all a single GAA mutation but low GAA levels. Immunostaining with the autophagy markers LC3 and p62 confirmed the autophagic nature of lymphocytes vacuoles. ROC curve assessment of PAS-positive lymphocytes disclosed 100% of sensitivity and 94% of specificity in recognizing both compound heterozygous and heterozygous GAA carriers. The other myopathies with more than 4 PAS-positive lymphocytes appeared to be all related to impaired autophagy, which seems to be responsible of PAS-positive vacuolated lymphocytes formation. Quantification of PAS-positive lymphocytes in blood films is useful to identify autophagic vacuolar myopathies and should be routinely used as first level test for Pompe disease. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
on Quantitative imaging in medicine and surgery
by Ugga L, Coppola C, Cocozza S, Saracino D, Caranci F, Tuccillo F, Signoriello E, Casertano S, Di Iorio G, Tedeschi E
Motor neuron disease (MND) is a neurodegenerative disease determining progressive and relentless motor deterioration involving both upper and lower motor neurons (UMN and LMN); several variants at onset are described. Here we describe a case of MND presenting as pure spastic monoparesis in which magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) gave a substantial contribution in confirming the diagnosis and assessing the severity of UMN involvement. An isolated pyramidal syndrome, with complete absence of LMN signs, is a rare phenotype in the context of MND (less than 4% of total cases), especially if restricted to only one limb. Several other elements made this case an unusual presentation of MND: the late age of onset (8th decade), the subacute evolution of symptoms (raising the suspicion of an ischemic or inflammatory, rather than degenerative, etiology), the patient's past medical history (achalasia, erythema nodosum), the increase of inflammatory indices. Conventional MRI showed no focal lesions that could explain the clinical features; therefore, we used advanced MR sequences. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) evaluation evidenced bilateral impairment of corticospinal tract (CST) diffusion metrics, with clear right-left asymmetry, pointing to a neurodegenerative etiology, which clinically appeared less likely at that time. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) showed a significant reduction of NAA/Cho + Cr ratio in the motor cortex (MC), further supporting the hypothesis of UMN degeneration. In conclusion, in this particular case of MND, whose nosographic framing has not been fully defined, advanced MRI techniques with DTI and MRS proved to be of great usefulness in confirming a diffuse UMN involvement, possibly at a more advanced stage than its clinical expression.
on Quantitative imaging in medicine and surgery
by Schettino C, Caranci F, Lus G, Signoriello E, Eoli M, Anghileri E, Pollo B, Melone MAB, Di Iorio G, Finocchiaro G, Ugga L, Tedeschi E
We report the case of a young man with sudden onset of diplopia after an upper respiratory tract infection. Based on the first radiological findings acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis, a variant of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, was suspected and treatment with high dose intravenous dexamethasone was started but it was stopped for intolerance. The patient clinically worsened, developing gait instability, ataxia and ophthalmoplegia; brain MRI performed 20 days later showed severe progression of the disease with subependymal dissemination. After brain biopsy of the right temporal lesion the histological diagnosis was glioblastoma. These findings suggest that MRI features of acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis may dissimulate the diagnosis of diffuse glioma/glioblastoma. This case underscores the importance of considering diffuse glioma in the differential diagnosis of atypical signs and symptoms of acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis and underlines the relevant role of integrating neuroradiologic findings with neuropathology.
on Journal of cellular physiology
by Squillaro T, Schettino C, Sampaolo S, Galderisi U, Di Iorio G, Giordano A, Melone MAB
Aging is a primary risk factor for both neurodegenerative disorders (NDs) and tumors such as adult-onset brain tumors. Since NDs and tumors are severe, disabling, progressive and often incurable conditions, they represent a pressing problem in terms of human suffering and economic costs to the healthcare systems. The current challenge for physicians and researchers is to develop new therapeutic strategies in both areas to improve the patients' quality of life. In addition to genetics and environmental stressors, the increase in cellular oxidative stress as one of the potential common etiologies has been reported for both disorders. Recently, the scientific community has focused on the beneficial effects of dietary antioxidant classes, known as nutraceuticals, such as carotenoids, vitamins, and polyphenols. Among these compounds, polyphenols are considered to be one of the most bioactive agents in neurodegeneration and tumor prevention. Despite the beneficial activity of polyphenols, their poor bioavailability and inefficient delivery systems are the main factors limiting their use in medicine and functional food. The development of polymeric nanoparticle-based delivery systems able to encapsulate and preserve polyphenolic compounds may represent a promising tool to enhance their stability, solubility, and cell membrane permeation. In the present review we provide an overview of the main polyphenolic compounds used for ND and brain tumor prevention and treatment that explores their mechanisms of action, recent clinical findings and principal factors limiting their application in medicine.
by Sampaolo S, Liguori G, Vittoria A, Napolitano F, Lombardi L, Figols J, Melone MAB, Esposito T, Di Iorio G
The superior sagittal sinus (SSS) of the mammalian brain is a pain-sensitive intracranial vessel thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of migraine headaches. Here, we aimed to investigate the presence and the potential co-localization of some neurotransmitters in the human SSS. Immunohistochemical and double-labeling immunofluorescence analyses were applied to paraformaldehyde-fixed, paraffin-embedded, coronal sections of the SSS. Protein extraction and Western blotting technique were performed on the same material to confirm the morphological data. Our results showed nerve fibers clustered mainly in large bundles tracking parallel to the longitudinal axis of the sinus, close in proximity to the vascular endothelium. Smaller fascicles of fibers encircled the vascular lumen in a spiral fashion, extending through the subendothelial connective tissue. Isolated nerve fibers were observed around the openings of bridging veins in the sinus or around small vessels extending into the perisinusal dura. The neurotransmitters calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP), substance P (SP), neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), and neuropeptide Y (NPY) were found in parietal nerve structures, distributed all along the length of the SSS. Overall, CGRP- and TH-containing nerve fibers were the most abundant. Neurotransmitters co-localized in the same fibers in the following pairs: CGRP/SP, CGRP/NOS, CGRP/VIP, and TH/NPY. Western blotting analysis confirmed the presence of such neurosubstances in the SSS wall. Overall our data provide the first evidence of the presence and co-localization of critical neurotransmitters in the SSS of the human brain, thus contributing to a better understanding of the sinus functional role.