Many questions remain concerning whether, when, and how physicians order genetic tests, and what factors are involved in their decisions. We surveyed 220 internists from two academic medical centers about their utilization of genetic testing. Rates of genetic utilizations varied widely by disease. Respondents were most likely to have ordered tests for Factor V Leiden (16.8%), followed by Breast/Ovarian Cancer (15.0%). In the past 6 months, 65% had counseled patients on genetic issues, 44% had ordered genetic tests, 38.5% had referred patients to a genetic counselor or geneticist, and 27.5% had received ads from commercial labs for genetic testing. Only 4.5% had tried to hide or disguise genetic information, and <2% have had patients report genetic discrimination. Only 53.4% knew of a geneticist/genetic counselor to whom to refer patients. Most rated their knowledge as very/somewhat poor concerning genetics (73.7%) and guidelines for genetic testing (87.1%). Most felt needs for more training on when to order tests (79%), and how to counsel patients (82%), interpret results (77.3%), and maintain privacy (80.6%). Physicians were more likely to have ordered a genetic test if patients inquired about genetic testing (p<.001), and if physicians had a geneticist/genetic counselor to whom to refer patients (p<.002), had referred patients to a geneticist/genetic counselor in the past 6 months, had more comfort counseling patients about testing (p<.019), counseled patients about genetics, larger practices (p<.032), fewer African-American patients (p<.027), and patients who had reported genetic discrimination (p<.044). In a multiple logistic regression, ordering a genetic test was associated with patients inquiring about testing, having referred patients to a geneticist/genetic counselor and knowing how to order tests., These data suggest that physicians recognize their knowledge deficits, and are interested in training. These findings have important implications for future medical practice, research, and education.
genetic testing; medical education; doctor-patient communication; ethics; genetic discrimination; decision-making; genetic counseling
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is increasingly available, but how physicians view it is unclear. Internists are gatekeepers and sources of information, often treating disorders for which PGD is possible. This quantitative study surveyed 220 US internists, who were found to be divided. Many would recommend PGD for cystic fibrosis (CF; 33.7%), breast cancer (BRCA; 23.4%), familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP; 20.6%) and familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (19.9%), but few for social sex selection (5.2%); however, in each case, >50% were unsure. Of those surveyed, 4.9% have suggested PGD to patients. Only 7.1% felt qualified to answer patient questions about it. Internists who would refer for PGD had completed medical training less recently and, for CF, were more likely to have privately insured patients (P < 0.033) and patients who reported genetic discrimination (P < 0.013). Physicians more likely to refer for BRCA and FAP were less likely to have patients ask about genetic testing. This study suggests that internists often feel they have insufficient knowledge about it and may refer for it based on limited understanding. They view possible uses of PGD differently, partly reflecting varying ages of onset and disease treatability. These data have critical implications for training, research and practice.
assisted reproductive technology; ethics; IVF
A number of publications have attributed a tumor suppressive (TS) function to PARKIN, a gene associated with recessive familial early-onset Parkinson’s disease (EOPD). Discoveries of PARKIN deletions and point mutations in tumors, functional studies, and data from mouse models have been presented to support the hypothesis. We have asked whether PARKIN mutations are associated with history of cancer in humans. We interviewed 431 participants who were screened for PARKIN mutations, including 149 EOPD cases and their family members, who were unaware of mutation status. We found no significant difference in self-reported history of cancer among carriers of one or two PARKIN mutations and non-carriers, odds ratio 0.75 (95% confidence interval 0.27-1.83). In particular, no increase in cancer history was seen among homozygous and compound heterozygous mutation carriers compared to non-carriers. Therefore, we hypothesize that published studies attributing TS capability to PARKIN merit further exploration and we present a reevaluation of these data with respect to patterns of mutation frequencies in normal and cancer cells. We conclude that although Parkin may exert a suppressive effect in mice, further studies are required prior to assigning a TS function to PARKIN in humans.
Tumor suppressor; PARKIN - Early-onset Parkinson’s cohort; cancer risk
While mutations in glucocerebrosidase (GBA1) are associated with an increased risk for Parkinson disease (PD), it is important to establish whether such mutations are also a common risk factor for other Lewy body disorders.
To establish whether GBA1 mutations are a risk factor for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
We compared genotype data on patients and controls from 11 centers. Data concerning demographics, age at onset, disease duration, and clinical and pathological features were collected when available. We conducted pooled analyses using logistic regression to investigate GBA1 mutation carrier status as predicting DLB or PD with dementia status, using common control subjects as a reference group. Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to account for additional heterogeneity.
Eleven centers from sites around the world performing genotyping.
Seven hundred twenty-one cases met diagnostic criteria for DLB and 151 had PD with dementia. We compared these cases with 1962 controls from the same centers matched for age, sex, and ethnicity.
Main Outcome Measures
Frequency of GBA1 mutations in cases and controls.
We found a significant association between GBA1 mutation carrier status and DLB, with an odds ratio of 8.28 (95% CI, 4.78–14.88). The odds ratio for PD with dementia was 6.48 (95% CI, 2.53–15.37). The mean age at diagnosis of DLB was earlier in GBA1 mutation carriers than in noncarriers (63.5 vs 68.9 years; P<.001), with higher disease severity scores.
Conclusions and Relevance
Mutations in GBA1 are a significant risk factor for DLB. GBA1 mutations likely play an even larger role in the genetic etiology of DLB than in PD, providing insight into the role of glucocerebrosidase in Lewy body disease.
To assess cognitive abilities of healthy first-degree relatives of Ashkenazi patients with Parkinson disease (PD), carriers of the G2019S mutation in the LRRK2 gene.
In this observational study, 60 consecutive healthy first-degree relatives (aged 50.9 ± 6.2 years; 48% male; 30 G2019S carriers) were assessed using a computerized cognitive program, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment questionnaire, the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale Part III, and the Geriatric Depression Scale.
G2019S carriers scored significantly lower on the computerized executive function index (p = 0.04) and on specific executive function tasks (Stroop test, p = 0.007).
Carrying the LRRK2 G2019S mutation was associated with lower executive performance in a population at risk for PD.
To date, only one genome-wide study has assessed the contribution of copy number variants (CNVs) to Parkinson's disease (PD). We conducted a genome-wide scan for CNVs in a case–control dataset of Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) origin (268 PD cases and 178 controls). Using high-confidence CNVs, we examined the global genome wide burden of large (≥100 kb) and rare (≤1% in the dataset) CNVs between cases and controls. A total of 986 such CNVs were observed in our dataset of 432 subjects. Overall global burden analyses did not reveal significant differences between cases and controls in CNV rate, distribution of deletions or duplications or number of genes affected by CNVs. Overall deletions (total CNV size and ≥2× frequency) were found 1.4 times more often in cases than in controls (P = 0.019). The large CNVs (≥500 kb) were also significantly associated with PD (P = 0.046, 1.24-fold higher in cases than in controls). Global burden was elevated for rare CNV regions. Specifically, for OVOS2 on Chr12p11.21, CNVs were observed only in PD cases (n = 7) but not in controls (P = 0.028) and this was experimentally validated. A total of 81 PD cases carried a rare genic CNV that was absent in controls. Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) identified ATXN3, FBXW7, CHCHD3, HSF1, KLC1, and MBD3 in the same disease pathway with known PD genes.
Ashkenazi Jews; candidate genes; case–control study; CNV; Parkinson's disease
Huntington's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded CAG trinucleotide repeat whose length is the major determinant of age at onset but remaining variation appears to be due in part to the effect of genetic modifiers. GRIK2, which encodes GluR6, a mediator of excitatory neurotransmission in the brain, has been suggested in several studies to be a modifier gene based upon a 3′ untranslated region TAA trinucleotide repeat polymorphism. Prior to investing in detailed studies of the functional impact of this polymorphism, we sought to confirm its effect on age at onset in a much larger dataset than in previous investigations. We genotyped the HD CAG repeat and the GRIK2 TAA repeat in DNA samples from 2,911 Huntington's disease subjects with known age at onset, and tested for a potential modifier effect of GRIK2 using a variety of statistical approaches. Unlike previous reports, we detected no evidence of an influence of the GRIK2 TAA repeat polymorphism on age at motor onset. Similarly, the GRIK2 polymorphism did not show significant modifier effect on psychiatric and cognitive age at onset in HD. Comprehensive analytical methods applied to a much larger sample than in previous studies do not support a role for GRIK2 as a genetic modifier of age at onset of clinical symptoms in Huntington's disease.
Huntington's disease (HD); Age at onset; GRIK2; Genetic modifier
CCL3L1 copy number variation has been implicated as a marker for susceptibility and immunity to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection and its pathogenic sequelae. Some of these findings have been confirmed in several, but not all, subsequent independent cohort studies. A three-fold risk for the development of HIV-associated dementia was reported in individuals possessing a CCL3L1 copy number below the ethnic group median combined with a detrimental CCR5 genotype. With the availability of antiretroviral therapy since 1996, there has been a significant decline in HIV-associated dementia, and milder forms of HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment (HAND) are now most prevalent. Moreover, patients are living longer with HIV-1 infection and it is recognized that aging may be a contributory factor to the development of cognitive disorder. Thus, the need for biomarkers that can be used in clinical practice to identify and provide optimal treatment for those at increased risk for HAND is great. HAND affects 20%–30% of HIV-infected individuals, and several genetic loci which have been shown to confer susceptibility to HIV infection may also modulate the development of neurocognitive disorder. The aim of this study was to determine whether CCL3L1 chemokine gene copy number in self-defined ethnic groups could differentiate HIV-infected individuals with and without HAND.
Genomic DNA was isolated from buccal swabs or peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from HIV-infected patients with or without a diagnoses of neurocognitive dysfunction in the Northeast AIDS Dementia Cohort and National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium. To maintain a uniform standard, a quantitative polymerase chain reaction design similar to previous studies using Taqman probes and fixed input DNA between 2 ng and 10 ng was used to determine a CCL3L1 copy number. Standard curves with two-fold dilutions from 25 ng to 1.56 ng were generated. CCL3L1 copy number was determined in triplicate in 262 subjects using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and the relative quantitation method. Data were analyzed using analysis of variance, with significance defined as P < 0.05 and Bonferroni post hoc tests.
Significant differences as determined by analysis of variance in CCL3L1 copy number between African-Americans and Caucasians (P < 0.0001) were found, highlighting ethnic group differences in the copy number of this gene. However, there were no differences in CCL3L1 copy number across the neurocognitive groups within each ethnic group. The median CCL3L1 copy number in African-Americans of two and Caucasians of one in this study was significantly lower than the previously reported ethnic group means of two and four copies, respectively. A higher prevalence of abnormal cognition with a relative risk of four was seen in African-Americans versus Caucasians.
Based on this nested case-control study, CCL3L1 copy number alone may not be useful for distinguishing between individuals at risk for mild or severe neurocognitive disorder. Additional larger cohort studies are required to determine whether CCL3L1 copy number in combination with polymorphisms in other genes known to contribute to HIV risk will be useful in identifying those at increased risk for HAND.
neurological; HIV-associated dementia; HAND; chemokine; copy number; African-American; Caucasian
In patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with psychosis or agitation that respond to haloperidol treatment, to evaluate the risk of relapse following discontinuation.
In outpatients with AD with symptoms of psychosis or agitation, responders to 20 weeks of haloperidol (0.5 to 5 mg daily) were randomized to a 24-week, double-blind pilot trial of discontinuation on placebo versus continuation haloperidol. Phase A response criteria were minimum 50% reduction in 3 target symptoms, and improvement on the Clinical Global Impression-Change (CGI-C) score for psychosis/agitation. Phase B relapse criteria required 50% worsening in target symptoms and on the CGI-C. Alpha=0.1 was the significance criterion in this pilot study.
Of 44 patients, 22 patients responded in Phase A. The sum score of target symptoms, and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale psychosis and hostile suspiciousness factor scores, decreased in Phase A (p’s < .001). Extrapyramidal signs increased in Phase A (p < .01). Of 22 responders, 21 patients entered Phase B, and 20 had at least one follow-up visit. Four of 10 patients (40%) on continuation haloperidol relapsed compared to 8 of 10 patients on placebo (80%, χ2=3.3, p=0.07). In survival analyses, time to relapse was shorter on placebo than haloperidol (χ2=4.1, p=0.04).
Haloperidol open treatment was efficacious, and relapse was greater on placebo than with haloperidol continuation. In patients with AD who have psychosis or agitation and respond to antipsychotic medication, the increased risk of relapse after discontinuation needs to be weighed against the side effects associated with continuing the medication.
Antipsychotic; discontinuation; Alzheimer’s disease
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor, cognitive, and behavioral disturbances. It is caused by the expansion of the HTT CAG repeat, which is the major determinant of age at onset (AO) of motor symptoms. Aberrant function of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors and/or overexposure to dopamine has been suggested to cause significant neurotoxicity, contributing to HD pathogenesis. We used genetic association analysis in 1,628 HD patients to evaluate candidate polymorphisms in N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subtype genes (GRIN2A rs4998386 and rs2650427, and GRIN2B rs1806201) and functional polymorphisms in genes in the dopamine pathway (DAT1 3′ UTR 40-bp variable number tandem repeat (VNTR), DRD4 exon 3 48-bp VNTR, DRD2 rs1800497, and COMT rs4608) as potential modifiers of the disease process. None of the seven polymorphisms tested was found to be associated with significant modification of motor AO, either in a dominant or additive model, after adjusting for ancestry. The results of this candidate-genetic study therefore do not provide strong evidence to support a modulatory role for these variations within glutamatergic and dopaminergic genes in the AO of HD motor manifestations.
Huntington’s disease; Glutamate receptors; Dopamine pathway; Genetic modifiers
To describe the neuropathologic findings in three LRRK2 G2019S carriers with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
We cross referenced a list of 956 PD individuals that had been previously genotyped in clinical studies at Columbia University, with 282 subjects with a parkinsonian syndrome who came to autopsy in our brain bank since 1991. We found three autopsies of G2019S mutation carriers. Pathological analyses of the samples were blind to the genetic findings. We retrospectively reviewed the clinical records of the three patients.
All three had a clinical and pathological diagnosis of PD. Cognitive impairment was a late feature in two out of three patients. Cortical involvement varied significantly: one had diffuse Lewy Body (LB) pathology, tau inclusions and amyloid pathology consistent with advanced Alzheimer’s disease; one had diffuse cortical LB and one had only brainstem predominant LB pathology.
Cognitive impairment may be a long term complication in G2019S mutation carriers. However, the extent of cortical involvement is variable. Larger longitudinal follow up of LRRK2 G2019S mutation carriers is required to assess for risk factors for cortical involvement and dementia.
Parkinson’s disease; Lewy Bodies; LRRK2 gene mutation; Dementia
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expansion of CAG repeats in the IT15 gene. The age-at-onset (AAO) of HD is inversely related to the CAG repeat length and the minimum length thought to cause HD is 36. Accurate estimation of the AAO distribution based on CAG repeat length is important for genetic counseling and the design of clinical trials. In the Cooperative Huntington’s Observational Research Trial (COHORT) study, the CAG repeat length is known for the proband participants. However, whether a family member shares the huntingtin gene status (CAG expanded or not) with the proband is unknown. In this work, we use the expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm to handle the missing huntingtin gene information in first-degree family members in COHORT, assuming that a family member has the same CAG length as the proband if the family member carries a huntingtin gene mutation. We perform simulation studies to examine performance of the proposed method and apply the methods to analyze COHORT proband and family combined data. Our analyses reveal that the estimated cumulative risk of HD symptom onset obtained from the combined data is slightly lower than the risk estimated from the proband data alone.
Genome-wide association (GWAS) methods have identified genes contributing to Parkinson disease (PD); we sought to identify additional genes associated with PD susceptibility.
A two stage design was used. First, individual level genotypic data from five recent PD GWAS (Discovery Sample: 4,238 PD cases and 4,239 controls) were combined. Following imputation, a logistic regression model was employed in each dataset to test for association with PD susceptibility and results from each dataset were meta-analyzed. Second, 768 SNPs were genotyped in an independent Replication Sample (3,738 cases and 2,111 controls).
Genome-wide significance was reached for SNPs in SNCA (rs356165, G: odds ratio (OR)=1.37; p=9.3 × 10−21), MAPT (rs242559, C: OR=0.78; p=1.5 × 10−10), GAK/DGKQ (rs11248051, T:OR=1.35; p=8.2 × 10−9/ rs11248060, T: OR=1.35; p=2.0×10−9), and the HLA region (rs3129882, A: OR=0.83; p=1.2 × 10−8), which were previously reported. The Replication Sample confirmed the associations with SNCA, MAPT, and the HLA region and also with GBA (E326K OR=1.71; p=5 × 10−8 Combined Sample) (N370 OR=3.08; p=7 × 10−5 Replication sample). A novel PD susceptibility locus, RIT2, on chromosome 18 (rs12456492; p=5 × 10−5 Discovery Sample; p=1.52 × 10−7 Replication sample; p=2 × 10−10 Combined Sample) was replicated. Conditional analyses within each of the replicated regions identified distinct SNP associations within GBA and SNCA, suggesting that there may be multiple risk alleles within these genes.
We identified a novel PD susceptibility locus, RIT2, replicated several previously identified loci, and identified more than one risk allele within SNCA and GBA.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disease caused by genetic and environmental factors. We analyzed induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural cells from PD patients and presymptomatic individuals carrying mutations in the PINK1 and LRRK2 genes, and healthy control subjects. We measured several aspects of mitochondrial responses in the iPSC-derived neural cells including production of reactive oxygen species, mitochondrial respiration, proton leakage and intraneuronal movement of mitochondria. Cellular vulnerability associated with mitochondrial function in iPSC-derived neural cells from PD patients and at-risk individuals could be rescued with coenzyme Q10, rapamycin or the LRRK2 kinase inhibitor GW5074. Analysis of mitochondrial responses in iPSC-derived neural cells from PD patients carrying different mutations provides insights into convergence of cellular disease mechanisms between different familial forms of PD and highlights the importance of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in PD.
The basal ganglia are known to play a crucial role in movement execution, but their importance for motor skill learning remains unclear. Obstacles to our understanding include the lack of a universally accepted definition of motor skill learning (definition confound), and difficulties in distinguishing learning deficits from execution impairments (performance confound). We studied how healthy subjects and subjects with a basal ganglia disorder learn fast accurate reaching movements. We addressed the definition and performance confounds by: (1) focusing on an operationally defined core element of motor skill learning (speed-accuracy learning), and (2) using normal variation in initial performance to separate movement execution impairment from motor learning abnormalities. We measured motor skill learning as performance improvement in a reaching task with a speed-accuracy trade-off. We compared the performance of subjects with Huntington's disease (HD), a neurodegenerative basal ganglia disorder, to that of premanifest carriers of the HD mutation and of control subjects. The initial movements of HD subjects were less skilled (slower and/or less accurate) than those of control subjects. To factor out these differences in initial execution, we modeled the relationship between learning and baseline performance in control subjects. Subjects with HD exhibited a clear learning impairment that was not explained by differences in initial performance. These results support a role for the basal ganglia in both movement execution and motor skill learning.
motor skill; kinematics; reaching; striatum; basal ganglia; movement disorder; neurodegenerative; neurological
Our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of many neurological disorders has been greatly enhanced by the discovery of mutations in genes linked to familial forms of these diseases. These have facilitated the generation of cell and animal models that can be used to understand the underlying molecular pathology. Recently, there has been a surge of interest in the use of patient-derived cells, due to the development of induced pluripotent stem cells and their subsequent differentiation into neurons and glia. Access to patient cell lines carrying the relevant mutations is a limiting factor for many centres wishing to pursue this research. We have therefore generated an open-access collection of fibroblast lines from patients carrying mutations linked to neurological disease. These cell lines have been deposited in the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Repository at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research and can be requested by any research group for use in in vitro disease modelling. There are currently 71 mutation-defined cell lines available for request from a wide range of neurological disorders and this collection will be continually expanded. This represents a significant resource that will advance the use of patient cells as disease models by the scientific community.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor, cognitive and behavioral disturbances, caused by the expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat in the HD gene. The CAG allele size is the major determinant of age at onset (AO) of motor symptoms, although the remaining variance in AO is highly heritable. The rs7665116 SNP in PPARGC1A, encoding the mitochondrial regulator PGC-1α, has been reported to be a significant modifier of AO in three European HD cohorts, perhaps due to affected cases from Italy. We attempted to replicate these findings in a large collection of (1,727) HD patient DNA samples of European origin. In the entire cohort, rs7665116 showed a significant effect in the dominant model (p value = 0.008) and the additive model (p value = 0.009). However, when examined by origin, cases of Southern European origin had an increased rs7665116 minor allele frequency (MAF), consistent with this being an ancestry-tagging SNP. The Southern European cases, despite similar mean CAG allele size, had a significantly older mean AO (p < 0.001), suggesting population-dependent phenotype stratification. When the generalized estimating equations models were adjusted for ancestry, the effect of the rs7665116 genotype on AO decreased dramatically. Our results do not support rs7665116 as a modifier of AO of motor symptoms, as we found evidence for a dramatic effect of phenotypic (AO) and genotypic (MAF) stratification among European cohorts that was not considered in previously reported association studies. A significantly older AO in Southern Europe may reflect population differences in genetic or environmental factors that warrant further investigation.
The cognitive profile of early onset Parkinson’s disease (EOPD) has not been clearly defined. Mutations in the parkin gene are the most common genetic risk factor for EOPD and may offer information about the neuropsychological pattern of performance in both symptomatic and asymptomatic mutation carriers.
EOPD probands and their first-degree relatives who did not have Parkinson’s disease (PD) were genotyped for mutations in the parkin gene and administered a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. Performance was compared between EOPD probands with (N=43) and without (N=52) parkin mutations. The same neuropsychological battery was administered to 217 first-degree relatives to assess neuropsychological function in individuals who carry parkin mutations but do not have PD.
No significant differences in neuropsychological test performance were found between parkin carrier and non-carrier probands. Performance also did not differ between EOPD non-carriers and carrier subgroups (i.e. heterozygotes, compound heterozygotes/homozygotes). Similarly, no differences were found among unaffected family members across genotypes. Mean neuropsychological test performance was within normal range in all probands and relatives.
Carriers of parkin mutations, whether or not they have PD, do not perform differently on neuropsychological measures as compared to non-carriers. The cognitive functioning of parkin carriers over time warrants further study.
Parkinson’s disease; genetics; neuropsychological assessment; genotype; PARK2; parkin mutation
Despite effective and widely available suppressive anti-HIV therapy, the prevalence of mild neurocognitive dysfunction continues to increase. HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) is a multifactorial disease with sustained central nervous system inflammation and immune activation as prominent features. Inflammatory macrophages, HIV-infected and uninfected, play a central role in the development of HIV dementia. There is a critical need to identify biomarkers and to better understand the molecular mechanisms leading to cognitive dysfunction in HAND. In this regard, we identified through a subtractive hybridization strategy osteopontin (OPN, SPP1, gene) an inflammatory marker, as an upregulated gene in HIV-infected primary human monocyte-derived macrophages. Knockdown of OPN in primary macrophages resulted in a threefold decrease in HIV-1 replication. Ectopic expression of OPN in the TZM-bl cell line significantly enhanced HIV infectivity and replication. A significant increase in the degradation of the NF-κB inhibitor, IκBα and an increase in the nuclear-to-cytoplasmic ratio of NF-κB were found in HIV-infected cells expressing OPN compared to controls. Moreover, mutation of the NF-κB binding domain in the HIV-LTR abrogated enhanced promoter activity stimulated by OPN. Interestingly, compared to cerebrospinal fluid from normal and multiple sclerosis controls, OPN levels were significantly higher in HIV-infected individuals both with and without neurocognitive disorder. OPN levels were highest in HIV-infected individuals with moderate to severe cognitive impairment. Moreover, OPN was significantly elevated in brain tissue from HIV-infected individuals with cognitive disorder versus those without impairment. Collectively, these data suggest that OPN stimulates HIV-1 replication and that high levels of OPN are present in the CNS compartment of HIV-infected individuals, reflecting ongoing inflammatory processes at this site despite anti-HIV therapy.
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder; CD44; Nef
Precision grip control is important for accurate object manipulation and requires coordination between horizontal (grip) and vertical (load) fingertip forces. Manifest Huntington’s disease (HD) subjects demonstrate excessive and highly variable grip force and delayed coordination between grip and load forces. Because the onset of these impairments is unknown, we examined precision grip control in premanifest HD (pre-HD) subjects. Fifteen pre-HD and 15 age- and sex-matched controls performed the precision grip task in a seated position. Subjects grasped and lifted an object instrumented with a force transducer that measured horizontal grip and vertical load forces. Outcomes were preload time, loading time, maximum grip force, mean static grip force, and variability for all measures. We compared outcomes across groups and correlated grip measures with the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale and predicted age of onset. Variability of maximum grip force (P < .0001) and variability of static grip force (P < .00001) were higher for pre-HD subjects. Preload time (P < .007) and variability of preload time (P < .006) were higher in pre-HD subjects. No differences were seen in loading time across groups. Variability of static grip force (r2 = 0.23) and variability of preload time (r2 = 0.59) increased with predicted onset and were correlated with tests of cognitive function. Our results indicate that pre-HD patients have poor regulation of the transition between reach and grasp and higher variability in force application and temporal coordination during the precision grip task. Force and temporal variability may be good markers of disease severity because they were correlated with predicted onset of disease.
Huntington’s disease; premanifest; precision grip; motor control
Crohn's disease (CD) is a complex disorder resulting from the interaction of intestinal microbiota with the host immune system in genetically susceptible individuals. The largest meta-analysis of genome-wide association to date identified 71 CD–susceptibility loci in individuals of European ancestry. An important epidemiological feature of CD is that it is 2–4 times more prevalent among individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) descent compared to non-Jewish Europeans (NJ). To explore genetic variation associated with CD in AJs, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) by combining raw genotype data across 10 AJ cohorts consisting of 907 cases and 2,345 controls in the discovery stage, followed up by a replication study in 971 cases and 2,124 controls. We confirmed genome-wide significant associations of 9 known CD loci in AJs and replicated 3 additional loci with strong signal (p<5×10−6). Novel signals detected among AJs were mapped to chromosomes 5q21.1 (rs7705924, combined p = 2×10−8; combined odds ratio OR = 1.48), 2p15 (rs6545946, p = 7×10−9; OR = 1.16), 8q21.11 (rs12677663, p = 2×10−8; OR = 1.15), 10q26.3 (rs10734105, p = 3×10−8; OR = 1.27), and 11q12.1 (rs11229030, p = 8×10−9; OR = 1.15), implicating biologically plausible candidate genes, including RPL7, CPAMD8, PRG2, and PRG3. In all, the 16 replicated and newly discovered loci, in addition to the three coding NOD2 variants, accounted for 11.2% of the total genetic variance for CD risk in the AJ population. This study demonstrates the complementary value of genetic studies in the Ashkenazim.
Crohn's disease causes inflammation of the digestive tract resulting from the interaction of normal gut bacteria with the host immune system in genetically predisposed individuals. People of Jewish heritage have an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease compared to non-Jewish Europeans. So far, 71 genetic variants that increase the risk of Crohn's disease have been identified in individuals of European ancestry. Here, we take advantage of recent technical and methodological advances to explore Crohn's diseases-related genetic variants specific to the Ashkenazi Jewish population. We examined 6,347 individuals whose Jewish ancestry was confirmed by a large number of genetic markers and detected several variants associated with the increased risk of Crohn' disease. We confirmed the involvement of 12 known Crohn's disease risk variants in Ashkenazi Jews and identified novel genetic regions not previously found in non-Jewish European populations. Further studies of these regions may help discover biological pathways affecting susceptibility to Crohn's disease and lead to the development of novel treatments. This study also demonstrates the complementary value of genetic studies in isolated populations, like the Ashkenazim.
The purpose of this study was to examine longitudinal change in gait and motor function in pre-manifest Huntington’s disease (HD).
We examined ten pre-manifest subjects at baseline, one and five years. Quantitative gait data were collected with an electronic mat (GAITRite®). We analyzed measures related to speed (velocity, step length, cadence), asymmetry (step length difference), dynamic balance (percent time in double support, support base) and variability in stride length and swing time. Motor function was assessed with the motor component of the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale.
Gait velocity decreased (p=0.001), whereas step length difference (p=0.006), stride length variability (p=0.0001) and swing time variability increased (p=0.0001) from baseline to year five. Step length difference (p<0.05) and swing time variability (p<0.05) increased marginally in one year from baseline. UHDRS Total motor score increased over five years (p=0.003), though the increase in one year was not significant (p=0.053). Of the individual motor domain scores (eye, hand movements, gait and balance, chorea) only dystonia worsened over five years (p=0.02). Total motor score (r2= 0.49, p<0.001) and swing time variability (r2= 0.22, p<0.009) were correlated with estimated years to diagnosis.
Our results present the longest longitudinal follow up of gait in pre-manifest HD thus far. Despite the small sample size, quantitative gait analysis was able to detect changes in gait speed, symmetry and variability. Swing time variability was particularly important because it increased in one year from baseline and was correlated with estimated time to diagnosis. Our results highlight the importance of predictive outcomes such as gait variability using quantitative analysis.
Although current reports document a high rate of obsessive and compulsive symptoms (O/Cs) in Huntington disease (HD), there have been no studies published that have made an attempt to identify comorbidities of O/Cs in HD. We examined O/Cs in 1,642 individuals with a diagnosis of HD. Of those endorsing significant O/Cs (27.2%), nearly one-quarter reported obtaining treatment for OCD. Individuals with HD and O/Cs were older, had poorer functioning, and a longer duration of illness than those without O/Cs. Individuals with HD and O/Cs endorsed significantly higher psychiatric comorbidities of depression, suicidal ideation, aggression, delusions and hallucinations. Participants with the most severe O/Cs had greater bradykinesia and worse performance on the Stroop task, a measure of executive function. Clinicians should be aware that patients with HD and O/Cs might have a somewhat different clinical picture from those without, and may require a specialized treatment plan.
Huntington disease; obsessive compulsive symptoms; comorbidity; cognition; motor signs; psychopathology
To date, nine Parkinson disease (PD) genome-wide association studies in North American, European and Asian populations have been published. The majority of studies have confirmed the association of the previously identified genetic risk factors, SNCA and MAPT, and two studies have identified three new PD susceptibility loci/genes (PARK16, BST1 and HLA-DRB5). In a recent meta-analysis of datasets from five of the published PD GWAS an additional 6 novel candidate genes (SYT11, ACMSD, STK39, MCCC1/LAMP3, GAK and CCDC62/HIP1R) were identified. Collectively the associations identified in these GWAS account for only a small proportion of the estimated total heritability of PD suggesting that an 'unknown' component of the genetic architecture of PD remains to be identified.
We applied a GWAS approach to a relatively homogeneous Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) population from New York to search for both 'rare' and 'common' genetic variants that confer risk of PD by examining any SNPs with allele frequencies exceeding 2%. We have focused on a genetic isolate, the AJ population, as a discovery dataset since this cohort has a higher sharing of genetic background and historically experienced a significant bottleneck. We also conducted a replication study using two publicly available datasets from dbGaP. The joint analysis dataset had a combined sample size of 2,050 cases and 1,836 controls.
We identified the top 57 SNPs showing the strongest evidence of association in the AJ dataset (p < 9.9 × 10-5). Six SNPs located within gene regions had positive signals in at least one other independent dbGaP dataset: LOC100505836 (Chr3p24), LOC153328/SLC25A48 (Chr5q31.1), UNC13B (9p13.3), SLCO3A1(15q26.1), WNT3(17q21.3) and NSF (17q21.3). We also replicated published associations for the gene regions SNCA (Chr4q21; rs3775442, p = 0.037), PARK16 (Chr1q32.1; rs823114 (NUCKS1), p = 6.12 × 10-4), BST1 (Chr4p15; rs12502586, p = 0.027), STK39 (Chr2q24.3; rs3754775, p = 0.005), and LAMP3 (Chr3; rs12493050, p = 0.005) in addition to the two most common PD susceptibility genes in the AJ population LRRK2 (Chr12q12; rs34637584, p = 1.56 × 10-4) and GBA (Chr1q21; rs2990245, p = 0.015).
We have demonstrated the utility of the AJ dataset in PD candidate gene and SNP discovery both by replication in dbGaP datasets with a larger sample size and by replicating association of previously identified PD susceptibility genes. Our GWAS study has identified candidate gene regions for PD that are implicated in neuronal signalling and the dopamine pathway.
Parkinson's disease; GWAS; Ashkenazi Jews; case-control study; candidate genes
While little is known about risk factors for cognitive impairment in early onset Parkinson disease (EOPD), postmortem studies have shown an association between dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and glucocerebrosidase (GBA) mutation. We compared Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) performance and self-reported cognitive impairment in 699 EOPD participants genotyped for mutations in parkin (PRKN), leucine-rich repeat kinase-2 (LRRK2), and GBA. Logistic regression was used to assess the association between reported cognitive impairment and MMSE score, as well as between GBA group membership and self-reported impairment and MMSE. GBA carriers reported more impairment, but MMSE performance did not differ among genetic groups. Detailed neuropsychological testing is required to explore the association between cognitive impairment and GBA mutations.
Parkin; Leucine-rich repeat kinase-2; Glucocerebrosidase; Parkinson; Cognition; Mini-Mental State Examination; Genetics