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2.  Characterization of CSF2RA mutation related juvenile pulmonary alveolar proteinosis 
Juvenile pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) due to CSF2RA mutations is a rare disorder with only a few cases described worldwide.
We identified nine children with severe diffuse interstitial lung disease due to CSF2RA mutations. Clinical course, diagnostic findings and treatment were evaluated and correlated to the genotype. Functional impairment of the intracellular JAK/pStat5 signaling pathway was assessed using flow-cytometry of peripheral mononuclear cells (PBMC) and granulocytes.
We identified six individuals with homozygous missense/nonsense/frameshift mutations and three individuals homozygous for a deletion of the complete CSF2RA gene locus. Overall, four novel mutations (c.1125 + 1G > A, duplication exon 8, deletion exons 2–13, Xp22.3/Yp11.3) were found. Reduced STAT5 phosphorylation in PBMC and granulocytes was seen in all cases examined (n = 6). Pulmonary symptoms varied from respiratory distress to clinically silent. Early disease onset was associated with a more severe clinical phenotype (p = 0.0092). No association was seen between severity of phenotype at presentation and future clinical course or extent of genetic damage. The clinical course was favorable in all subjects undergoing whole lung lavage (WLL) treatment.
Our cohort broadens the spectrum of knowledge about the clinical variability and genotype-phenotype correlations of juvenile PAP, and illustrates the favorable outcome of WLL treatment in severely affected patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13023-014-0171-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4254258  PMID: 25425184
3.  The NOD2 p.Leu1007fsX1008 Mutation (rs2066847) Is a Stronger Predictor of the Clinical Course of Crohn's Disease than the FOXO3A Intron Variant rs12212067 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e108503.
Very recently, a sub-analysis of genome-wide association scans revealed that the non-coding single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs12212067 in the FOXO3A gene is associated with a milder course of Crohn's disease (CD) (Cell 2013;155:57–69). The aim of our study was to evaluate the clinical value of the SNP rs12212067 in predicting the severity of CD by correlating CD patient genotype status with the most relevant complications of CD such as stenoses, fistulas, and CD-related surgery.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We genotyped 550 CD patients for rs12212067 (FOXO3A) and the three common CD-associated NOD2 mutations rs2066844, rs2066847, and rs2066847 and performed genotype-phenotype analyses.
No significant phenotypic differences were found between the wild-type genotype TT of the FOXO3A SNP rs12212067 and the minor genotypes TG and GG independently from NOD2 variants. The allele frequency of the minor G allele was 12.7%. Age at diagnosis, disease duration, body mass index, surgery rate, stenoses, fistula, need for immunosuppressive therapy, and disease course were not significantly different. In contrast, the NOD2 mutant p.Leu1007fsX1008 (rs2066847) was highly associated with penetrating CD (p = 0.01), the development of fistulas (p = 0.01) and stenoses (p = 0.01), and ileal disease localization (p = 0.03). Importantly, the NOD2 SNP rs2066847 was a strong separator between an aggressive and a mild course of CD (p = 2.99×10−5), while the FOXO3A SNP rs12212067 did not separate between mild and aggressive CD behavior in our cohort (p = 0.35). 96.2% of the homozygous NOD2 p.Leu1007fsX1008 carriers had an aggressive disease behavior compared to 69.3% of the patients with the NOD2 wild-type genotype (p = 0.007).
In clinical practice, the NOD2 variant p.Leu1007fsX1008 (rs2066847), in particular in homozygous form, is a much stronger marker for a severe clinical phenotype than the FOXO3A rs12212067 SNP for a mild disease course on an individual patient level despite its important impact on the inflammatory response of monocytes.
PMCID: PMC4217717  PMID: 25365249
4.  MRP8 and MRP14, phagocyte-specific danger signals, are sensitive biomarkers of disease activity in cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2011;70(12):2075-2081.
To assess the sensitivity of the phagocyte-specific molecules myeloid-related protein (MRP) 8 and MRP14 (calprotectin) for monitoring disease activity during anti-interleukin (IL)-1 therapies in patients with cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS), including familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome (FCAS), Muckle–Wells syndrome (MWS) and chronic infantile neurological, cutaneous and articular (CINCA) syndrome.
A total of 39 patients with CAPS, including 5 FCAS, 16 MWS and 18 CINCA syndrome, received anti-IL-1 therapy. All patients with CINCA and 12 with MWS were treated with IL-1Ra (anakinra), 14 patients with MWS with a monoclonal anti-IL-1β antibody (canakinumab) and patients with FCAS received IL-1 Trap (rilonacept). During serial clinical visits serum amyloid A, C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and MRP8/14 serum levels were analysed.
Untreated patients with CAPS had significantly elevated MRP8/14 values. In response to treatment there was a significant reduction of MRP8/14 levels in CINCA (2,830 (range 690 – 8,480) ng/ml to 670 ng/ml, p < 0.001) and MWS patients (anakinra-treated: 4,390 (1790 – 9780) ng/ml to 1,315 ng/ml (p = 0.003); canakinumab-treated: 3,000 (500 – 13060) ng/ml to 630 ng/ml (p=0.001)). However, in many patients with CAPS, MRP8/14 levels were still elevated compared with healthy individuals, reflecting residual disease activity. However, canakinumab-treated patients with CAPS showed normalised MRP8/14 levels, suggesting control of phagocyte activation.
Monitoring of cellular systems involved in inflammatory cascades of the innate immunity was successfully applied to the IL-1-driven CAPS diseases. This is the first study illustrating different states of subclinical disease activity in all types of CAPS depending on the type of anti-IL-1 therapy. MRP8/14 is a sensitive biomarker for monitoring disease activity, status of inflammation and response to IL-1 blockade in patients with CAPS.
PMCID: PMC4174360  PMID: 21908452
5.  MANBA, CXCR5, SOX8, RPS6KB1 and ZBTB46 are genetic risk loci for multiple sclerosis 
Brain  2013;136(6):1778-1782.
A recent genome-wide association study reported five loci for which there was strong, but sub-genome-wide significant evidence for association with multiple sclerosis risk. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of these potential risk loci in a large and independent data set of ∼20 000 subjects. We tested five single nucleotide polymorphisms rs228614 (MANBA), rs630923 (CXCR5), rs2744148 (SOX8), rs180515 (RPS6KB1), and rs6062314 (ZBTB46) for association with multiple sclerosis risk in a total of 8499 cases with multiple sclerosis, 8765 unrelated control subjects and 958 trios of European descent. In addition, we assessed the overall evidence for association by combining these newly generated data with the results from the original genome-wide association study by meta-analysis. All five tested single nucleotide polymorphisms showed consistent and statistically significant evidence for association with multiple sclerosis in our validation data sets (rs228614: odds ratio = 0.91, P = 2.4 × 10−6; rs630923: odds ratio = 0.89, P = 1.2 × 10−4; rs2744148: odds ratio = 1.14, P = 1.8 × 10−6; rs180515: odds ratio = 1.12, P = 5.2 × 10−7; rs6062314: odds ratio = 0.90, P = 4.3 × 10−3). Combining our data with results from the previous genome-wide association study by meta-analysis, the evidence for association was strengthened further, surpassing the threshold for genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) in each case. Our study provides compelling evidence that these five loci are genuine multiple sclerosis susceptibility loci. These results may eventually lead to a better understanding of the underlying disease pathophysiology.
PMCID: PMC3673463  PMID: 23739915
multiple sclerosis; complex genetics; genetic risk; immunogenetics; genetic association
6.  Involvement of the Same TNFR1 Residue in Mendelian and Multifactorial Inflammatory Disorders 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69757.
TNFRSF1A is involved in an autosomal dominant autoinflammatory disorder called TNFR-associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS). Most TNFRSF1A mutations are missense changes and, apart from those affecting conserved cysteines, their deleterious effect remains often questionable. This is especially true for the frequent R92Q mutation, which might not be responsible for TRAPS per se but represents a susceptibility factor to multifactorial inflammatory disorders. This study investigates TRAPS pathophysiology in a family exceptional by its size (13 members) and compares the consequences of several mutations affecting arginine 92.
TNFRSF1A screening was performed by PCR-sequencing. Comparison of the 3-dimensional structure and electrostatic properties of wild-type and mutated TNFR1 proteins was performed by in silico homology modeling. TNFR1 expression was assessed by FACS analysis, western blotting and ELISA in lysates and supernatants of HEK293T cells transiently expressing wild-type and mutated TNFR1.
A TNFRSF1A heterozygous missense mutation, R92W (c.361C>T), was shown to perfectly segregate with typical TRAPS manifestations within the family investigated (p<5.10−4). It was associated with very high disease penetrance (0.9). Prediction of its impact on the protein structure revealed local conformational changes and alterations of the receptor electrostatic properties. R92W also impairs the TNFR1 expression at the cell surface and the levels of soluble receptor. Similar results were obtained with R92P, another mutation previously identified in a very small familial form with incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity. In contrast, TNFR1-R92Q behaves like the wild-type receptor.
These data demonstrate the pathogenicity of a mutation affecting arginine 92, a residue whose involvement in inflammatory disorders is deeply debated. Combined with previous reports on arginine 92 mutations, this study discloses an unusual situation in which different amino acid substitutions at the same position in the protein are associated with a clinical spectrum bridging Mendelian to multifactorial conditions.
PMCID: PMC3722142  PMID: 23894535
7.  Treatment of Muckle-Wells syndrome: analysis of two IL-1-blocking regimens 
Muckle-Wells syndrome (MWS) is an autoinflammatory disease characterized by excessive interleukin-1 (IL-1) release, resulting in recurrent fevers, sensorineural hearing loss, and amyloidosis. IL-1 inhibition with anakinra, an IL-1 receptor antagonist, improves clinical symptoms and inflammatory markers. Subclinical disease activity is commonly observed. Canakinumab, a fully human IgG1 anti-IL-1β monoclonal antibody, can abolish excess IL-1β. The study aim was to analyze the efficacy and safety of these two anti-IL-1 therapies.
Two cohorts of patients with severe MWS and confirmed NLRP3 mutation were treated with anakinra and/or canakinumab. Clinical and laboratory features including ESR, CRP, SAA, and the neutrophil marker S100A12 were determined serially. Disease activity was captured by MWS disease activity scores (MWS-DAS). Remission was defined as MWS-DAS ≤5 plus normal CRP and SAA. Treatment efficacy and safety were analyzed.
The study included 12 anakinra- and 14 canakinumab-treated patients; the median age was 33.5 years (3.0 years to 72.0 years); 57% were female patients. Both treatment regimens led to a significant reduction of clinical disease activity and inflammatory markers. At last follow-up, 75% of anakinra-treated and 93% of canakinumab-treated patients achieved remission. During follow-up, S100A12 levels mirrored recurrence of disease activity. Both treatment regimens had favorable safety profiles.
IL-1 blockade is an effective and safe treatment in MWS patients. MWS-DAS in combination with MWS inflammatory markers provides an excellent monitoring tool set. Canakinumab led to a sustained control of disease activity even after secondary failure of anakinra therapy. S100A12 may be a sensitive marker to detect subclinical disease activity.
PMCID: PMC4060562  PMID: 23718630
NLRP3; CIAS1; mutation; Muckle-Wells syndrome; autoinflammatory fever syndromes; interleukin-1 inhibition; anakinra; canakinumab; S100A12
8.  A Recessive Mutation Resulting in a Disabling Amino Acid Substitution (T194R) in the LHX3 Homeodomain Causes Combined Pituitary Hormone Deficiency 
Recessive mutations in the LHX3 ho-meodomain transcription factor gene are associated with developmental disorders affecting the pituitary and nervous system. We describe pediatric patients with combined pituitary hormone deficiency (CPHD) who harbor a novel mutation in LHX3.
Two female siblings from related parents were examined. Both patients had neonatal complications. The index patient had CPHD featuring deficiencies of GH, LH, FSH, PRL, and TSH, with later onset of ACTH deficiency. She also had a hypoplastic anterior pituitary, respiratory distress, hearing impairment, and limited neck rotation. The LHX3 gene was sequenced and the biochemical properties of the predicted altered proteins were characterized.
A novel homozygous mutation predicted to change amino acid 194 from threonine to arginine (T194R) was detected in both patients. This amino acid is conserved in the DNA-binding homeodomain. Computer modeling predicted that the T194R change would alter the homeodomain structure. The T194R protein did not bind tested LHX3 DNA recognition sites and did not activate the α-glycoprotein and PRL target genes.
The T194R mutation affects a critical residue in the LHX3 protein. This study extends our understanding of the phenotypic features, molecular mechanism, and developmental course associated with mutations in the LHX3 gene.
PMCID: PMC3355643  PMID: 22286346
Growth; Transcription; LIM; Development; Pediatric patients
9.  Crigler-Najjar syndrome type 2: Novel UGT1A1 mutation 
Indian Journal of Human Genetics  2012;18(2):233-234.
Crigler-Najjar syndrome type 2 is a rare cause for persistent unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia, inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Even though it is compatible with normal life span, in the absence of prompt suspicion and intensive management it can prove fatal not only in the neonatal period but also during adult life. Here, we describe a case with a novel homozygous UGT1A1 p.Pro176Leu mutation.
PMCID: PMC3491300  PMID: 23162302
Arias syndrome; Crigler-Najjar syndrome type 2; kernicterus; UGT1A1; unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia
10.  NLRP3 E311K mutation in a large family with Muckle-Wells syndrome - description of a heterogeneous phenotype and response to treatment 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2011;13(6):R196.
Muckle-Wells syndrome (MWS) is an inherited autoinflammatory disease characterized by fever, rash, arthralgia, conjunctivitis, sensorineural deafness and potentially life-threatening amyloidosis. The NLRP3/CIAS1 E311K mutation caused a heterogeneous phenotype of MWS in a large family. This study analyzes the clinical spectrum, patterns of inflammatory parameters and reports on response to treatment.
A total of 42 patients and family members were screened for the presence of the NLRP3 mutation. Clinical symptoms were reviewed in all family members. Classical (erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, C-reactive protein (CRP)) and novel MWS inflammatory markers (serum amyloid A (SAA), cytokines, cytokine receptor levels) were determined. Patients were treated with the IL-1 inhibitors Anakinra or Canakinumab.
All 13 clinically affected patients were heterozygous carriers of the amino acid substitution p.Glu311Lys/E311K encoded by exon 3 of the NLRP3 gene, but none of the healthy family members. Disease manifestations varied widely. Except for one child, all carriers suffered from hearing loss and severe fatigue. TNF-α, IL-6, TNF-RI, and TNF-RII levels as well as SAA were elevated in three, two, one, six and ten patients, respectively. Both clinical and laboratory parameters responded quickly and sustainedly to treatment with Anakinra or Canakinumab.
The NLRP3 E311K mutation is associated with a heterogeneous clinical spectrum, which may expand the view on MWS presentation. The leading symptom was hearing loss. Pericarditis, a rare but severe clinical feature of MWS, was diagnosed in three patients. One patient had a severe course, which led to renal failure secondary to amyloidosis. IL-1 inhibition leads to rapid and sustained improvement of symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3334646  PMID: 22146561
11.  Long-term follow-up and treatment of congenital alveolar proteinosis 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:72.
Clinical presentation, diagnosis, management and outcome of molecularly defined congenital pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) due to mutations in the GM-CSF receptor are not well known.
Case presentation
A 2 1/2 years old girl was diagnosed as having alveolar proteinosis. Whole lung lavages were performed with a new catheter balloon technique, feasible in small sized airways. Because of some interstitial inflammation in the lung biopsy and to further improve the condition, empirical therapy with systemic steroids and azathioprin, and inhaled and subcutaneous GMCSF, were used. Based on clinical measures, total protein and lipid recovered by whole lung lavages, all these treatments were without benefit. Conversely, severe respiratory viral infections and an invasive aspergillosis with aspergilloma formation occurred. Recently the novel homozygous stop mutation p.Ser25X of the GMCSF receptor alpha chain was identified in the patient. This mutation leads to a lack of functional GMCSF receptor and a reduced response to GMCSF stimulation of CD11b expression of mononuclear cells of the patient. Subsequently a very intense treatment with monthly lavages was initiated, resulting for the first time in complete resolution of partial respiratory insufficiency and a significant improvement of the overall somato-psychosocial condition of the child.
The long term management from early childhood into young adolescence of severe alveolar proteinosis due to GMCSF receptor deficiency requires a dedicated specialized team to perform technically demanding whole lung lavages and cope with complications.
PMCID: PMC3175167  PMID: 21849033
pulmonary alveolar proteinosis; therapeutic lung lavage; GM-CSF-R alpha; genetic defect; stop codon
12.  CEACAM6 Gene Variants in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e19319.
The carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 6 (CEACAM6) acts as a receptor for adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC) and its ileal expression is increased in patients with Crohn's disease (CD). Given its contribution to the pathogenesis of CD, we aimed to investigate the role of genetic variants in the CEACAM6 region in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
In this study, a total of 2,683 genomic DNA samples (including DNA from 858 CD patients, 475 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), and 1,350 healthy, unrelated controls) was analyzed for eight CEACAM6 SNPs (rs10415946, rs1805223 = p.Pro42Pro, rs4803507, rs4803508, rs11548735 = p.Gly239Val, rs7246116 = pHis260His, rs2701, rs10416839). In addition, a detailed haplotype analysis and genotype-phenotype analysis were performed. Overall, our genotype analysis did not reveal any significant association of the investigated CEACAM6 SNPs and haplotypes with CD or UC susceptibility, although certain CEACAM6 SNPs modulated CEACAM6 expression in intestinal epithelial cell lines. Despite its function as receptor of AIEC in ileal CD, we found no association of the CEACAM6 SNPs with ileal or ileocolonic CD. Moreover, there was no evidence of epistasis between the analyzed CEACAM6 variants and the main CD-associated NOD2, IL23R and ATG16L1 variants.
This study represents the first detailed analysis of CEACAM6 variants in IBD patients. Despite its important role in bacterial attachment in ileal CD, we could not demonstrate a role for CEACAM6 variants in IBD susceptibility or regarding an ileal CD phenotype. Further functional studies are required to analyze if these gene variants modulate ileal bacterial attachment.
PMCID: PMC3084820  PMID: 21559399
13.  GCK-MODY (MODY 2) Caused by a Novel p.Phe330Ser Mutation 
ISRN Pediatrics  2011;2011:676549.
Maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY) is a monogenic form of diabetes inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. The second most common cause is GCK-MODY due to heterozygous mutations in the GCK gene which impair the glucokinase function through different mechanisms such as enzymatic activity, protein stability, and increased interaction with its receptor. The enzyme normally acts as a glucose sensor in the pancreatic beta cell and regulates insulin secretion. We report here a three-generation nonobese family diagnosed with diabetes. All affected family members presented with mild hyperglycemia and mostly slightly elevated hemoglobin A1c values. Genetic testing revealed a novel heterozygous T → C exchange in exon 8 of the GCK gene which resulted in a phenylalanine330 TTC → serine (TCC)/p.Phe330Ser/F330S substitution.
PMCID: PMC3263572  PMID: 22389783
14.  The NOD2 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms rs2066843 and rs2076756 Are Novel and Common Crohn's Disease Susceptibility Gene Variants 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e14466.
The aims were to analyze two novel NOD2 variants (rs2066843 and rs2076756) in a large cohort of patients with inflammatory bowel disease and to elucidate phenotypic consequences.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Genomic DNA from 2700 Caucasians including 812 patients with Crohn's disease (CD), 442 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), and 1446 healthy controls was analyzed for the NOD2 SNPs rs2066843 and rs2076756 and the three main CD-associated NOD2 variants p.Arg702Trp (rs2066844), p.Gly908Arg (rs2066847), and p.Leu1007fsX1008 (rs2066847). Haplotype and genotype-phenotype analyses were performed. The SNPs rs2066843 (p = 3.01×10−5, OR 1.48, [95% CI 1.23-1.78]) and rs2076756 (p = 4.01×10−6; OR 1.54, [95% CI 1.28-1.86]) were significantly associated with CD but not with UC susceptibility. Haplotype analysis revealed a number of significant associations with CD susceptibility with omnibus p values <10−10. The SNPs rs2066843 and rs2076756 were in linkage disequilibrium with each other and with the three main CD-associated NOD2 mutations (D'>0.9). However, in CD, SNPs rs2066843 and rs2076756 were more frequently observed than the other three common NOD2 mutations (minor allele frequencies for rs2066843 and rs2076756: 0.390 and 0.380, respectively). In CD patients homozygous for these novel NOD2 variants, genotype-phenotype analysis revealed higher rates of a penetrating phenotype (rs2076756: p = 0.015) and fistulas (rs2076756: p = 0.015) and significant associations with CD-related surgery (rs2076756: p = 0.003; rs2066843: p = 0.015). However, in multivariate analysis only disease localization (p<2×10−16) and behaviour (p = 0.02) were significantly associated with the need for surgery.
The NOD2 variants rs2066843 and rs2076756 are novel and common CD susceptibility gene variants.
PMCID: PMC3012690  PMID: 21209938
15.  Evidence for STAT4 as a Common Autoimmune Gene: rs7574865 Is Associated with Colonic Crohn's Disease and Early Disease Onset 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(4):e10373.
Recent studies demonstrated an association of STAT4 variants with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), indicating that multiple autoimmune diseases share common susceptibility genes. We therefore investigated the influence of STAT4 variants on the susceptibility and phenotype of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in a large patient and control cohort.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Genomic DNA from 2704 individuals of Caucasian origin including 857 patients with Crohn's disease (CD), 464 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), and 1383 healthy, unrelated controls was analyzed for seven SNPs in the STAT4 gene (rs11889341, rs7574865, rs7568275, rs8179673, rs10181656, rs7582694, rs10174238). In addition, a detailed genotype-phenotype analysis was performed. Our analysis revealed an association of the STAT4 SNP rs7574865 with overall decreased susceptibility to CD (p = 0.047, OR 0.86 [95% CI 0.74–0.99]). However, compared to CD patients carrying the wild type genotype, the STAT4 SNP rs7574865 was significantly associated with early CD onset (p = 0.021) and colonic CD (p = 0.008; OR = 4.60, 95% CI 1.63–12.96). For two other STAT4 variants, there was a trend towards protection against CD susceptibility (rs7568275, p = 0.058, OR 0.86 [95% CI 0.74–1.00]; rs10174238, p = 0.057, OR 0.86 [95% CI 0.75–1.00]). In contrast, we did not observe any association with UC susceptibility. Evidence for weak gene-gene interaction of STAT4 with the IL23R SNP rs11209026 was lost after Bonferroni correction.
Our results identified the STAT4 SNP rs7574865 as a disease-modifying gene variant in colonic CD. However, in contrast to SLE and RA, the effect of rs7574865 on CD susceptibility is only weak.
PMCID: PMC2861592  PMID: 20454450
16.  The Cannabinoid 1 Receptor (CNR1) 1359 G/A Polymorphism Modulates Susceptibility to Ulcerative Colitis and the Phenotype in Crohn's Disease 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9453.
Recent evidence suggests a crucial role of the endocannabinoid system, including the cannabinoid 1 receptor (CNR1), in intestinal inflammation. We therefore investigated the influence of the CNR1 1359 G/A (p.Thr453Thr; rs1049353) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) on disease susceptibility and phenotype in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD).
Genomic DNA from 579 phenotypically well-characterized individuals was analyzed for the CNR1 1359 G/A SNP. Amongst these were 166 patients with UC, 216 patients with CD, and 197 healthy controls.
Compared to healthy controls, subjects A/A homozygous for the CNR1 1359 G/A SNP had a reduced risk to develop UC (p = 0.01, OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.12–0.78). The polymorphism did not modulate CD susceptibility, but carriers of the minor A allele had a lower body mass index than G/G wildtype carriers (p = 0.0005). In addition, homozygous carriers of the G allele were more likely to develop CD before 40 years of age (p = 5.9×10−7) than carriers of the A allele.
The CNR1 p.Thr453Thr polymorphism appears to modulate UC susceptibility and the CD phenotype. The endocannabinoid system may influence the manifestation of inflammatory bowel diseases, suggesting endocannabinoids as potential target for future therapies.
PMCID: PMC2829088  PMID: 20195480
17.  Incidence and classification of pediatric diffuse parenchymal lung diseases in Germany 
Diffuse parenchymal lung diseases (DPLD) in children represent a rare and heterogeneous group of chronic pulmonary disorders. Despite substantial advances in genetics and pathomechanisms, these often lethal diseases are still under-diagnosed. This is due to the fact that (i) the incidence is low, and (ii) clinical presentation, (iii) disease classification and (iv) specific treatment options are largely unknown.
Here we systematically assessed the incidence, the presentation, the diagnostic yield and treatments of pediatric DPLD in Germany, using the Surveillance Unit for Rare Paediatric Disorders (ESPED).
The incidence of DPLD was 1.32 new cases per 1 million of children per year. The majority of these children were diagnosed within the first year of life. Overall survival was 87%. Using centralized data entry and stratification tools, the patients were categorized into an advanced classification system based on diagnostic algorithms, including clinical presentations, genetics and/or histology. Combining molecular and clinical information, this survey provides an etiological overview and specific diagnostic recommendations for children with DPLD.
Standardized surveys and systematic classifications are valuable tools for the clinical handling of children with DPLD and aim to improve the disease understanding and the prognosis of these rare detrimental lung diseases.
PMCID: PMC2800105  PMID: 20003372
18.  Gene polymorphisms in APOE, NOS3, and LIPC genes may be risk factors for cardiac adverse events after primary CABG 
Coronary artery disease progression after primary coronary artery bypass grafting may, beside classical atherosclerosis risk factors, be depending on genetic predisposition.
We investigated 192 CABG patients (18% female, age: 60.9 ± 7.4 years). Clinically cardiac adverse events were defined as need for reoperation (n = 88; 46%), reintervention (n = 58; 30%), or angina (n = 89; 46%). Mean follow-up time measured 10.1 ± 5.1 years. Gene polymorphisms (ApoE, NOS3, LIPC, CETP, SERPINE-1, Prothrombin) were investigated separately and combined (gene risk profile).
Among classical risk factors, arterial hypertension and hypercholesterinemia significantly influenced CAD progression. Single ApoE, NOS3 and LIPC polymorphisms provided limited information. Patients missing the most common ApoE ε3 allele (5,2%), showed recurrent symptoms (p = 0,077) and had more frequently reintervention (p = 0,001). NOS3 a allele was associated with a significant increase for reintervention (p = 0,041) and recurrent symptoms (p = 0,042).
Homozygous LIPC patients had a higher reoperation rate (p = 0.049).
A gene risk profile enabled us to discriminate between faster and slower occurrence of cardiac adverse events (p = 0.0012).
Single APOE, LIPC and NOS3 polymorphisms permitted limited prognosis of cardiac adverse events in patients after CABG. Risk profile, in contrast, allowed for risk stratification.
PMCID: PMC2736166  PMID: 19691831
19.  rs1004819 Is the Main Disease-Associated IL23R Variant in German Crohn's Disease Patients: Combined Analysis of IL23R, CARD15, and OCTN1/2 Variants 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(9):e819.
The IL23R gene has been identified as a susceptibility gene for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the North American population. The aim of our study was to test this association in a large German IBD cohort and to elucidate potential interactions with other IBD genes as well as phenotypic consequences of IL23R variants.
Genomic DNA from 2670 Caucasian individuals including 833 patients with Crohn's disease (CD), 456 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), and 1381 healthy unrelated controls was analyzed for 10 IL23R SNPs. Genotyping included the NOD2 variants p.Arg702Trp, p.Gly908Arg, and p.Leu1007fsX1008 and polymorphisms in SLC22A4/OCTN1 (1672 C→T) and SLC22A5/OCTN2 (–207 G→C).
All IL23R gene variants analyzed displayed highly significant associations with CD. The strongest association was found for the SNP rs1004819 [P = 1.92×10−11; OR 1.56; 95 % CI (1.37–1.78)]. 93.2% of the rs1004819 TT homozygous carriers as compared to 78% of CC wildtype carriers had ileal involvement [P = 0.004; OR 4.24; CI (1.46–12.34)]. The coding SNP rs11209026 (p.Arg381Gln) was protective for CD [P = 8.04×10−8; OR 0.43; CI (0.31–0.59)]. Similar, but weaker associations were found in UC. There was no evidence for epistasis between the IL23R gene and the CD susceptibility genes CARD15 and SLC22A4/5.
IL23R is an IBD susceptibility gene, but has no epistatic interaction with CARD15 and SLC22A4/5. rs1004819 is the major IL23R variant associated with CD in the German population, while the p.Arg381Gln IL23R variant is a protective marker for CD and UC.
PMCID: PMC1950565  PMID: 17786191
20.  Genetic variants of adiponectin receptor 2 are associated with increased adiponectin levels and decreased triglyceride/VLDL levels in patients with metabolic syndrome 
Adiponectin acts as an antidiabetic, antiinflammatory and antiatherogenic adipokine. These effects are assumed to be mediated by the recently discovered adiponectin receptors AdipoR1 and AdipoR2.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether variations in the AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 genes may contribute to insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and inflammation.
We sequenced all seven coding exons of both genes in 20 unrelated German subjects with metabolic syndrome and tested genetic variants for association with glucose, lipid and inflammatory parameters.
We identified three AdipoR2 variants (+795G/A, +870C/A and +963C/T) in perfect linkage disequilibrium (r2 = 1) with a minor allele frequency of 0.125. This haplotype was associated with higher plasma adiponectin levels and decreased fasting triglyceride, VLDL-triglyceride and VLDL-cholesterol levels. No association, however, was observed between the AdipoR2 SNP cluster and glucose metabolism.
To our knowledge, this is the first study to identify an association between genetic variants of the adiponectin receptor genes and plasma adiponectin levels. Furthermore, our data suggest that AdipoR2 may play an important role in triglyceride/VLDL metabolism.
PMCID: PMC1482678  PMID: 16700915
21.  Severe chronic diarrhea and weight loss in cholesteryl ester storage disease: A case report 
AIM: An inherited deficiency of human lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) results in the rare conditions of Wolman disease and cholesteryl ester storage disease (CESD). We want to present the rare case of CESD in an adult.
METHODS: We report about an adult female patient with severe chronic diarrhea and weight loss as a consequence of CESD. Clinical examination revealed signs of malabsorption and slightly elevated liver enzymes.
RESULTS: Histopathologic changes in the liver tissue and DNA sequence analysis confirmed the diagnosis of CESD due to homozygosity for the most common CESD mutation, a G934A splice site defect encoded by exon 8 of the lysosomal acid lipase (LIPA) gene.
CONCLUSION: It is the first case in the literature with diarrhea as a putative symptom of CESD in adult patients.
PMCID: PMC4305829  PMID: 15818756
CESD; Acid esterase; Hydrolase; Liver biopsy; Pathology; Diarrhea
22.  Role of the intracellular receptor domain of gp130 (exon 17) in human inflammatory bowel disease 
AIM: To study the role of the intracellular receptor domain of gp130 in human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
METHODS: We amplified and sequenced the complete exon 17 of the human gp130 gene in 146 patients with IBD. According to clinical and histopathological signs, the 146 patients with IBD were classified as having Crohn’s disease (n = 73) or ulcerative colitis (n = 63), or as indeterminate status (n = 10).
RESULTS: No mutations in exon 17 of the gp130 gene could be detected in any of the 146 patients with IBD examined.
CONCLUSION: There is no evidence that mutations in exon 17 of the gp130 gene are involved in the pathogenesis of human IBD.
PMCID: PMC4250713  PMID: 15754404
Exon 17; Inflammatory bowel disease; gp130 gene
23.  Psoralen photo-crosslinked mRNA–puromycin conjugates: a novel template for the rapid and facile preparation of mRNA–protein fusions 
Nucleic Acids Research  2000;28(18):e83.
We describe the synthesis of a novel type of mRNA template and its use in the preparation of mRNA–protein fusions. A light-induced psoralen crosslinking reaction was used to attach a puromycin-containing oligonucleotide to the 3′-end of an mRNA template. The photo-crosslinked template was found to undergo efficient mRNA–protein fusion formation in rabbit reticulocyte lysate. Fusion formation was subsequently tested with templates carrying puromycin linkers of different length and chemical composition. Short linkers with multiple triethyleneglycol phosphate building blocks allowed the most efficient fusion formation under a wide range of salt conditions. The present method simplifies the preparation of mRNA–protein fusions and thus significantly accelerates the in vitro protein evolution procedure which involves repetitive cycles of fusion production and selection.
PMCID: PMC110755  PMID: 10982894

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