To study retinal structure in choroideremia patients and carriers using high-resolution imaging techniques.
Subjects from four families (six female carriers and five affected males) with choroideremia (CHM) were characterized with best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), kinetic and static perimetry, full-field electroretinography, and fundus autofluorescence (FAF). High-resolution macular images were obtained with adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) and spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). Coding regions of the CHM gene were sequenced.
Molecular analysis of the CHM gene identified a deletion of exons 9 to 15 in family A, a splice site mutation at position 79+1 of exon 1 in family B, deletion of exons 6 to 8 in family C, and a substitution at position 106 causing a premature stop in family D. BCVA ranged from 20/16 to 20/63 in carriers and from 20/25 to 5/63 in affected males. FAF showed abnormalities in all subjects. SD-OCT showed outer retinal layer loss, outer retinal tubulations at the margin of outer retinal loss, and inner retinal microcysts. Patchy cone loss was present in two symptomatic carriers. In two affected males, cone mosaics were disrupted with increased cone spacing near the fovea but more normal cone spacing near the edge of atrophy.
High-resolution retinal images in CHM carriers and affected males demonstrated RPE and photoreceptor cell degeneration. As both RPE and photoreceptor cells were affected, these cell types may degenerate simultaneously in CHM. These findings provide insight into the effect of CHM mutations on macular retinal structure, with implications for the development of treatments for CHM. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00254605.)
High-resolution retinal images in choroideremia carriers and affected males demonstrated degeneration of retinal pigment epithelial and photoreceptor cells. The findings illustrate the effect of CHM mutations on macular cone structure, with implications for the development of treatments for CHM.
MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that regulate post-transcriptional gene expression. In the short time since the discovery of microRNAs, the literature has burgeoned with studies focused on the biosynthesis of microRNAs, target prediction and binding, and mechanisms of translational repression by microRNAs. Given the prominent role of microRNAs in all areas of cell biology, it is not surprising that microRNAs are also linked to human diseases, including those of the nervous system. One of the least-studied areas of microRNA research is how their expression is regulated outside of development and cancer. Thus, we examined a role for regulation of microRNAs by neurotransmitter receptor activation in mouse brain. We focused on the group I metabotropic glutamate receptors by using intracerebroventricular injection of the selective agonist, (S)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG) in mouse brain. We then examined the expression of microRNAs in the cerebral cortex by Ambion and Invitrogen microarrays, and the expression of mature microRNA sequences by SABiosciences qPCR arrays, at 4, 8 and 24 hours after DHPG injection. These studies revealed that the largest number of significantly regulated microRNAs was detected 8 hours after DHPG injection in the microarrays and qPCR arrays. We then used RNA blots to quantify microRNA expression, and in situ hybridization to examine cellular distribution of the microRNAs regulated by DHPG. Bioinformatic analysis of the microRNAs regulated 8 hours after DHPG in all three arrays revealed KEGG pathways that are known to correlate with group I mGluR effects, as well as recently described and novel pathways. These studies are the first to show that DHGP regulates the expression of microRNAs in mouse cerebral cortex, and support the hypothesis that group I mGluRs may regulate microRNA expression in mouse brain.
Although laughter forms an important part of human non-verbal communication, it has received rather less attention than it deserves in both the experimental and the observational literatures. Relaxed social (Duchenne) laughter is associated with feelings of wellbeing and heightened affect, a proximate explanation for which might be the release of endorphins. We tested this hypothesis in a series of six experimental studies in both the laboratory (watching videos) and naturalistic contexts (watching stage performances), using change in pain threshold as an assay for endorphin release. The results show that pain thresholds are significantly higher after laughter than in the control condition. This pain-tolerance effect is due to laughter itself and not simply due to a change in positive affect. We suggest that laughter, through an endorphin-mediated opiate effect, may play a crucial role in social bonding.
laughter; positive affect; pain threshold; endorphins; social bonding
Individuals use a range of interpersonal emotion regulation strategies to influence the feelings of others, e.g., friends, family members, romantic partners, work colleagues. But little is known about whether people vary their strategy use across these different relational contexts. We characterize and measure this variability as “spin,” i.e., the extent of dispersion in a person’s interpersonal emotion regulation strategy use across different relationships, and focus on two key questions. First, is spin adaptive or maladaptive with regard to personal well-being and relationship quality? Second, do personality traits that are considered important for interpersonal functioning (i.e., empathy, attachment style) predict spin? The data used in this study is drawn from a large online survey. A key contribution of this study is to reveal that people who varied the type of strategies they used across relationships (i.e., those with high spin) had lower positive mood, higher emotional exhaustion, and less close relationships. A further key contribution is to show that spin was associated with low empathic concern and perspective taking and high anxious attachment style. High variability in interpersonal emotion regulation strategies across relationships therefore appears to be maladaptive both personally and socially.
interpersonal emotion regulation; emotion regulation; interpersonal behavior; spin; relationships
To identify disease-causing mutations in two consanguineous Pakistani families with fundus albipunctatus.
Affected individuals in both families underwent a thorough clinical examination including funduscopy and electroretinography. Blood samples were collected from all participating members and genomic DNA was extracted. Exclusion analysis was completed with microsatellite short tandem repeat markers that span all reported loci for fundus albipunctatus. Two-point logarithm of odds (LOD) scores were calculated, and coding exons and exon–intron boundaries of RLBP1 were sequenced bi-directionally.
The ophthalmic examination of affected patients in both families was consistent with fundus albipunctatus. The alleles of markers on chromosome 15q flanking RLBP1 segregated with the disease phenotype in both families and linkage was further confirmed by two-point LOD scores. Bi-directional sequencing of RLBP1 identified a nonsense mutation (R156X) and a missense mutation (G116R) that segregated with the disease phenotype in their respective families.
These results strongly suggest that mutations in RLBP1 are responsible for fundus albipunctatus in the affected individuals of these consanguineous Pakistani families.
Numerous gene loci are related to single measures of body weight and shape. We investigated if 55 SNPs previously associated with BMI or waist measures, modify the effects of fat intake on weight loss and waist reduction under energy restriction.
Methods and Findings
Randomized controlled trial of 771 obese adults. (Registration: ISRCTN25867281.) One SNP was selected for replication in another weight loss intervention study of 934 obese adults. The original trial was a 10-week 600 kcal/d energy-deficient diet with energy percentage from fat (fat%) in range of 20–25 or 40–45. The replication study used an 8-weeks diet of 880 kcal/d and 20 fat%; change in fat% intake was used for estimation of interaction effects. The main outcomes were intervention weight loss and waist reduction. In the trial, mean change in fat% intake was −12/+4 in the low/high-fat groups. In the replication study, it was −23/−12 among those reducing fat% more/less than the median. TFAP2B-rs987237 genotype AA was associated with 1.0 kg (95% CI, 0.4; 1.6) greater weight loss on the low-fat, and GG genotype with 2.6 kg (1.1; 4.1) greater weight loss on the high-fat (interaction p-value; p = 0.00007). The replication study showed a similar (non-significant) interaction pattern. Waist reduction results generally were similar. Study-strengths include (i) the discovery study randomised trial design combined with the replication opportunity (ii) the strict dietary intake control in both studies (iii) the large sample sizes of both studies. Limitations are (i) the low minor allele frequency of the TFAP2B polymorphism, making it hard to investigate non-additive genetic effects (ii) the different interventions preventing identical replication-discovery study designs (iii) some missing data for non-completers and dietary intake. No adverse effects/outcomes or side-effects were observed.
Under energy restriction, TFAP2B may modify the effect of dietary fat intake on weight loss and waist reduction.
To facilitate mutation screening in patients, a custom resequencing chip has been developed to detect sequence alterations of 267,550 bases of both sense and antisense sequences in 1,470 exons spanning 93 genes involved in inherited retinal dystrophy.
Retinal dystrophy (RD) is a broad group of hereditary disorders with heterogeneous genotypes and phenotypes. Current available genetic testing for these diseases is complicated, time consuming, and expensive. This study was conducted to develop and apply a microarray-based, high-throughput resequencing system to detect sequence alterations in genes related to inherited RD.
A customized 300-kb resequencing chip, Retina-Array, was developed to detect sequence alterations of 267,550 bases of both sense and antisense sequence in 1470 exons spanning 93 genes involved in inherited RD. Retina-Array was evaluated in 19 patient samples with inherited RD provided by the eyeGENE repository and four Centre d'Etudes du Polymorphisme Humaine reference samples through a high-throughput experimental approach that included an automated PCR assay setup and quantification, efficient post-quantification data processing, optimized pooling and fragmentation, and standardized chip processing.
The performance of the chips demonstrated that the average base pair call rate and accuracy were 93.56% and 99.86%, respectively. In total, 304 candidate variations were identified using a series of customized screening filters. Among 174 selected variations, 123 (70.7%) were further confirmed by dideoxy sequencing. Analysis of patient samples using Retina-Array resulted in the identification of 10 known mutations and 12 novel variations with high probability of deleterious effects.
This study suggests that Retina-Array might be a valuable tool for the detection of disease-causing mutations and disease severity modifiers in a single experiment. Retinal-Array may provide a powerful and feasible approach through which to study genetic heterogeneity in retinal diseases.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative disorder involving demyelination, axonal transection, and neuronal loss in the brain. Recent studies have indicated that active MS lesions express elevated levels of butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE). BuChE can hydrolyze a wide variety of esters, including fatty acid esters of protein. Proteolipid protein (PLP), an important transmembrane protein component of myelin, has six cysteine residues acylated, via thioester linkages, with fatty acids, usually palmitic, that contribute to the stability of myelin. Experimental chemical deacylation of PLP has been shown to lead to decompaction of myelin. Because of elevated levels of BuChE in active MS lesions and its propensity to catalyze the hydrolysis of acylated protein, we hypothesized that this enzyme may contribute to deacylation of PLP in MS, leading to decompaction of myelin and contributing to demyelination. To test this hypothesis, a series of increasing chain length (C2−C16) acyl thioester derivatives of N-acetyl-l-cysteine methyl ester were synthesized and examined for hydrolysis by human cholinesterases. All N-acetyl-l-cysteine fatty acyl thioester derivatives were hydrolyzed by BuChE but not by the related enzyme acetylcholinesterase. In addition, it was observed that the affinity of BuChE for the compound increased the longer the fatty acid chain, with the highest affinity for cysteine bound to palmitic acid. This suggests that the elevated levels of BuChE observed in active MS lesions could be related to the decompaction of myelin characteristic of the disorder.
Cholinesterase; multiple sclerosis; donepezil; acylproteins; palmitic acid
To describe the phenotype and genotype of three Mainland Chinese families affected by choroideremia (CHM).
Complete ophthalmic examinations were conducted in three unrelated Chinese families with CHM. Peripheral blood samples were collected from the families for genetic and immunoblot analysis. All exons and flanking intronic regions of the gene encoding Rab escort protein-1 (Rep-1) were amplified with PCR and screened for mutations with Sanger sequencing. The three-dimensional structure of mutated Rep-1 was modeled using sequence homology with rat proteins to analyze the effect of the mutation detected in one family.
All affected males had characteristic signs and symptoms of CHM; however, central visual acuity impairment occurred earlier than expected. All female carriers older than 45 years had pigmentary changes, and one female carrier was symptomatic with vision loss. Three different mutations in Rep-1, c.1801–1G>A, c.1130 T>A, and c.612delAG, were detected in the three families.
In Mainland Chinese families, the central visual acuity of male patients with CHM can be affected at an early age (second decade), whereas female CHM carriers may manifest signs and symptoms at a later age (≥45 years). One previously reported and two novel Rep-1 mutations were detected in three Chinese patients with CHM.
To identify the genetic defect in a Hutterite population from northern Alberta with Usher syndrome type I.
Complete ophthalmic examinations were conducted on two boys and two girls from two related Hutterite families diagnosed with Usher syndrome type I. DNA from patients and their parents was first evaluated for a mutation in exon 10 of the protocadherin-related 15 (PCDH15) gene (c.1471delG), previously reported in southern Alberta Hutterite patients with Usher syndrome (USH1F). Single nucleotide polymorphic linkage analysis was then used to confirm another locus, and DNA was analyzed with the Usher Chip v4.0 platform.
Severe hearing impairment, unintelligible speech, and retinitis pigmentosa with varying degrees of visual acuity and visual field loss established a clinical diagnosis of Usher syndrome type I. The patients did not carry the exon 10 mutation in the PCDH15 gene; however, with microarray analysis, a previously reported mutation (c.52C>T; p.Q18X) in the myosin VIIA (MYO7A) gene was found in the homozygous state in the affected siblings.
The finding of a MYO7A mutation in two related Hutterite families from northern Alberta provides evidence of genetic heterogeneity in Hutterites affected by Usher syndrome type I.
Low levels of physical activity in children have been linked to an increased risk of obesity, but many children lack confidence in relation to exercise (exercise self-efficacy). Factors which can impact on confidence include a chronic health condition such as asthma, poor motor skills and being overweight. Increasing levels of physical activity have obvious benefits for children with asthma and children who are overweight, but few activity interventions with children specifically target children with low exercise self-efficacy (ESE). This study aims to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of a schools-based activity programme suitable for children with risk factors for adult obesity, including asthma, overweight and low exercise self-efficacy.
A clustered (at the level of school) RCT will be used to compare a targeted, 10 week, stepped activity programme (activity diary, dance DVD, circuit-training and motivational interviewing) designed to promote ESE. We will recruit 20 primary schools to participate in the intervention and 9-11 year old children will be screened for low levels of ESE, asthma and overweight. In order to provide sufficient power to detect a difference in primary outcomes (Body Mass Index-BMI & ESE at 12 month follow-up) between children in the intervention schools and control schools, the target sample size is 396. Assessments of BMI, ESE, waist circumference, peak flow, activity levels and emotional and behavioural difficulties will be made at baseline, 4 months and 12 month follow-up.
We aim to increase ESE and levels of physical activity in children with risk factors for adult obesity. The outcomes of this study will inform policy makers about the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of delivering targeted health interventions within a school setting.
ISRCTN Register no. ISRCTN12650001
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is rising, and most of these patients also have hypertension, substantially increasing the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The majority of these patients do not reach target blood pressure levels for a wide variety of reasons. When a literature review provided no clear focus for action when patients are not at target, we initiated a study to identify characteristics of patients and providers associated with achieving target BP levels in community-based practice.
We conducted a practice- based, cross-sectional observational and mailed survey study. The setting was the practices of 27 family physicians and nurse practitioners in 3 eastern provinces in Canada. The participants were all patients with type 2 diabetes who could understand English, were able to give consent, and would be available for follow-up for more than one year. Data were collected from each patient's medical record and from each patient and physician/nurse practitioner by mailed survey. Our main outcome measures were overall blood pressure at target (< 130/80), systolic blood pressure at target, and diastolic blood pressure at target. Analysis included initial descriptive statistics, logistic regression models, and multivariate regression using hierarchical nonlinear modeling (HNLM).
Fifty-four percent were at target for both systolic and diastolic pressures. Sixty-two percent were at systolic target, and 79% were at diastolic target. Patients who reported eating food low in salt had higher odds of reaching target blood pressure. Similarly, patients reporting low adherence to their medication regimen had lower odds of reaching target blood pressure.
When primary care health professionals are dealing with blood pressures above target in a patient with type 2 diabetes, they should pay particular attention to two factors. They should inquire about dietary salt intake, strongly emphasize the importance of reduction, and refer for detailed counseling if necessary. Similarly, they should inquire about adherence to the medication regimen, and employ a variety of patient-oriented strategies to improve adherence.
To examine the effects of acute insulin-induced hypoglycemia on inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and platelet activation in adults with and without type 1 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We studied 16 nondiabetic adults and 16 subjects with type 1 diabetes during euglycemia (blood glucose 4.5 mmol/l) and hypoglycemia (blood glucose 2.5 mmol/l). Markers of inflammation, thrombosis, and endothelial dysfunction (soluble P-selectin, interleukin-6, von Willebrand factor [vWF], tissue plasminogen activator [tPA], high-sensitivity C-reactive protein [hsCRP], and soluble CD40 ligand [sCD40L]) were measured; platelet-monocyte aggregation and CD40 expression on monocytes were determined using flow cytometry.
In nondiabetic participants, platelet activation occurred after hypoglycemia, with increments in platelet-monocyte aggregation and P-selectin (P ≤ 0.02). Inflammation was triggered with CD40 expression increasing maximally at 24 h (3.13 ± 2.3% vs. 2.06 ± 1.0%) after hypoglycemia (P = 0.009). Both sCD40L and hsCRP (P = 0.02) increased with a nonsignificant rise in vWF and tPA, indicating a possible endothelial effect. A reduction in sCD40L, tPA, and P-selectin occurred during euglycemia (P = 0.03, P ≤ 0.006, and P = 0.006, respectively). In type 1 diabetes, both CD40 expression (5.54 ± 4.4% vs. 3.65 ± 1.8%; P = 0.006) and plasma sCD40L concentrations increased during hypoglycemia (peak 3.41 ± 3.2 vs. 2.85 ± 2.8 ng/ml; P = 0.03). Platelet-monocyte aggregation also increased significantly at 24 h after hypoglycemia (P = 0.03). A decline in vWF and P-selectin occurred during euglycemia (P ≤ 0.04).
Acute hypoglycemia may provoke upregulation and release of vasoactive substances in adults with and without type 1 diabetes. This may be a putative mechanism for hypoglycemia-induced vascular injury.
The melanocortin system plays an important role in energy homeostasis. Mice genetically deficient in the melanocortin-3 receptor gene have a normal body weight with increased body fat, mild hypophagia compared to wild-type mice. In humans, Thr6Lys and Val81Ile variants of the melanocortin-3 receptor gene (MC3R) have been associated with childhood obesity, higher BMI Z-score and elevated body fat percentage compared to non-carriers. The aim of this study is to assess the association in adults between allelic variants of MC3R with weight loss induced by energy-restricted diets.
Subjects and Methods
This research is based on the NUGENOB study, a trial conducted to assess weight loss during a 10-week dietary intervention involving two different hypo-energetic (high-fat and low-fat) diets. A total of 760 obese patients were genotyped for 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms covering the single exon of MC3R gene and its flanking regions, including the missense variants Thr6Lys and Val81Ile. Linear mixed models and haplotype-based analysis were carried out to assess the potential association between genetic polymorphisms and differential weight loss, fat mass loss, waist change and resting energy expenditure changes.
No differences in drop-out rate were found by MC3R genotypes. The rs6014646 polymorphism was significantly associated with weight loss using co-dominant (p = 0.04) and dominant models (p = 0.03). These p-values were not statistically significant after strict control for multiple testing. Haplotype-based multivariate analysis using permutations showed that rs3827103–rs1543873 (p = 0.06), rs6014646–rs6024730 (p = 0.05) and rs3746619–rs3827103 (p = 0.10) displayed near-statistical significant results in relation to weight loss. No other significant associations or gene*diet interactions were detected for weight loss, fat mass loss, waist change and resting energy expenditure changes.
The study provided overall sufficient evidence to support that there is no major effect of genetic variants of MC3R and differential weight loss after a 10-week dietary intervention with hypo-energetic diets in obese Europeans.
AIM: To discuss the advantages of ultra-high field (7T) for 1H and 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) studies of metabolism.
METHODS: Measurements of brain metabolites were made at both 3 and 7T using 1H MRS. Measurements of glycogen and lipids in muscle were measured using 13C and 1H MRS respectively.
RESULTS: In the brain, increased signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and dispersion allows spectral separation of the amino-acids glutamate, glutamine and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), without the need for sophisticated editing sequences. Improved quantification of these metabolites is demonstrated at 7T relative to 3T. SNR was 36% higher, and measurement repeatability (% coefficients of variation) was 4%, 10% and 10% at 7T, vs 8%, 29% and 21% at 3T for glutamate, glutamine and GABA respectively. Measurements at 7T were used to compare metabolite levels in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and insula. Creatine and glutamate levels were found to be significantly higher in the insula compared to the ACC (P < 0.05). In muscle, the increased SNR and spectral resolution at 7T enables interleaved studies of glycogen (13C) and intra-myocellular lipid (IMCL) and extra-myocellular lipid (EMCL) (1H) following exercise and re-feeding. Glycogen levels were significantly decreased following exercise (-28% at 50% VO2 max; -58% at 75% VO2 max). Interestingly, levels of glycogen in the hamstrings followed those in the quadriceps, despite reduce exercise loading. No changes in IMCL and EMCL were found in the study.
CONCLUSION: The demonstrated improvements in brain and muscle MRS measurements at 7T will increase the potential for use in investigating human metabolism and changes due to pathologies.
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy; 13C; 1H; 7 Tesla; Glutamate; Glutamine; γ-aminobutyric acid
A comprehensive seafloor biomass and abundance database has been constructed from 24 oceanographic institutions worldwide within the Census of Marine Life (CoML) field projects. The machine-learning algorithm, Random Forests, was employed to model and predict seafloor standing stocks from surface primary production, water-column integrated and export particulate organic matter (POM), seafloor relief, and bottom water properties. The predictive models explain 63% to 88% of stock variance among the major size groups. Individual and composite maps of predicted global seafloor biomass and abundance are generated for bacteria, meiofauna, macrofauna, and megafauna (invertebrates and fishes). Patterns of benthic standing stocks were positive functions of surface primary production and delivery of the particulate organic carbon (POC) flux to the seafloor. At a regional scale, the census maps illustrate that integrated biomass is highest at the poles, on continental margins associated with coastal upwelling and with broad zones associated with equatorial divergence. Lowest values are consistently encountered on the central abyssal plains of major ocean basins The shift of biomass dominance groups with depth is shown to be affected by the decrease in average body size rather than abundance, presumably due to decrease in quantity and quality of food supply. This biomass census and associated maps are vital components of mechanistic deep-sea food web models and global carbon cycling, and as such provide fundamental information that can be incorporated into evidence-based management.
Inherited retinal degenerations, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), affect 1 in 4000 individuals in the general population. A majority of the genes which are mutated in these conditions are expressed in either photoreceptors or the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). There is considerable variation in the clinical severity of these conditions; the most severe being autosomal recessive LCA, a heterogeneous retinal degenerative disease and the commonest cause of congenital blindness in children. Here, we discuss all the potential treatments that are now available for retinal degeneration. A number of therapeutic avenues are being explored based on our knowledge of the pathophysiology of retinal degeneration derived from research on animal models, including: gene therapy, antiapoptosis agents, neurotrophic factors, and dietary supplementation. Technological advances in retinal implant devices continue to provide the promise of vision for patients with end-stage disease.
Photoreceptor loss in Stargardt-like degeneration is accompanied by remodeling of the retina. Therefore, when developing therapies, such changes must be taken into account.
To investigate the impact of progressive age-related photoreceptor degeneration on retinal integrity in Stargardt-like macular dystrophy (STGD3).
The structural design of the inner retina of the ELOVL4 transgenic mouse model of STGD3 was compared with that of age-matched littermate wild-type (WT) mice from 1 to 24 months of age by using immunohistofluorescence and confocal microscopy and by relying on antibodies against cell-type–specific markers, synapse-associated proteins, and neurotransmitters.
Müller cell reactivity occurred at the earliest age studied, before photoreceptor loss. This finding is perhaps not surprising, considering the cell's ubiquitous roles in retina homeostasis. Second-order neurons displayed salient morphologic changes as a function of photoreceptoral input loss. Age-related sprouting of dendritic fibers from rod bipolar and horizontal cells into the ONL did not occur. In contrast, with the loss of photoreceptor sensory input, these second-order neurons progressively bore fewer synapses. After rod loss, the few remaining cones showed abnormal opsin expression, revealing tortuous branched axons. After complete ONL loss (beyond 18 months of age), localized areas of extreme retinal disruptions were observed in the central retina. RPE cell invasion, dense networks of strongly reactive Müller cell processes, and invagination of axons and blood vessels were distinctive features of these regions. In addition, otherwise unaffected cholinergic amacrine cells displayed severe perturbation of their cell bodies and synaptic plexi in these areas.
Remodeling in ELOVL4 transgenic mice follows a pattern similar to that reported after other types of hereditary retinopathies in animals and humans, pointing to a potentially common pathophysiologic mechanism.
The pathogenesis of choroideremia (CHM), an X-linked retinopathy, remains poorly defined. Silencing of the CHM gene in the retinal pigment epithelium in vitro alters phagocytic and secretory pathways and may indicate how the disorder leads to retinal degeneration.
Choroideremia (CHM) is an X-linked progressive degeneration of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), photoreceptors, and choroid caused by mutations in the CHM gene, which encodes Rab escort-protein-1 (REP-1). REP-1 enables posttranslational isoprenyl modification of Rab GTPases, proteins that control vesicle formation, movement, docking, and fusion. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of REP-1 depletion on vesicular trafficking in phagocytic and secretory pathways of human RPE.
In vitro, REP-1 expression was inhibited in human fetal RPE (hfRPE) cells by siRNA knockdown and its effects measured on the uptake of bovine photoreceptor outer segments (POS), proteolysis of POS rhodopsin, phagosomal pH, phagosome fusion with early and late endosomes/lysosomes, and polarized secretion of cytokines.
Depletion of REP-1 in human RPE cells did not affect POS internalization but reduced phagosomal acidification and delayed POS protein clearance. REP-1 depletion also caused a decrease in the association of POS-containing phagosomes with late endosomal markers (Rab7, LAMP-1) and increases in the secretion of monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP-1) and interleukin (IL)-8 by hfRPE cells.
Lack of REP-1 protein expression in hfRPE cells leads to reduced degradation of POS most likely because of the inhibition of phagosome-lysosome fusion events and increased constitutive secretion of MCP-1 and IL-8. These observations may explain the accumulation of unprocessed outer segments within the phagolysosomes of RPE cells and the presence of inflammatory cells in the choroid of patients with CHM.
Linkage of adRP to the ASCC3L1 region of chromosome 2 and identification of a mutation in hBrr2p associated with RP in this Chinese family add mutations in another splicing factor to the known causes of RP.
To localize and identify the gene and mutations causing autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa in a Chinese Family.
Families were ascertained and patients underwent complete ophthalmic examinations. Blood samples were collected and DNA was extracted. A linkage scan of genomic regions containing known candidate genes was performed by using 34 polymorphic microsatellite markers on genomic DNA from affected and unaffected family members, and lod scores were calculated. Candidate genes were sequenced and mutations analyzed.
A genome-wide scan yielded a lod score of 3.5 at θ = 0 for D2S2333 and 3.46 at θ = 0 for D2S2216. This region harbors the ASCC3L1 gene. Sequencing of ASCC3L1 in an affected family member showed a heterozygous single-base-pair change; c.3269G→T, predicted to result in an Arg1090Leu amino acid change.
The results provide strong evidence that mutations in ASCC3L1 have resulted in autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa in this Chinese family.
Histopathology of young individuals affected by choroideremia is rarely available to allow correlation with the clinical presentation. A 30-year-old male with choroideremia died in a motor vehicle accident and one eye was subjected to histopathological examination. Immunoblot analysis of protein derived from white blood cells of a living brother, also affected with choroideremia, confirmed the absence of Rab escort protein-1, the normal CHM gene product. Direct sequencing of the coding region and adjacent splice sites of the CHM gene was undertaken on genomic DNA from the living brother and revealed a transition mutation, C to T, in exon 6 (R253X) which resulted in a stop codon and was predicted to truncate the protein product. Histopathological examination of the eye of the deceased brother showed relative independent degeneration of choriocapillaris, retinal pigment epithelium and retina, similar to observations in the mouse model of choroideremia. In addition, mild T-lymphocytic infiltration was found within the choroid. The ophthalmic features and the pathology of choroideremia are discussed in light of new findings in the current case.
choroideremia; histopathology; mutation analysis; retinal degeneration
Choroideremia (CHM) is a progressive X-linked retinopathy caused by mutations in the CHM gene, which encodes Rab escort protein-1 (REP-1), an escort protein involved in the prenylation of Rabs. Under-prenylation of certain Rabs, as a result of loss of function mutations in REP-1, could affect vesicular trafficking, exocytosis and secretion in peripheral cells of CHM patients.
To evaluate this hypothesis, intracellular vesicle transport, lysosomal acidification and rates of proteolytic degradation were studied in monocytes (CD14+ fraction) and primary skin fibroblasts from the nine age-matched controls and thirteen CHM patients carrying 10 different loss-of-function mutations. With the use of pHrodo™ BioParticles® conjugated with E. coli, collagen I coated FluoSpheres beads and fluorescent DQ™ ovalbumin with BODYPY FL dye, we demonstrated for the first time that lysosomal pH was increased in monocytes of CHM patients and, as a consequence, the rates of proteolytic degradation were slowed. Microarray analysis of gene expression revealed that some genes involved in the immune response, small GTPase regulation, transcription, cell adhesion and the regulation of exocytosis were significantly up and down regulated in cells from CHM patients compared to controls. Finally, CHM fibroblasts secreted significantly lower levels of cytokine/growth factors such as macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), pigment epithelial derived factor (PEDF), tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, fibroblast growth factor (FGF) beta and interleukin (lL)-8.
We demonstrated for the first time that peripheral cells of CHM patients had increased pH levels in lysosomes, reduced rates of proteolytic degradation and altered secretion of cytokines. Peripheral cells from CHM patients expose characteristics that were not previously recognized and could used as an alternative models to study the effects of different mutations in the REP-1 gene on mechanism of CHM development in human population.
Despite rapid advances in disease gene identification, the predictive power of the genotype remains limited, in part due to poorly understood effects of second-site modifiers. Here we demonstrate that a polymorphic coding variant of RPGRIP1L (retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator-interacting protein-1 like), a ciliary gene mutated in Meckel-Gruber (MKS) and Joubert (JBTS) syndromes, is associated with the development of retinal degeneration in patients with ciliopathies caused by mutations in other genes. As part of our resequencing efforts of the ciliary proteome, we identified several putative loss of function RPGRIP1L mutations, including one common variant, A229T. Multiple genetic lines of evidence showed this allele to be associated with photoreceptor loss in ciliopathies. Moreover, we show that RPGRIP1L interacts biochemically with RPGR, loss of which causes retinal degeneration, and that the 229T-encoded protein significantly compromises this interaction. Our data represent an example of modification of a discrete phenotype of syndromic disease and highlight the importance of a multifaceted approach for the discovery of modifier alleles of intermediate frequency and effect.