The order and magnitude of pathologic processes in Alzheimer’s disease are not well understood, partly because the disease develops over many years. Autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease has a predictable age at onset and provides an opportunity to determine the sequence and magnitude of pathologic changes that culminate in symptomatic disease.
In this prospective, longitudinal study, we analyzed data from 128 participants who underwent baseline clinical and cognitive assessments, brain imaging, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood tests. We used the participant’s age at baseline assessment and the parent’s age at the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease to calculate the estimated years from expected symptom onset (age of the participant minus parent’s age at symptom onset). We conducted cross-sectional analyses of baseline data in relation to estimated years from expected symptom onset in order to determine the relative order and magnitude of pathophysiological changes.
Concentrations of amyloid-beta (Aβ)42 in the CSF appeared to decline 25 years before expected symptom onset. Aβ deposition, as measured by positron-emission tomography with the use of Pittsburgh compound B, was detected 15 years before expected symptom onset. Increased concentrations of tau protein in the CSF and an increase in brain atrophy were detected 15 years before expected symptom onset. Cerebral hypometabolism and impaired episodic memory were observed 10 years before expected symptom onset. Global cognitive impairment, as measured by the Mini–Mental State Examination and the Clinical Dementia Rating scale, was detected 5 years before expected symptom onset, and patients met diagnostic criteria for dementia at an average of 3 years after expected symptom onset.
We found that autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease was associated with a series of pathophysiological changes over decades in CSF biochemical markers of Alzheimer’s disease, brain amyloid deposition, and brain metabolism as well as progressive cognitive impairment. Our results require confirmation with the use of longitudinal data and may not apply to patients with sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. (Funded by the National Institute on Aging and others; DIAN ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00869817.)
A hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72 has been established as a common cause of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). However, the minimum repeat number necessary for disease pathogenesis is not known. The aims of our study were to determine the frequency of the C9ORF72 repeat expansion in two FTD patient collections (one Australian and one Spanish, combined n = 190), to examine C9ORF72 expansion allele length in a subset of FTD patients, and to examine C9ORF72 allele length in ‘non-expansion’ patients (those with <30 repeats). The C9ORF72 repeat expansion was detected in 5–17% of patients (21–41% of familial FTD patients). For one family, the expansion was present in the proband but absent in the mother, who was diagnosed with dementia at age 68. No association was found between C9ORF72 non-expanded allele length and age of onset and in the Spanish sample mean allele length was shorter in cases than in controls. Southern blotting analysis revealed that one of the nine ‘expansion-positive’ patients examined, who had neuropathologically confirmed frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 pathology, harboured an ‘intermediate’ allele with a mean size of only ∼65 repeats. Our study indicates that the C9ORF72 repeat expansion accounts for a significant proportion of Australian and Spanish FTD cases. However, C9ORF72 allele length does not influence the age at onset of ‘non-expansion’ FTD patients in the series examined. Expansion of the C9ORF72 allele to as little as ∼65 repeats may be sufficient to cause disease.
Executive functions are amongst the most heritable cognitive traits with twin studies indicating a strong genetic origin. However genes associated with this domain are unknown. Our research into the neurodevelopmental disorder Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS) has identified a gene within the causative recurrent 1.5/1.6 Mb heterozygous microdeletion on chromosome 7q11.23, which may be involved in executive functioning. Comparative genome array screening of 55 WBS patients revealed a larger ∼1.8 Mb microdeletion in 18% of cases, which results in the loss of an additional gene, the transcription factor GTF2IRD2. The GTF gene family of transcription factors (GTF2I, GTF2IRD1 and GTF2IRD2) are all highly expressed in the brain, and GTF2I and GTF2IRD1 are involved in the pathogenesis of the cognitive and behavioural phenotypes associated with WBS. A multi-level analysis of cognitive, behavioural and psychological functioning in WBS patients showed that those with slightly larger deletions encompassing GTF2IRD2 were significantly more cognitively impaired in the areas of spatial functioning, social reasoning, and cognitive flexibility (a form of executive functioning). They also displayed significantly more obsessions and externalizing behaviours, a likely manifestation of poor cognitive flexibility and executive dysfunction. We provide the first evidence for a role for GTF2IRD2 in higher-level (executive functioning) abilities and highlight the importance of integrating detailed molecular characterisation of patients with comprehensive neuropsychological profiling to uncover additional genotype-phenotype correlations. The identification of specific genes which contribute to executive function has important neuropsychological implications in the treatment of patients with conditions like WBS, and will allow further studies into their mechanism of action.
Concerns have been raised as to the safety of bisphosphonates; in particular a possible link between bisphosphonate use and upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. Two published studies using different study populations but drawn from earlier versions of the same national UK database, reached differing conclusions: one finding no evidence for an increase in the risk of gastric or oesophageal cancer in bisphosphonate users and one finding a small but significantly increased risk of oesophageal cancer linked to duration of bisphosphonate use.
Methodology/ Principal Findings
Design-A case control study comparing bisphosphonate prescribing in cases of upper GI cancer from 1995 to 2007 using UK primary care electronic health records (GPRD).
Main Outcome Measure-Relative Risk (approximated to Odds Ratio for rare events) for oesophageal and gastric cancer development in bisphosphonate users compared to non–users. The odds of being a case of oesophageal cancer, adjusted for smoking status, were significantly increased in women who had had one or more bisphosphonate prescriptions, odds ratio 1·54 (95% CI 1·27–1·88) compared to non-users. There was no significant effect on gastric cancer in women, odds ratio adjusted for smoking status, 1.06 (95% CI 0.83–1.37) and also no apparent risk in men for either oesophageal or gastric cancer, odds ratio adjusted for smoking status 0.78 (95%CI 0.56–1.09) and 0.87 (95% CI 0.55–1.36) respectively.
Our results support a small but significant increased risk of oesophageal cancer in women prescribed bisphosphonates and is based on the largest number of exposed cases to date in the UK.
Congenital nonprogressive spinocerebellar ataxia is characterized by early gross motor delay, hypotonia, gait ataxia, mild dysarthria and dysmetria. The clinical presentation remains fairly stable and may be associated with cerebellar atrophy. To date, only a few families with autosomal dominant congenital nonprogressive spinocerebellar ataxia have been reported. Linkage to 3pter was demonstrated in one large Australian family and this locus was designated spinocerebellar ataxia type 29. The objective of this study is to describe an unreported Canadian family with autosomal dominant congenital nonprogressive spinocerebellar ataxia and to identify the underlying genetic causes in this family and the original Australian family.
Methods and Results
Exome sequencing was performed for the Australian family, resulting in the identification of a heterozygous mutation in the ITPR1 gene. For the Canadian family, genotyping with microsatellite markers and Sanger sequencing of ITPR1 gene were performed; a heterozygous missense mutation in ITPR1 was identified.
ITPR1 encodes inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor, type 1, a ligand-gated ion channel that mediates calcium release from the endoplasmic reticulum. Deletions of ITPR1 are known to cause spinocerebellar ataxia type 15, a distinct and very slowly progressive form of cerebellar ataxia with onset in adulthood. Our study demonstrates for the first time that, in addition to spinocerebellar ataxia type 15, alteration of ITPR1 function can cause a distinct congenital nonprogressive ataxia; highlighting important clinical heterogeneity associated with the ITPR1 gene and a significant role of the ITPR1-related pathway in the development and maintenance of the normal functions of the cerebellum.
Congenital nonprogressive spinocerebellar ataxia; Spinocerebellar ataxia type 29; Cerebellar atrophy; ITPR1; Gene identification
Bisphenol A is widely used in food and drinks packaging. There is evidence of associations between raised urinary bisphenol A (uBPA) and increased incidence of reported cardiovascular diagnoses.
To estimate associations between BPA exposure and angiographically graded coronary atherosclerosis. 591 patients participating in The Metabonomics and Genomics in Coronary Artery Disease (MaGiCAD) study in Cambridgeshire UK, comparing urinary BPA (uBPA) with grades of severity of coronary artery disease (CAD) on angiography. Linear models were adjusted for BMI, occupational social class and diabetes status. Severe (one to three vessel) CAD was present in 385 patients, 86 had intermediate disease (n = 86) and 120 had normal coronary arteries. The (unadjusted) median uBPA concentration was 1.28 ng/mL with normal coronary arteries, and 1.53 ng/mL with severe CAD. Compared to those with normal coronary arteries, uBPA concentration was significantly higher in those with severe CAD (OR per uBPA SD = 5.96 ng/ml OR = 1.43, CI 1.03 to 1.98, p = 0.033), and near significant for intermediate disease (OR = 1.69, CI 0.98 to 2.94, p = 0.061). There was no significant uBPA difference between patients with severe CAD (needing surgery) and the remaining groups combined.
BPA exposure was higher in those with severe coronary artery stenoses compared to those with no vessel disease. Larger studies are needed to estimate true dose response relationships. The mechanisms underlying the association remain to be established.
We previously identified a significant bipolar spectrum disorder linkage peak on 15q25-26 using 35 extended families with a broad clinical phenotype, including bipolar disorder (types I and II), recurrent unipolar depression and schizoaffective disorder. However, the specific gene(s) contributing to this signal had not been identified. By a fine mapping association study in an Australian case-control cohort (n = 385), we find that the sialyltransferase 8B (ST8SIA2) gene, coding for an enzyme that glycosylates proteins involved in neuronal plasticity which has previously shown association to both schizophrenia and autism, is associated with increased risk to bipolar spectrum disorder. Nominal single point association was observed with SNPs in ST8SIA2 (rs4586379, P = 0.0043; rs2168351, P = 0.0045), and a specific risk haplotype was identified (frequency: bipolar vs controls = 0.41 vs 0.31; χ2 = 6.46, P = 0.011, OR = 1.47). Over-representation of the specific risk haplotype was also observed in an Australian schizophrenia case-control cohort (n = 256) (χ2 = 8.41, P = 0.004, OR = 1.82). Using GWAS data from the NIMH bipolar disorder (n = 2055) and NIMH schizophrenia (n = 2550) cohorts, the equivalent haplotype was significantly over-represented in bipolar disorder (χ2 = 5.91, P = 0.015, OR = 1.29), with the same direction of effect in schizophrenia, albeit non-significant (χ2 = 2.3, P = 0.129, OR = 1.09). We demonstrate marked down-regulation of ST8SIA2 gene expression across human brain development and show a significant haplotype×diagnosis effect on ST8SIA2 mRNA levels in adult cortex (ANOVA: F(1,87) = 6.031, P = 0.016). These findings suggest that variation the ST8SIA2 gene is associated with increased risk to mental illness, acting to restrict neuronal plasticity and disrupt early neuronal network formation, rendering the developing and adult brain more vulnerable to secondary genetic or environmental insults.
The olfactory bulb (OB) receives extensive cholinergic input from the basal forebrain and is affected very early in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We speculated that an olfactory ‘stress test’ (OST), targeting the OB, might be used to unmask incipient AD. We investigated if change in olfactory performance following intranasal atropine was associated with several known antecedents or biomarkers of AD.
We measured change in performance on the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT) in the left nostril before (20-items) and after (remaining 20-items) intranasal administration of 1 mg of atropine. We administered cognitive tests, measured hippocampal volume from MRI scans and recorded Apolipoprotein E genotype as indices relevant to underlying AD.
In a convenience sample of 56 elderly individuals (14 probable AD, 13 cognitive impairment no dementia, 29 cognitively intact) the change in UPSIT score after atropine (‘atropine effect’ = AE) correlated significantly with demographically scaled episodic memory score (r = 0.57, p < 0.001) and left hippocampal volume (LHCV) (r = 0.53, p < 0.001). Among non-demented individuals (n = 42), AE correlated with episodic memory (r = 0.52, p < 0.001) and LHCV (r = 0.49, p < 0.001) and hierarchical linear regression models adjusted for age, gender, education, and baseline UPSIT showed that the AE explained more variance in memory performance (24%) than did LHCV (15%). The presence of any APOE ϵ4 allele was associated with a more negative AE (p = 0.014).
The OST using atropine as an olfactory probe holds promise as a simple, inexpensive screen for early and preclinical AD and further work, including longitudinal studies, is needed to explore this possibility.
High blood pressure is the single most important risk factor worldwide for the development of cardiovascular disease, and has been shown to affect some ethnic minority groups disproportionately.
To explore ethnic inequalities in blood pressure monitoring and control.
Data from Lambeth DataNet was used, based on case records from GP practices in one inner-city London borough. Blood pressure monitoring and control was compared using Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) targets for patients with: diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease. The study controlled for age, sex, social deprivation, and clustering within GP practices.
A total of 16 613 patients met the study criteria, with 5962 categorised as black/black British. Blood pressure monitoring was similar across ethnic groups and as good, if not better, for black patients compared to white. However, marked ethnic inequalities in blood pressure control were found, with black patients significantly less likely to achieve QOF targets than their white counterparts (odds ratio [OR] 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.64 to 0.82). Further inequalities were revealed in blood pressure control within disease groups and ethnic subgroups. In particular, blood pressure control was poor in African patients with diabetes (OR 0.63; 95% CI = 0.50 to 0.79) and Caribbean patients with coronary heart disease (OR 0.53; 95% CI = 0.37 to 0.77) when compared with white patients.
While black patients with chronic conditions are equally likely to have their blood pressure monitored, their blood pressure control is consistently poorer than that of their white counterparts. This may have important implications for cardiovascular risk management in black patients.
ethnicity/race; inequalities; health care; hypertension
The majority of patients discontinue antidepressant treatment earlier than prescribed. The factors behind this and the influences on patients' choices about whether to take medication remain poorly understood.
To explore factors that influence patients' decisions about taking antidepressant medication.
Design of study
Qualitative interview study.
Interviews were conducted across three sites: London, East Lancashire, and North East England.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 65 primary care patients who were prescribed antidepressants in the past year for depression or mixed anxiety/depression.
Participants described their first course of antidepressants as typically occurring when they had ‘hit rock bottom’, having exhausted all other possibilities; therefore, there was little sense of a positive choice at this stage. There would typically follow a period of experimentation where it was usual to stop and restart medication, often several times. Ultimately, these recurring cycles lead to participants becoming more expert about their condition and better able to make an informed decision about medication. For younger participants, recovery typically remained a goal, although for older people there was often an acceptance that their condition, and medication use, would be long term.
Participants' accounts demonstrated how they could become expert at managing their condition through a process of trial and error.
antidepressants; depression; ethnicity; primary health care; qualitative research
Psychological outcome measures are evolving into measures that depict progress over time. Interval measurement during therapy has not previously been reported for a patient-generated measure in primary care. We aimed to determine the sensitivity to change throughout therapy, using ‘PSYCHLOPS’ (Psychological Outcome Profiles), and to determine if new problems appearing during therapy diminish overall improvement.
Responses to PSYCHLOPS, pre-, during- and post-therapy were compared. Setting: patients offered brief cognitive behaviour therapy in primary care in Poland.
238 patients completed the pre-therapy questionnaire, 194 (81.5%) the during-therapy questionnaire and 142 the post-therapy questionnaire (59.7%). For those completing all three questionnaires (n = 135), improvement in total scores produced an overall Effect Size of 3.1 (2.7 to 3.4). We estimated change using three methods for dealing with missing values. Single and multiple imputation did not significantly change the Effect Size; ‘Last Value Carried Forward’, the most conservative method, produced an overall Effect Size of 2.3 (1.9 to 2.6). New problems during therapy were reported by 81 patients (60.0%): new problem and original problem scores were of similar magnitude and change scores were not significantly different when compared to patients who did not report new problems.
A large proportion of outcome data is lost when outcome measures depend upon completed end of therapy questionnaires. The use of a during-therapy measure increases data capture. Missing data still produce difficulties in interpreting overall effect sizes for change. We found no evidence that new problems appearing during therapy hampered overall recovery.
Background and Objectives
Asthma and depression are common health problems in primary care. Evidence of a relationship between asthma and depression is conflicting. Objectives: to determine 1. The incidence rate and incidence rate ratio of depression in primary care patients with asthma compared to those without asthma, and 2. The standardized mortality ratio of depressed compared to non-depressed patients with asthma.
A historical cohort and nested case control study using data derived from the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database. Participants: 11,275 incident cases of asthma recorded between 1/1/95 and 31/12/96 age, sex and practice matched with non-cases from the database (ratio 1∶1) and followed up through the database for 10 years. 1,660 cases were matched by date of asthma diagnosis with 1,660 controls. Main outcome measures: number of cases diagnosed with depression, the number of deaths over the study period.
The rate of depression in patients with asthma was 22.4/1,000 person years and without asthma 13.8 /1,000 person years. The incident rate ratio (adjusted for age, sex, practice, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, smoking) was 1.59 (95% CI 1.48–1.71). The increased rate of depression was not associated with asthma severity or oral corticosteroid use. It was associated with the number of consultations (odds ratio per visit 1.09; 95% CI 1.07–1.11). The age and sex adjusted standardized mortality ratio for depressed patients with asthma was 1.87 (95% CI: 1.54–2.27).
Asthma is associated with depression. This was not related to asthma severity or oral corticosteroid use but was related to service use. This suggests that a diagnosis of depression is related to health seeking behavior in patients with asthma. There is an increased mortality rate in depressed patients with asthma. The cause of this needs further exploration. Consideration should be given to case-finding for depression in this population.
The past decade has seen rapid advances in the identification of associations between candidate genes and a range of common multifactorial disorders. This paper evaluates public attitudes towards the complexity of genetic risk prediction in psychiatry involving susceptibility genes, uncertain penetrance and gene–environment interactions on which successful molecular-based mental health interventions will depend. A qualitative approach was taken to enable the exploration of the views of the public. Four structured focus groups were conducted with a total of 36 participants. The majority of participants indicated interest in having a genetic test for susceptibility to major depression, if it was available. Having a family history of mental illness was cited as a major reason. After discussion of perceived positive and negative implications of predictive genetic testing, nine of 24 participants initially interested in having such a test changed their mind. Fear of genetic discrimination and privacy issues predominantly influenced change of attitude. All participants still interested in having a predictive genetic test for risk for depression reported they would only do so through trusted medical professionals. Participants were unanimously against direct-to-consumer genetic testing marketed through the Internet, although some would consider it if there was suitable protection against discrimination. The study highlights the importance of general practitioner and public education about psychiatric genetics, and the availability of appropriate treatment and support services prior to implementation of future predictive genetic testing services.
predictive genetic testing; psychiatric genetics; major depression; direct-to-consumer genetic testing; public opinion; mental health
Substantial variation in antibiotic prescribing rates between general practices persists, but remains unexplained at national level.
To establish the degree of variation in antibiotic prescribing between practices in England and identify the characteristics of practices that prescribe higher volumes of antibiotics.
Design of study
8057 general practices in England.
A dataset was constructed containing data on standardised antibiotic prescribing volumes, practice characteristics, patient morbidity, ethnicity, social deprivation, and Quality and Outcomes Framework achievement (2004–2005). Data were analysed using multiple regression modelling.
There was a twofold difference in standardised antibiotic prescribing volumes between practices in the 10th and 90th centiles of the sample (0.48 versus 0.95 antibiotic prescriptions per antibiotic STAR-PU [Specific Therapeutic group Age-sex weightings-Related Prescribing Unit]). A regression model containing nine variables explained 17.2% of the variance in antibiotic prescribing. Practice location in the north of England was the strongest predictor of high antibiotic prescribing. Practices serving populations with greater morbidity and a higher proportion of white patients prescribed more antibiotics, as did practices with shorter appointments, non-training practices, and practices with higher proportions of GPs who were male, >45 years of age, and qualified outside the UK.
Practice and practice population characteristics explained about one-sixth of the variation in antibiotic prescribing nationally. Consultation-level and qualitative studies are needed to help further explain these findings and improve our understanding of this variation.
antibiotics; prescriptions; primary care
OBJECTIVE—To evaluate diabetes outcomes under a national “pay-for-performance” program.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Data were analyzed for 98% of all English family practices. For each practice, the proportion of diabetic subjects with A1C ≤7.5%, blood pressure ≤145/85 mmHg, and cholesterol ≤5 mmol/l was determined. Practices achieving less than the 25th centile for the A1C target for 2006–2007 were classified as low performing.
RESULTS—The proportion achieving the A1C target at the median practice increased from 59.1% (interquartile range [IQR] 51.7–65.9) in 2004–2005 to 66.7% (IQR 60.6–72.7) in 2007–2008, blood pressure from 70.9% in 2004–2005 to 80.2% in 2007–2008, and cholesterol from 72.6% in 2004–2005 to 83.6% in 2007–2008. In 2004–2005, 57% of practices were low performing (range by region 42.4–69.9). In 2007–2008, 26% of practices were low performing (range 11.6–37.5).
CONCLUSIONS—Introduction of pay-for-performance may be one factor contributing to increasing achievement of targets and reducing problems of low performance.
The EuroQoL 5D (EQ-5D) has been widely used in studies of cardiac disease, but its measurement properties in this group are not well established. The study aimed to quantify the relationship between measures commonly used in studies of cardiac disease and the EQ-5D index across different levels of disease severity.
Patient-level data from 7 studies of cardiac interventions were used, which included randomised trials and observational studies. Relationships between the EQ-5D index and commonly used cardiac measures, Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) angina severity class, treadmill exercise time (ETT) and scales of the Seattle Angina Questionnaire (SAQ) were examined. Mixed effects linear regression was used to assess these relationships, with the EQ-5D index as the response.
Study sample sizes ranged from 68 to 2419. Mean baseline EQ-5D index ranged from 0.77 in patients at diagnosis (95% CI 0.75, 0.78) to 0.43 in patients with advanced disease (95% CI 0.39, 0.48) and differed significantly across studies (p < 0.001). There was evidence of a ceiling effect in patients at diagnosis. The minimum clinically important difference of a one minute increase in ETT was associated with a 0.019 (95% CI 0.014, 0.025) increase in EQ-5D index. One class increase in CCS was associated with a 0.11 (95% CI 0.09, 0.13) decrease in EQ-5D index. A 10 unit increase in SAQ scales was associated with increases between 0.04 and 0.07 in EQ-5D index (95% CIs 0.03, 0.05 and 0.05, 0.08). Tests of heterogeneity indicated the EQ-5D-covariate relationships were consistent across levels of disease severity for ETT and the treatment satisfaction scale of the SAQ, but heterogeneous for age, gender, CCS angina class and other scales of the SAQ.
The EQ-5D index varies with coronary disease severity. The relationship between the EQ-5D index and an outcome measure used in cardiac intervention studies, ETT, was consistent across disease severity levels, but the relationship between demographic variables, CCS angina class and most of the SAQ scales and the EQ-5D index was heterogeneous for patients with different levels of coronary disease. Differences in the EQ-5D index associated with clinically important differences in cardiac measures can be quantified and vary between three important examples - angina class, ETT and SAQ.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) represents a clinically, pathologically and genetically heterogenous neurodegenerative disorder, often complicated by neurological signs such as motor neuron-related limb weakness, spasticity and paralysis, parkinsonism and gait disturbances. Linkage to chromosome 9p had been reported for pedigrees with the neurodegenerative disorder, frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and motor neuron disease (MND). The objective in this study is to identify the genetic locus in a multi-generational Australian family with FTLD-MND.
Clinical review and standard neuropathological analysis of brain sections from affected pedigree members. Genome-wide scan using microsatellite markers and single nucleotide polymorphism fine mapping. Examination of candidate genes by direct DNA sequencing.
Neuropathological examination revealed cytoplasmic deposition of the TDP-43 protein in three affected individuals. Moreover, we identify a family member with clinical Alzheimer's disease, and FTLD-Ubiquitin neuropathology. Genetic linkage and haplotype analyses, defined a critical region between markers D9S169 and D9S1845 on chromosome 9p21. Screening of all candidate genes within this region did not reveal any novel genetic alterations that co-segregate with disease haplotype, suggesting that one individual carrying a meiotic recombination may represent a phenocopy. Re-analysis of linkage data using the new affection status revealed a maximal two-point LOD score of 3.24 and a multipoint LOD score of 3.41 at marker D9S1817. This provides the highest reported LOD scores from a single FTLD-MND pedigree.
Our reported increase in the minimal disease region should inform other researchers that the chromosome 9 locus may be more telomeric than predicted by published recombination boundaries. Moreover, the existence of a family member with clinical Alzheimer's disease, and who shares the disease haplotype, highlights the possibility that late-onset AD patients in the other linked pedigrees may be mis-classified as sporadic dementia cases.
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and percutaneous myocardial laser revascularisation (PMR) are treatment modalities used to treat refractory angina pectoris, with the major aim of such treatment being the relief of disabling symptoms. This study compared the change in myocardial perfusion following SCS and PMR treatment.
Subjects with Canadian Cardiovascular Society class 3/4 angina and reversible perfusion defects as assessed by single-photon emission computed tomographic myocardial perfusion scintigraphy were randomised to SCS (34) or PMR (34). 28 subjects in each group underwent repeat myocardial perfusion imaging 12 months post intervention. Visual scoring of perfusion images was performed using a 20-segment model and a scale of 0 to 4.
The mean (standard deviation) baseline summed rest score (SRS) and stress scores (SSS) were 4.6 (5.7) and 13.6 (9.0) in the PMR group and 6.1 (7.4) and 16.8 (11.6) in the SCS group. At 12 months, SRS was 5.5 (6.0) and SSS 15.3 (11.3) in the PMR group and 6.9 (8.2) and 15.1 (10.9) in the SCS group. There was no significant difference between the two treatment groups adjusted for baseline (p = 1.0 for SRS, p = 0.29 for SSS).
There was no significant difference in myocardial perfusion one year post treatment with SCS or PMR.
Endosymbiotic bacteria in the genus Wolbachia have been linked to several types of reproductive parasitism, which enhance their own transmission, while their direct effects on the host vary from beneficial to neutral or detrimental. Here, we report negative effects of infection on immunity-related traits of Drosophila simulans and the parasitoid wasp Leptopilina heterotoma. Infected D. simulans showed a reduced ability to encapsulate parasitoid eggs, compared to a tetracycline-treated, bacterium-free line. Challenging the two lines with a fungal pathogen, Beauveria bassiana, on the other hand, revealed no differences in survival. Moreover, elimination of Wolbachia was beneficial for the parasitoid wasp, as eggs laid by uninfected females suffered significantly lower encapsulation rates. We discuss possible origins of these fitness costs and their implications for infection dynamics and the interactions between host species.
Wolbachia; Drosophila simulans; fitness costs; parasitoid; resistance; encapsulation
Efforts to identify genetic factors that confer an increased risk for the expression of psychiatric symptoms have focused on polymorphisms in variety of candidate genes, including the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene. Results from previous studies that have examined associations between the functional COMT polymorphism (Val158Met) and mental health have been mixed. In the present study, we examined the relationships between COMT, early life stress, and personality in a healthy adult sample. Consistent with previous studies, we hypothesized that individuals with the low-activity genotype would have higher neuroticism and lower extraversion and that this effect would be more pronounced in females. In addition, we extended the previous literature by investigating the potential influence of early life stress. A total of 486 healthy adults underwent genetic testing and personality assessment. Results revealed that individuals homozygous for the COMT low enzyme activity allele had lower extraversion on the NEO-FFI and demonstrated a trend toward greater neuroticism. These relationships were not influenced by sex or the presence of reported early life stress. The finding that COMT genotype was associated with extraversion, and more weakly with neuroticism, is consistent with previous studies. Future research to clarify the influence of sex and gene–environmental interactions is warranted.
anxiety; depression; gene-environment interaction; early life stress
There is an ever increasing rate of data made available on genetic variation, transcriptomes and proteomes. Similarly, a growing variety of bioinformatic programs are becoming available from many diverse sources, designed to identify a myriad of sequence patterns considered to have potential biological importance within inter-genic regions, genes, transcripts, and proteins. However, biologists require easy to use, uncomplicated tools to integrate this information, visualise and print gene annotations. Integrating this information usually requires considerable informatics skills, and comprehensive knowledge of the data format to make full use of this information. Tools are needed to explore gene model variants by allowing users the ability to create alternative transcript models using novel combinations of exons not necessarily represented in current database deposits of mRNA/cDNA sequences.
Djinn Lite is designed to be an intuitive program for storing and visually exploring of custom annotations relating to a eukaryotic gene sequence and its modelled gene products. In particular, it is helpful in developing hypothesis regarding alternate splicing of transcripts by allowing the construction of model transcripts and inspection of their resulting translations. It facilitates the ability to view a gene and its gene products in one synchronised graphical view, allowing one to drill down into sequence related data. Colour highlighting of selected sequences and added annotations further supports exploration, visualisation of sequence regions and motifs known or predicted to be biologically significant.
Gene annotating remains an ongoing and challengingtask that will continue as gene structures, gene transcription repertoires, disease loci, protein products and their interactions become moreprecisely defined. Djinn Lite offers an accessible interface to help accumulate, enrich, and individualise sequence annotations relating to a gene, its transcripts and translations. The mechanism of transcript definition and creation, and subsequent navigation and exploration of features, are very intuitive and demand only a short learning curve. Ultimately, Djinn Lite can form the basis for providing valuable clues to plan new experiments, providing storage of sequences and annotations for dedication to customised projects. The application is appropriate for Windows 98-ME-2000-XP-2003 operating systems.
Ligand-gated ion channel receptors mediate neuronal inhibition or excitation depending on their ion charge selectivity. An investigation into the determinants of ion charge selectivity of the anion-selective α1 homomeric glycine receptor (α1 glycine receptor [GlyR]) was undertaken using point mutations to residues lining the extra- and intracellular ends of the ion channel. Five mutant GlyRs were studied. A single substitution at the intracellular mouth of the channel (A-1′E GlyR) was sufficient to convert the channels to select cations over anions with PCl/PNa = 0.34. This result delimits the selectivity filter and provides evidence that electrostatic interactions between permeating ions and pore residues are a critical factor in ion charge selectivity. The P-2′Δ mutant GlyR retained its anion selectivity (PCl/PNa = 3.81), but it was much reduced compared with the wild-type (WT) GlyR (PCl/PNa = 27.9). When the A-1′E and the P-2′Δ mutations were combined (selectivity double mutant [SDM] GlyR), the relative cation permeability was enhanced (PCl/PNa = 0.13). The SDM GlyR was also Ca2+ permeable (PCa/PNa = 0.29). Neutralizing the extracellular mouth of the SDM GlyR ion channel (SDM+R19′A GlyR) produced a more Ca2+-permeable channel (PCa/PNa = 0.73), without drastically altering monovalent charge selectivity (PCl/PNa = 0.23). The SDM+R19′E GlyR, which introduces a negatively charged ring at the extracellular mouth of the channel, further enhanced Ca2+ permeability (PCa/PNa = 0.92), with little effect on monovalent selectivity (PCl/PNa = 0.19). Estimates of the minimum pore diameter of the A-1′E, SDM, SDM+R19′A, and SDM+R19′E GlyRs revealed that these pores are larger than the α1 GlyR, with the SDM-based GlyRs being comparable in diameter to the cation-selective nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. This result provides evidence that the diameter of the ion channel is also an important factor in ion charge selectivity.
ligand-gated ion channels; electrostatics; pore diameter; permeability; selectivity filter
Members of the ligand-gated ion channel superfamily mediate fast synaptic transmission in the nervous system. In this study, we investigate the molecular determinants and mechanisms of ion permeation and ion charge selectivity in this family of channels by characterizing the single channel conductance and rectification of α1 homomeric human glycine receptor channels (GlyRs) containing pore mutations that impart cation selectivity. The A-1'E mutant GlyR and the selectivity double mutant ([SDM], A-1'E, P-2'Δ) GlyR, had mean inward chord conductances (at −60 mV) of 7 pS and mean outward conductances of 11 and 12 pS (60 mV), respectively. This indicates that the mutations have not simply reduced anion permeability, but have replaced the previous anion conductance with a cation one. An additional mutation to neutralize the ring of positive charge at the extracellular mouth of the channel (SDM+R19'A GlyR) made the conductance–voltage relationship linear (14 pS at both 60 and −60 mV). When this external charged ring was made negative (SDM+R19'E GlyR), the inward conductance was further increased (to 22 pS) and now became sensitive to external divalent cations (being 32 pS in their absence). The effects of the mutations to the external ring of charge on conductance and rectification could be fit to a model where only the main external energy barrier height for permeation was changed. Mean outward conductances in the SDM+R19'A and SDM+R19'E GlyRs were increased when internal divalent cations were absent, consistent with the intracellular end of the pore being flanked by fixed negative charges. This supports our hypothesis that the ion charge selectivity mutations have inverted the electrostatic profile of the pore by introducing a negatively charged ring at the putative selectivity filter. These results also further confirm the role of external pore vestibule electrostatics in determining the conductance and rectification properties of the ligand-gated ion channels.
ligand-gated ion channels; rings of charge; ion permeation; ion selectivity; M2 domain