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1.  Association between 9p21 Genomic Markers and Ischemic Stroke Risk: Evidence Based on 21 Studies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90255.
Epidemiological studies indicate a genetic contribution to ischemic stroke risk, but specific genetic variants remain unknown. Recently independent studies reported an association between coronary heart disease and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located at chromosome 9p21 (rs10757278 and proxy SNPs). Given that stroke is a common complication after myocardial infarction, several validation studies have been conducted among various ethnic populations to investigate if the same loci was associated with ischemic stroke (IS), but the results have been inconsistent. To investigate this inconsistency and derive a more precise estimation of the relationship, a meta-analysis of 34,128 cases and 153,428 controls from 21 studies was performed. Potential sources of heterogeneity including ethnicity, sample size, control source and ischemic stroke subtypes were also assessed. Overall, the summary odds ratio of IS was 1.11 (95% CI: 1.07–1.15, P<10−5) for rs10757278. In the subgroup analysis by ethnicity, significantly increased risks were found in East Asians (3188 cases and 4503 controls; OR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.07–1.21, P<10−5) and Caucasians (30505 cases and 145153controls; OR = 1.08, 95% CI: 1.04–1.12, P<10−5) for the polymorphism; while no significant associations were found among African Americans (435 cases and 3772 controls; OR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.63–1.51, P = 0.90) in all genetic models. In the subgroup analyses by IS subtypes, significant association was detected only in large vessel stroke group, while no significant associations among small vessel or cardioembolic stroke. When stratified by sample size, and control source, significantly increased risks were found for the polymorphism in all genetic models. This meta-analysis provides accurate and comprehensive estimates of the association of genetic variant at chromosome 9p21 and IS, but these associations vary in different ethnic populations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090255
PMCID: PMC3953076  PMID: 24625579
2.  Sequence variants in eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4-gamma (eIF4G1) are associated with Lewy body dementia 
Acta neuropathologica  2012;125(3):425-438.
We recently reported a missense mutation and four variants in eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4-gamma (EIF4G1) associated with parkinsonism, dementia or both. In those with a positive family history, the mode of inheritance was autosomal dominant. Detailed neuropathologic descriptions of individuals with EIF4G1 genetic variants have not been reported. Herein, we report neuropathologic findings of three individuals from two American families with EIF4G1 variants. The patients had initial clinical presentations of dementia or parkinsonism and all had dementia at the time of autopsy. One family carried an EIF4G1 double variant, c.2056G>T (p.G686C) and c.3589C>T (p.R1197W), and one family carried variant c.1505C>T (p.A502V). All three patients also carried at least one ε4 allele of apolipoprotein E. One individual presented with cognitive impairment without significant parkinsonism; one presented with memory problems followed by bradykinesia; and the third presented with cardinal signs of Parkinson’s disease, followed more than a year later by cognitive dysfunction. Pathological examination showed diffuse cortical Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites in all patients. A small subset of Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites were immunopositive for eIF4G1. All patients had moderate to frequent non-neuritic, cortical amyloid plaques, mostly medial temporal neurofibrillary pathology (Braak neurofibrillary tangle stages of II to IV), and minimal or no TDP-43 pathology. The results suggest that in some patients variants in EIF4G1 can be associated with pathology that has a high likelihood of association with clinical features of dementia with Lewy bodies.
doi:10.1007/s00401-012-1059-4
PMCID: PMC3580022  PMID: 23124435
APOE; dementia with Lewy bodies; diffuse Lewy body disease; EIF4G1; parkinsonism; α-synuclein; tau
3.  Common Variants within Oxidative Phosphorylation Genes Influence Risk of Ischemic Stroke and Intracerebral Hemorrhage 
Background and Purpose
Prior studies demonstrated association between mitochondrial DNA variants and ischemic stroke (IS). We investigated whether variants within a larger set of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) genes encoded by both autosomal and mitochondrial DNA were associated with risk of IS and, based on our results, extended our investigation to intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).
Methods
This association study employed a discovery cohort of 1643 individuals, a validation cohort of 2432 individuals for IS, and an extension cohort of 1476 individuals for ICH. Gene-set enrichment analysis (GSEA) was performed on all structural OXPHOS genes, as well as genes contributing to individual respiratory complexes. Gene-sets passing GSEA were tested by constructing genetic scores using common variants residing within each gene. Associations between each variant and IS that emerged in the discovery cohort were examined in validation and extension cohorts.
Results
IS was associated with genetic risk scores in OXPHOS as a whole (odds ratio (OR)=1.17, p=0.008) and Complex I (OR=1.06, p=0.050). Among IS subtypes, small vessel (SV) stroke showed association with OXPHOS (OR=1.16, p=0.007), Complex I (OR=1.13, p=0.027) and Complex IV (OR 1.14, p=0.018). To further explore this SV association, we extended our analysis to ICH, revealing association between deep hemispheric ICH and Complex IV (OR=1.08, p=0.008).
Conclusions
This pathway analysis demonstrates association between common genetic variants within OXPHOS genes and stroke. The associations for SV stroke and deep ICH suggest that genetic variation in OXPHOS influences small vessel pathobiology. Further studies are needed to identify culprit genetic variants and assess their functional consequences.
doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.112.672089
PMCID: PMC3582722  PMID: 23362085
OXPHOS; mitochondria; stroke; genes
4.  TARDBP mutations in Parkinson’s disease 
Parkinsonism & related disorders  2012;19(3):312-315.
Mutations of the TARDBP gene encoding TDP-43 protein have been shown to cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and have been reported to present with clinical heterogeneity including parkinsonism. In addition, TDP-43 pathology has been observed across a spectrum of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Herein we report the presence of a TDP-43 mutation in a patient with a clinical diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. The TDP-43 p.N267S substitution has been previously implicated in both amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia. Our findings widen the phenotypic presentation for the TDP-43 p.N267S substitution and support a possible role for rare TDP-43 mutations presenting with Parkinson’s disease.
doi:10.1016/j.parkreldis.2012.11.003
PMCID: PMC3582838  PMID: 23231971
TDP-43; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Parkinson’s disease
5.  A prognostic view on the application of individualized genomics in Parkinson’s disease 
Parkinson’s disease is a common age-related progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Over the last 15 years advances have been made in our understanding of the etiology of the disease, with the greatest insights perhaps coming from genetic studies. The identification of a number of genes that harbor pathogenic mutations causing Parkinson’s disease have on the whole driven the development of disease model systems and nominated a number of therapeutic targets. As we move towards an era of personalized medicine, genetic determinants will become even more crucial for accurate diagnosis, and assessing prognosis and outcomes. The individual genomic profile and risk assessments will in the long-term determine clinical trial participation, treatment plans and therapeutic dosing. Herein we discuss the status of genetics in Parkinson’s disease and how these factors may affect the patient care in the future.
doi:10.1007/s40142-012-0003-1
PMCID: PMC3596092  PMID: 23504498
Parkinson’s disease; genetics; diagnosis; individualized medicine; genomics
6.  LINGO1 and LINGO2 variants are associated with essential tremor and Parkinson disease 
Neurogenetics  2010;11(4):401-408.
Genetic variation in the leucine-rich repeat and Ig domain containing 1 gene (LINGO1) was recently associated with an increased risk of developing essential tremor (ET) and Parkinson disease (PD). Herein, we performed a comprehensive study of LINGO1 and its paralog LINGO2 in ET and PD by sequencing both genes in patients (ET, n=95; PD, n=96) and by examining haplotype-tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNPs) in a multicenter North American series of patients (ET, n=1,247; PD, n=633) and controls (n=642). The sequencing study identified six novel coding variants in LINGO1 (p.S4C, p.V107M, p.A277T, p.R423R, p.G537A, p.D610D) and three in LINGO2 (p.D135D, p.P217P, p.V565V), however segregation analysis did not support pathogenicity. The association study employed 16 tSNPs at the LINGO1 locus and 21 at the LINGO2 locus. One variant in LINGO1 (rs9652490) displayed evidence of an association with ET (odds ratio (OR)=0.63; P=0.026) and PD (OR=0.54; P=0.016). Additionally, four other tSNPs in LINGO1 and one in LINGO2 were associated with ET and one tSNP in LINGO2 associated with PD (P<0.05). Further analysis identified one tSNP in LINGO1 and two in LINGO2 which influenced age at onset of ET and two tSNPs in LINGO1 which altered age at onset of PD (P<0.05). Our results support a role for LINGO1 and LINGO2 in determining risk for and perhaps age at onset of ET and PD. Further studies are warranted to confirm these findings and to determine the pathogenic mechanisms involved.
doi:10.1007/s10048-010-0241-x
PMCID: PMC3930084  PMID: 20369371
Essential tremor; Parkinson disease; LINGO1; LINGO2; Genetic association
7.  Genetics of Parkinson disease and essential tremor 
Current opinion in neurology  2010;23(4):388-393.
Purpose of review
Elucidating the genetic background of Parkinson disease and essential tremor is crucial to understand the pathogenesis and improve diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
Recent findings
A number of approaches have been applied including familial and association studies, and studies of gene expression profiles to identify genes involved in susceptibility to Parkinson disease. These studies have nominated a number of candidate Parkinson disease genes and novel loci including Omi/HtrA2, GIGYF2, FGF20, PDXK, EIF4G1 and PARK16. A recent notable finding has been the confirmation for the role of heterozygous mutations in glucocerebrosidase (GBA) as risk factors for Parkinson disease. Finally, association studies have nominated genetic variation in the leucine-rich repeat and Ig containing 1 gene (LINGO1) as a risk for both Parkinson disease and essential tremor, providing the first genetic evidence of a link between the two conditions.
Summary
Although undoubtedly genes remain to be identified, considerable progress has been achieved in the understanding of the genetic basis of Parkinson disease. This same effort is now required for essential tremor. The use of next-generation high-throughput sequencing and genotyping technologies will help pave the way for future insight leading to advances in diagnosis, prevention and cure.
doi:10.1097/WCO.0b013e32833b1f4c
PMCID: PMC3930090  PMID: 20489616
essential tremor; genetics; LINGO1; PARK16; Parkinson disease
8.  Analysis of the C9orf72 repeat in Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and restless legs syndrome 
Parkinsonism & related disorders  2012;19(2):198-201.
The hexanucleotide expanded repeat (GGGGCC) in intron 1 of the C9orf72 gene is recognized as the most common genetic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). However, as part of the clinical phenotype, some patients present with parkinsonism. The present study investigated the potential expansion or association of the C9orf72 repeat length with susceptibility to Parkinson’s disease and related disorders, essential tremor and restless legs syndrome. One restless legs syndrome patient was shown to harbor a repeat expansion, however on clinical follow-up this patient was observed to have developed frontotemporal dementia. There was no evidence of association of repeat length on disease risk or age-at-onset for any of the three disorders. Therefore the C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion appears to be specific to TDP-43 driven amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and dementia.
doi:10.1016/j.parkreldis.2012.09.013
PMCID: PMC3570692  PMID: 23084342
C9orf72; expanded repeat; PD; ET; RLS; genetic association
9.  Genetic variants associated with myocardial infarction in the PSMA6 gene and Chr9p21 are also associated with ischemic stroke 
Background
Ischemic stroke shares common traditional risk factors with coronary artery disease (CAD) and myocardial infarction (MI). This study evaluated whether genetic risk factors for CAD and MI also affect susceptibility to ischemic stroke in Caucasians and African Americans.
Methods
Included in the study were a Caucasian series (713 ischemic stroke patients, 708 controls) and a small African American series (166 ischemic stroke patients, 117 controls). Twenty single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously shown to be associated with CAD or MI were genotyped and assessed for association with ischemic stroke and ischemic stroke subtypes using odds ratios (ORs) from multivariable logistic regression models.
Results
In Caucasians, four SNPs on chromosome 9p21 were significantly associated with risk of cardioembolic stroke, the strongest of which was rs1333040 (OR=1.55, P=0.0007); similar but weaker trends were observed for small vessel stroke, with no associations observed regarding large vessel stroke. Chromosome 9p21 SNPs were also associated with risk of ischemic stroke in African Americans (rs1333040: OR=0.65, P=0.023; rs1333042, OR=0.55, P=0.070; rs2383207: OR=0.55, P=0.070). The PSMA6 SNP rs1048990 on chromosome 14q13 was associated with overall ischemic stroke in both Caucasians (OR: 0.80, P=0.036) and African Americans (OR: 0.31, P=0.020).
Conclusions
Our results provide evidence that chromosome 9p21 variants are associated with cardioembolic ischemic stroke in Caucasians and with overall ischemic stroke in African Americans. The PSMA6 variant rs1048990 also appears to affect susceptibility to ischemic stroke in both populations. These findings require validation, particularly the preliminary findings regarding African Americans given the small size of that series.
doi:10.1111/j.1468-1331.2012.03846.x
PMCID: PMC3711397  PMID: 22882272
genetics; single nucleotide polymorphism; ischemic stroke; coronary artery disease; myocardial infarction
10.  Genomic investigation of α-Synuclein multiplication and parkinsonism 
Annals of neurology  2008;63(6):10.1002/ana.21380.
Objective
Copy number variation is a common polymorphic phenomenon within the human genome. While the majority of these events are non-deleterious they can also be highly pathogenic. Herein we characterize five families with parkinsonism that have been identified to harbor multiplication of the chromosomal 4q21 locus containing the α-synuclein gene (SNCA).
Methods
A methodological approach employing fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and Affymetrix 250K SNP microarrays (CHIPs) was used to characterize the multiplication in each family and identify the genes encoded within the region. The telomeric and centromeric breakpoints of each family were further narrowed using semi-quantitative PCR with microsatellite markers and then screened for transposable repeat elements.
Results
The severity of clinical presentation is correlated with SNCA dosage and does not appear to be overtly effected by the presence of other genes in the multiplicated region. With the exception of the Lister kindred, in each family the multiplication event appears de novo. The type and position of Alu/LINE repeats are also different at each breakpoint. Microsatellite analysis demonstrates two genomic mechanisms are responsible for chromosome 4q21 multiplications, including both SNCA duplication and triplication.
Interpretation
SNCA dosage is responsible for parkinsonism, autonomic dysfunction and dementia observed within each family. We hypothesize dysregulated expression of wild-type α-synuclein results in parkinsonism and may explain the recent association of common SNCA variants in sporadic Parkinson’s disease. SNCA genomic duplication results from intra-allelic (segmental duplication) or inter-allelic recombination with unequal crossing-over, whereas both mechanisms appear to be required for genomic SNCA triplication.
doi:10.1002/ana.21380
PMCID: PMC3850281  PMID: 18571778
Parkinsonism; SNCA; Genomic multiplication; Alu repeat; Parkinson’s disease
11.  Length of normal alleles of C9ORF72 GGGGCC repeat do not influence disease phenotype 
Neurobiology of aging  2012;33(12):2950.e5-2950.e7.
Expansions of the non-coding GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat in the chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) gene were recently identified as the long sought-after cause of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on chromosome 9p. In this study we aimed to determine whether the length of the normal - unexpanded - allele of the GGGGCC repeat in C9ORF72 plays a role in the presentation of disease or affects age at onset in C9ORF72 mutation carriers. We also studied whether the GGGGCC repeat length confers risk or affects age at onset in FTD and ALS patients without C9ORF72 repeat expansions. C9ORF72 genotyping was performed in 580 FTD, 995 ALS and 160 FTD-ALS patients and 1444 controls, leading to the identification of 211 patients with pathogenic C9ORF72 repeat expansions and an accurate quantification of the length of the normal alleles in all patients and controls. No meaningful association between the repeat length of the normal alleles of the GGGGCC repeat in C9ORF72 and disease phenotype or age at onset was observed in C9ORF72 mutation carriers or non-mutation carriers.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2012.07.005
PMCID: PMC3617405  PMID: 22840558
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Frontotemporal Dementia; C9ORF72; Repeat-expansion disease; Association study
12.  GWAS risk factors in Parkinson’s disease: LRRK2 coding variation and genetic interaction with PARK16  
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a multifactorial movement disorder characterized by progressive neurodegeneration. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have nominated over fifteen distinct loci associated with risk of PD, however the biological mechanisms by which these loci influence disease risk are mostly unknown. GWAS are only the first step in the identification of disease genes: the specific causal variants responsible for the risk within the associated loci and the interactions between them must be identified to fully comprehend their impact on the development of PD. In the present study, we first attempted to replicate the association signals of 17 PD GWAS loci in our series of 1381 patients with PD and 1328 controls. BST1, SNCA, HLA-DRA, CCDC62/HIP1R and MAPT all showed a significant association with PD under different models of inheritance and LRRK2 showed a suggestive association. We then examined the role of coding LRRK2 variants in the GWAS association signal for that gene. The previously identified LRRK2 risk mutant p.M1646T and protective haplotype p.N551K-R1398H-K1423K did not explain the association signal of LRRK2 in our series. Finally, we investigated the gene-gene interaction between PARK16 and LRRK2 that has previously been proposed. We observed no interaction between PARK16 and LRRK2 GWAS variants, but did observe a non-significant trend toward interaction between PARK16 and LRRK2 variants within the protective haplotype. Identification of causal variants and the interactions between them is the crucial next step in making biological sense of the massive amount of data generated by GWAS studies. Future studies combining larger sample sizes will undoubtedly shed light on the complex molecular interplay leading to the development of PD.
PMCID: PMC3852568  PMID: 24319646
Association studies in genetics; Parkinson’s disease/Parkinsonism
13.  Association of the APOE, MTHFR and ACE Genes Polymorphisms and Stroke in Zambian Patients 
Neurology International  2013;5(4):e20.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the association of APOE, MTHFR and ACE polymorphisms with stroke in the Zambian population. We analyzed 41 stroke patients and 116 control subjects all of Zambian origin for associations between the genotype of the APOE, MTHFR and ACE polymorphisms and stroke. The APOE ε2ε4 genotype showed increased risk for hemorrhagic stroke (P<0.05) and also a high risk for ischemic stroke (P=0.05). There was complete absence of the APOE ε2ε2 and the MTHFR TT genotypes in the Zambian population. The difference between cases and controls was not significant for the other genetic variants when analyzed for relationship between stroke, stroke subtype and genotype. We show that genetic variation at the APOE locus affects susceptibility to stroke. No detectable association were observed for the MTHFR and ACE genotypes and stroke in the Zambian population.
doi:10.4081/ni.2013.e20
PMCID: PMC3883065  PMID: 24416484
Sub-Saharan Africa; Zambia; ischemic stroke; intra-cerebral hemorrhage; outcome; risks factors
14.  Neuropathologically defined subtypes of Alzheimer’s disease differ significantly from neurofibrillary tangle-predominant dementia 
Acta neuropathologica  2012;124(5):681-692.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can be classified based on the relative density of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in the hippocampus and association cortices into three subtypes: typical AD, hippocampal-sparing AD (HpSp AD), and limbic-predominant AD (LP AD). AD subtypes not only have pathologic, but also demographic, clinical, and genetic differences. Neurofibrillary tangle-predominant dementia (NFTD), a disorder with NFTs relatively restricted to limbic structures, shares this feature with LP AD raising the possibility that NFTD is a variant of AD. The objective criteria for pathologic diagnosis of NFTD are not available. A goal of this study was to design a mathematical algorithm that could diagnose NFTD from NFT and senile plaque (SP) counts in hippocampus and association cortices, analogous to that used to subtype AD. Moreover, we aimed to compare pathologic, demographic, clinical, and genetic features of NFTD (n = 18) with LP AD (n = 19), as well as the other AD subtypes, typical AD (n = 52) and HpSp AD (n = 17). Using digital microscopy, we confirmed that burden of phospho-tau (CP13) and of an NFT conformational epitope (Ab39) correlated with NFT densities and showed expected patterns across AD subtypes. HpSp AD had the highest and LP AD had the lowest burden of cortical CP13 and Ab39 immunoreactivity. On the other hand, cortical β-amyloid burden did not significantly differ between AD subtypes. Semi-quantitative assessment of SPs in the basal ganglia did show HpSp AD to have significantly more frequent presence of SPs compared to typical AD, which was more frequent than LP AD. Compared to LP AD, NFTD had an older age at disease onset and shorter disease duration, as well as lower Braak NFT stage. NFTs and SPs on thioflavin-S fluorescent microscopy, as well as CP13, Ab39, and Aβ immunoreactivities were very low in the frontal cortex of NFTD, differentiating NFTD from AD subtypes, including LP AD. MAPT H1H1 genotype frequency was high (~70 %) in NFTD and LP AD, and similar to typical AD, while APOE ε4 carrier state was low in NFTD. While it shares clinical similarities with regard to female sex predominance, onset in advanced age, and a slow cognitive decline, NFTD has significant pathologic differences from LP AD, suggesting that it may not merely be a variant of AD.
doi:10.1007/s00401-012-1044-y
PMCID: PMC3483034  PMID: 22968369
Alzheimer disease; Neurofibrillary tangle-predominant dementia; APOE; Digital microscopy; MAPT; Neurofibrillary tangles; Amyloid plaques; Basal ganglia
15.  A novel de novo pathogenic mutation in CACNA1A gene 
doi:10.1002/mds.25198
PMCID: PMC3477248  PMID: 23038654
episodic ataxia type 2; CACNA1A; p.R1346Stop; acetazolamide; cerebellar vermis
16.  NOTCH3 Variants and Risk of Ischemic Stroke 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75035.
Background
Mutations within the NOTCH3 gene cause cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL). CADASIL mutations appear to be restricted to the first twenty-four exons, resulting in the gain or loss of a cysteine amino acid. The role of other exonic NOTCH3 variation not involving cysteine residues and mutations in exons 25-33 in ischemic stroke remains unresolved.
Methods
All 33 exons of NOTCH3 were sequenced in 269 Caucasian probands from the Siblings With Ischemic Stroke Study (SWISS), a 70-center North American affected sibling pair study and 95 healthy Caucasian control subjects. Variants identified by sequencing in the SWISS probands were then tested for association with ischemic stroke using US Caucasian controls collected at the Mayo Clinic (n=654), and further assessed in a Caucasian (n=802) and African American (n=298) patient-control series collected through the Ischemic Stroke Genetics Study (ISGS).
Results
Sequencing of the 269 SWISS probands identified one (0.4%) with small vessel type stroke carrying a known CADASIL mutation (p.R558C; Exon 11). Of the 19 common NOTCH3 variants identified, the only variant significantly associated with ischemic stroke after multiple testing adjustment was p.R1560P (rs78501403; Exon 25) in the combined SWISS and ISGS Caucasian series (Odds Ratio [OR] 0.50, P=0.0022) where presence of the minor allele was protective against ischemic stroke. Although only significant prior to adjustment for multiple testing, p.T101T (rs3815188; Exon 3) was associated with an increased risk of small-vessel stroke (OR: 1.56, P=0.008) and p.P380P (rs61749020; Exon 7) was associated with decreased risk of large-vessel stroke (OR: 0.35, P=0.047) in Caucasians. No significant associations were observed in the small African American series.
Conclusion
Cysteine-affecting NOTCH3 mutations are rare in patients with typical ischemic stroke, however our observation that common NOTCH3 variants may be associated with risk of ischemic stroke warrants further study.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075035
PMCID: PMC3781028  PMID: 24086431
17.  Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIR) haplogroups A and B track with Natural Killer Cells and Cytokine Profile in Aged Subjects: Observations from Octo/Nonagenarians in the Belfast Elderly Longitudinal Free-living Aging STudy (BELFAST) 
Background
Natural Killer Cells (NK) play an important role in detection and elimination of virus-infected, damaged or cancer cells. NK cell function is guided by expression of Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIRs) and contributed to by the cytokine milieu. KIR molecules are grouped on NK cells into stimulatory and inhibitory KIR haplotypes A and B, through which NKs sense and tolerate HLA self-antigens or up-regulate the NK-cytotoxic response to cells with altered HLA self-antigens, damaged by viruses or tumours. We have previously described increased numbers of NK and NK-related subsets in association with sIL-2R cytokine serum levels in BELFAST octo/nonagenarians. We hypothesised that changes in KIR A and B haplotype gene frequencies could explain the increased cytokine profiles and NK compartments previously described in Belfast Elderly Longitudinal Free-living Aging STudy (BELFAST) octo/nonagenarians, who show evidence of ageing well.
Results
In the BELFAST study, 24% of octo/nonagenarians carried the KIR A haplotype and 76% KIR B haplotype with no differences for KIR A haplogroup frequency between male or female subjects (23% v 24%; p=0.88) or for KIR B haplogroup (77% v 76%; p=0.99). Octo/nonagenarian KIR A haplotype carriers showed increased NK numbers and percentage compared to Group B KIR subjects (p=0.003; p=0.016 respectively). There were no KIR A/ B haplogroup-associated changes for related CD57+CD8 (high or low) subsets. Using logistic regression, KIR B carriers were predicted to have higher IL-12 cytokine levels compared to KIR A carriers by about 3% (OR 1.03, confidence limits CI 0.99–1.09; p=0.027) and 14% higher levels for TGF-β (active), a cytokine with an anti-inflammatory role, (OR 1.14, confidence limits CI 0.99–1.09; p=0.002).
Conclusion
In this observational study, BELFAST octo/nonagenarians carrying KIR A haplotype showed higher NK cell numbers and percentage compared to KIR B carriers. Conversely, KIR B haplotype carriers, with genes encoding for activating KIRs, showed a tendency for higher serum pro-inflammatory cytokines compared to KIR A carriers. While the findings in this study should be considered exploratory they may serve to stimulate debate about the immune signatures of those who appear to age slowly and who represent a model for good quality survivor-hood.
doi:10.1186/1742-4933-10-35
PMCID: PMC3827941  PMID: 23957956
Ageing; BELFAST octo/nonagenarians; KIR A and B haplotypes; Cytokines; IL-6; IL-12; IL-12p40; IL-10; Active TGF-β; sIL-2R; TNF-α
18.  TREM2 in neurodegeneration: evidence for association of the p.R47H variant with frontotemporal dementia and Parkinson’s disease 
Background
A rare variant in the Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) gene has been reported to be a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease by two independent groups (Odds ratio between 2.9-4.5). Given the key role of TREM2 in the effective phagocytosis of apoptotic neuronal cells by microglia, we hypothesized that dysfunction of TREM2 may play a more generalized role in neurodegeneration. With this in mind we set out to assess the genetic association of the Alzheimer’s disease-related risk variant in TREM2 (rs75932628, p.R47H) with other related neurodegenerative disorders.
Results
The study included 609 patients with frontotemporal dementia, 765 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, 1493 with Parkinson’s disease, 772 with progressive supranuclear palsy, 448 with ischemic stroke and 1957 controls subjects free of neurodegenerative disease. A significant association was observed for the TREM2 p.R47H substitution in susceptibility to frontotemporal dementia (OR = 5.06; p-value = 0.001) and Parkinson’s disease (OR = 2.67; p-value = 0.026), while no evidence of association with risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, progressive supranuclear palsy or ischemic stroke was observed.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that the TREM2 p.R47H substitution is a risk factor for frontotemporal dementia and Parkinson’s disease in addition to Alzheimer’s disease. These findings suggest a more general role for TREM2 dysfunction in neurodegeneration, which could be related to its role in the immune response.
doi:10.1186/1750-1326-8-19
PMCID: PMC3691612  PMID: 23800361
TREM2; Frontotemporal dementia; Parkinson disease; Genetic association
19.  Genetic variants of α-synuclein are not associated with essential tremor 
Background
Given the overlap between Parkinson disease and essential tremor, we examined genetic variants in α-synuclein (SNCA) as risk determinants for essential tremor.
Methods
Samples from 661 essential tremor subjects and 1,316 control subjects from four participating North American sites were included in this study. Parkinson disease samples (n=427) were compared against controls for two cohorts. Twenty variants were selected for association analysis within the SNCA locus. Individual logistic regression analyses against essential tremor diagnosis and then combined using meta-analysis was run for each variant.
Results
Our results do not show a significant association between variants in the SNCA locus and risk of essential tremor, while the established association of SNCA variants with Parkinson disease risk was observed.
Conclusions
While genetic factors are likely to play a large role in essential tremor pathogenesis our results do not support a role for common SNCA genetic variants in risk for essential tremor.
doi:10.1002/mds.23909
PMCID: PMC3677575  PMID: 22025277
tremor; essential tremor; association studies in genetics; Parkinson’s disease; parkinsonism; synuclein
20.  PARK2 variability in Polish Parkinson’s disease patients - interaction with mitochondrial haplogroups 
Parkinsonism & related disorders  2012;18(5):520-524.
Aims and objectives
A new pathomechanism of Parkinson’s disease (PD) involving regulation of mitochondrial functions was recently proposed. Parkin complexed with mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) binds mtDNA and promotes mitochondrial biogenesis, which is abolished by PARK2 gene mutations. We have previously shown that mitochondrial haplogroups/clusters and TFAM common variation influenced PD risk. We investigate the role of PARK2 polymorphisms on PD risk and their interactions with mitochondrial haplogroups/clusters as well as with TFAM variability.
Methods
104 early-onset PD patients (EOPD, age at onset ≤ 50 years) were screened for PARK2 coding sequence changes including gene dosage alterations. Three selected PARK2 polymorphisms (S167N, V380L, D394N) were genotyped in 326 PD patients and 315 controls using TaqMan allelic discrimination assay.
Results
PARK2 screen revealed two heterozygous changes in two EOPD patients: exon 2 deletion and one novel synonymous variation (c.999C>A, P333P).
In association study no differences in genotype/allele frequencies of S167N, V380L, D394N were found between analyzed groups. Stratification by mitochondrial clusters revealed higher frequency of V380L G/G genotype and allele G in PD patients, within HV cluster (p=0.040; p=0.022, respectively). Moreover, interaction between genotypes G/G V380L of PARK2 and G/G rs2306604 of TFAM, within HV cluster was significant (OR 2.05; CI 1.04 – 4.04; p=0.038).
Conclusions
Our results indicate that co-occurence of G/G V380L PARK2 and G/G rs2306604 TFAM on the prooxidative HV cluster background can contribute to PD risk. We confirm low PARK2 mutation frequency in Polish EOPD patients.
doi:10.1016/j.parkreldis.2012.01.021
PMCID: PMC3358581  PMID: 22361577
Parkinson’s disease risk factors; PARK2; mitochondrial clusters; mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM)
21.  First neuropathological description of a patient with Parkinson's disease and LRRK2 p.N1437H mutation 
Parkinsonism & related disorders  2011;18(4):332-338.
The c.4309A>C mutation in the LRRK2 gene (LRRK2 p.N1437H) has recently been reported as the seventh pathogenic LRRK2 mutation causing monogenic Parkinson's disease (PD). So far, only two families worldwide have been identified with this mutation. By screening DNA from seven brains of PD patients, we found one individual with seemingly sporadic PD and LRRK2 p.N1437H mutation. Clinically, the patient had levodopa-responsive PD with tremor, and developed severe motor fluctuations during a disease duration of 19 years. There was severe and painful ON-dystonia, and severe depression with suicidal thoughts during OFF. In the advanced stage, cognition was slow during motor OFF, but there was no noticeable cognitive decline. There were no signs of autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Bilateral deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus had unsatisfactory results on motor symptoms. The patient committed suicide. Neuropathological examination revealed marked cell loss and moderate alpha-synuclein positive Lewy body pathology in the brainstem. There was sparse Lewy pathology in the cortex. A striking finding was very pronounced ubiquitin-positive pathology in the brainstem, temporolimbic regions and neocortex. Ubiquitin positivity was most pronounced in the white matter, and was out of proportion to the comparatively weaker alpha-synuclein immunoreactivity. Immunostaining for tau was mildly positive, revealing non-specific changes, but staining for TDP-43 and FUS was entirely negative. The distribution and shape of ubiquitin positive lesions in this patient differed from the few previously described patients with LRRK2 mutations and ubiquitin pathology, and the ubiquitinated protein substrate remains undefined.
doi:10.1016/j.parkreldis.2011.11.019
PMCID: PMC3330199  PMID: 22154298
Autosomal Dominant Parkinsonism; LRRK2; alpha-Synuclein; Ubiquitin; Deep Brain Stimulation; Suicide
22.  Angiogenin variation and Parkinson’s disease 
Annals of Neurology  2012;71(5):725-727.
doi:10.1002/ana.23586
PMCID: PMC3335436  PMID: 22522484
PD; ANG; genetic association; mutation
23.  An evaluation of the impact of MAPT, SNCA and APOE on the burden of Alzheimer and Lewy body pathology 
The study investigates the effects of genetic factors on the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Lewy body (LB) diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. A multicenter autopsy series (762 brain samples) with AD, LB or vascular pathology was examined. We assessed the effects of the tau gene (MAPT) H1 haplotype, the H1-specific SNP rs242557, APOE and the α-synuclein gene (SNCA) 3′UTR SNP rs356165 on the burden of AD and LB pathology. We counted neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in four brain regions, senile plaques (SPs) in five and LBs in four. We also documented Braak NFT stage, brain weight and presence of vascular pathology. MAPT H1 associated with lower counts of NFTs in the middle frontal (P<0.001) and inferior parietal (P=0.005) cortices, and also with lower counts of SPs in the motor cortex (P=0.001). Associations of MAPT H1 with increased LB counts in the middle frontal cortex (P=0.011) and inferior parietal cortex (P=0.033) were observed but were not significant after multiple testing adjustment. The APOE ε4 allele was strongly associated with overall Alzheimer type pathology (all P≤0.001). SNCA rs356165 and the MAPT H1-specific SNP rs242557 did not associate with AD or LB pathology. This study shows for the first time that MAPT H1 is associated with reduced Alzheimer type pathology, which could have important implications for the understanding of disease mechanisms and their genetic determinants.
doi:10.1136/jnnp-2011-301413
PMCID: PMC3623699  PMID: 22291217
MAPT; SNCA; APOE; Alzheimer pathology; Lewy body
24.  Meta-analysis of Parkinson disease: Identification of a novel locus, RIT2 
Annals of Neurology  2012;71(3):370-384.
Objective
Genome-wide association (GWAS) methods have identified genes contributing to Parkinson disease (PD); we sought to identify additional genes associated with PD susceptibility.
Methods
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).
Results
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.
Interpretation
We identified a novel PD susceptibility locus, RIT2, replicated several previously identified loci, and identified more than one risk allele within SNCA and GBA.
doi:10.1002/ana.22687
PMCID: PMC3354734  PMID: 22451204
25.  Large-scale replication and heterogeneity in Parkinson disease genetic loci 
Sharma, Manu | Ioannidis, John P.A. | Aasly, Jan O. | Annesi, Grazia | Brice, Alexis | Van Broeckhoven, Christine | Bertram, Lars | Bozi, Maria | Crosiers, David | Clarke, Carl | Facheris, Maurizio | Farrer, Matthew | Garraux, Gaetan | Gispert, Suzana | Auburger, Georg | Vilariño-Güell, Carles | Hadjigeorgiou, Georgios M. | Hicks, Andrew A. | Hattori, Nobutaka | Jeon, Beom | Lesage, Suzanne | Lill, Christina M. | Lin, Juei-Jueng | Lynch, Timothy | Lichtner, Peter | Lang, Anthony E. | Mok, Vincent | Jasinska-Myga, Barbara | Mellick, George D. | Morrison, Karen E. | Opala, Grzegorz | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Pichler, Irene | Park, Sung Sup | Quattrone, Aldo | Rogaeva, Ekaterina | Ross, Owen A. | Stefanis, Leonidas | Stockton, Joanne D. | Satake, Wataru | Silburn, Peter A. | Theuns, Jessie | Tan, Eng-King | Toda, Tatsushi | Tomiyama, Hiroyuki | Uitti, Ryan J. | Wirdefeldt, Karin | Wszolek, Zbigniew | Xiromerisiou, Georgia | Yueh, Kuo-Chu | Zhao, Yi | Gasser, Thomas | Maraganore, Demetrius | Krüger, Rejko | Boyle, R.S | Sellbach, A | O'Sullivan, J.D. | Sutherland, G.T. | Siebert, G.A | Dissanayaka, N.N.W | Van Broeckhoven, Christine | Theuns, Jessie | Crosiers, David | Pickut, Barbara | Engelborghs, Sebastiaan | Meeus, Bram | De Deyn, Peter P. | Cras, Patrick | Rogaeva, Ekaterina | Lang, Anthony E | Agid, Y | Anheim, M | Bonnet, A-M | Borg, M | Brice, A | Broussolle, E | Corvol, JC | Damier, P | Destée, A | Dürr, A | Durif, F | Lesage, S | Lohmann, E | Pollak, P | Rascol, O | Tison, F | Tranchant, C | Viallet, F | Vidailhet, M | Tzourio, Christophe | Amouyel, Philippe | Loriot, Marie-Anne | Mutez, Eugénie | Duflot, Aurélie | Legendre, Jean-Philippe | Waucquier, Nawal | Gasser, Thomas | Riess, Olaf | Berg, Daniela | Schulte, Claudia | Klein, Christine | Djarmati, Ana | Hagenah, Johann | Lohmann, Katja | Auburger, Georg | Hilker, Rüdiger | van de Loo, Simone | Dardiotis, Efthimios | Tsimourtou, Vaia | Ralli, Styliani | Kountra, Persa | Patramani, Gianna | Vogiatzi, Cristina | Hattori, Nobutaka | Tomiyama, Hiroyuki | Funayama, Manabu | Yoshino, Hiroyo | Li, Yuanzhe | Imamichi, Yoko | Toda, Tatsushi | Satake, Wataru | Lynch, Tim | Gibson, J. Mark | Valente, Enza Maria | Ferraris, Alessandro | Dallapiccola, Bruno | Ialongo, Tamara | Brighina, Laura | Corradi, Barbara | Piolti, Roberto | Tarantino, Patrizia | Annesi, Ferdinanda | Jeon, Beom S. | Park, Sung-Sup | Aasly, J | Opala, Grzegorz | Jasinska-Myga, Barbara | Klodowska-Duda, Gabriela | Boczarska-Jedynak, Magdalena | Tan, Eng King | Belin, Andrea Carmine | Olson, Lars | Galter, Dagmar | Westerlund, Marie | Sydow, Olof | Nilsson, Christer | Puschmann, Andreas | Lin, JJ | Maraganore, Demetrius M. | Ahlskog, J, Eric | de Andrade, Mariza | Lesnick, Timothy G. | Rocca, Walter A. | Checkoway, Harvey | Ross, Owen A | Wszolek, Zbigniew K. | Uitti, Ryan J.
Neurology  2012;79(7):659-667.
Objective:
Eleven genetic loci have reached genome-wide significance in a recent meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in Parkinson disease (PD) based on populations of Caucasian descent. The extent to which these genetic effects are consistent across different populations is unknown.
Methods:
Investigators from the Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson's Disease Consortium were invited to participate in the study. A total of 11 SNPs were genotyped in 8,750 cases and 8,955 controls. Fixed as well as random effects models were used to provide the summary risk estimates for these variants. We evaluated between-study heterogeneity and heterogeneity between populations of different ancestry.
Results:
In the overall analysis, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 9 loci showed significant associations with protective per-allele odds ratios of 0.78–0.87 (LAMP3, BST1, and MAPT) and susceptibility per-allele odds ratios of 1.14–1.43 (STK39, GAK, SNCA, LRRK2, SYT11, and HIP1R). For 5 of the 9 replicated SNPs there was nominally significant between-site heterogeneity in the effect sizes (I2 estimates ranged from 39% to 48%). Subgroup analysis by ethnicity showed significantly stronger effects for the BST1 (rs11724635) in Asian vs Caucasian populations and similar effects for SNCA, LRRK2, LAMP3, HIP1R, and STK39 in Asian and Caucasian populations, while MAPT rs2942168 and SYT11 rs34372695 were monomorphic in the Asian population, highlighting the role of population-specific heterogeneity in PD.
Conclusion:
Our study allows insight to understand the distribution of newly identified genetic factors contributing to PD and shows that large-scale evaluation in diverse populations is important to understand the role of population-specific heterogeneity. Neurology® 2012;79:659–667
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e318264e353
PMCID: PMC3414661  PMID: 22786590

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