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1.  Human Prion Diseases in The Netherlands (1998–2009): Clinical, Genetic and Molecular Aspects 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e36333.
Prion diseases are rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorders that can be sporadic, inherited or acquired by infection. Based on a national surveillance program in the Netherlands we describe here the clinical, neuropathological, genetic and molecular characteristics of 162 patients with neuropathologically confirmed prion disease over a 12-year period (1998–2009). Since 1998, there has been a relatively stable mortality of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in the Netherlands, ranging from 0.63 to 1.53 per million inhabitants per annum. Genetic analysis of the codon 129 methionine/valine (M/V) polymorphism in all patients with sporadic CJD (sCJD) showed a trend for under-representation of VV cases (7.0%), compared with sCJD cohorts in other Western countries, whereas the MV genotype was relatively over-represented (22,4%). Combined PrPSc and histopathological typing identified all sCJD subtypes known to date, except for the VV1 subtype. In particular, a “pure" phenotype was demonstrated in 60.1% of patients, whereas a mixed phenotype was detected in 39.9% of all sCJD cases. The relative excess of MV cases was largely accounted for by a relatively high incidence of the MV 2K subtype. Genetic analysis of the prion protein gene (PRNP) was performed in 161 patients and showed a mutation in 9 of them (5.6%), including one FFI and four GSS cases. Iatrogenic CJD was a rare phenomenon (3.1%), mainly associated with dura mater grafts. Three patients were diagnosed with new variant CJD (1.9%) and one with variably protease-sensitive prionopathy (VPSPr). Post-mortem examination revealed an alternative diagnosis in 156 patients, most commonly Alzheimer's disease (21.2%) or vascular causes of dementia (19.9%). The mortality rates of sCJD in the Netherlands are similar to those in other European countries, whereas iatrogenic and genetic cases are relatively rare. The unusual incidence of the VV2 sCJD subtype compared to that reported to date in other Western countries deserves further investigation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036333
PMCID: PMC3340342  PMID: 22558438
2.  Agent strain variation in human prion disease: insights from a molecular and pathological review of the National Institutes of Health series of experimentally transmitted disease 
Brain  2010;133(10):3030-3042.
Six clinico-pathological phenotypes of sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease have been characterized which correlate at the molecular level with the type (1 or 2) of the abnormal prion protein, PrPTSE, present in the brain and with the genotype of polymorphic (methionine or valine) codon 129 of the prion protein gene. However, to what extent these phenotypes with their corresponding molecular combinations (i.e. MM1, MM2, VV1 etc.) encipher distinct prion strains upon transmission remains uncertain. We studied the PrPTSE type and the prion protein gene in archival brain tissues from the National Institutes of Health series of transmitted Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and kuru cases, and characterized the molecular and pathological phenotype in the affected non-human primates, including squirrel, spider, capuchin and African green monkeys. We found that the transmission properties of prions from the common sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease MM1 phenotype are homogeneous and significantly differ from those of sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease VV2 or MV2 prions. Animals injected with iatrogenic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease MM1 and genetic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease MM1 linked to the E200K mutation showed the same phenotypic features as those infected with sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease MM1 prions, whereas kuru most closely resembled the sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease VV2 or MV2 prion signature and neuropathology. The findings indicate that two distinct prion strains are linked to the three most common Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease clinico-pathological and molecular subtypes and kuru, and suggest that kuru may have originated from cannibalistic transmission of a sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease of the VV2 or MV2 subtype.
doi:10.1093/brain/awq234
PMCID: PMC2947429  PMID: 20823086
prion diseases; neuropathology; neurodegenerative disorders; phenotype; strain typing
3.  Variably Protease-Sensitive Prionopathy: A New Sporadic Disease of the Prion Protein 
Annals of neurology  2010;68(2):162-172.
Objective
The objective of the study is to report 2 new genotypic forms of protease-sensitive prionopathy (PSPr), a novel prion disease described in 2008, in 11 subjects all homozygous for valine at codon 129 of the prion protein (PrP) gene (129VV). The 2 new PSPr forms affect individuals who are either homozygous for methionine (129MM) or heterozygous for methionine/valine (129MV).
Methods
Fifteen affected subjects with 129MM, 129MV, and 129VV underwent comparative evaluation at the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center for clinical, histopathologic, immunohistochemical, genotypical, and PrP characteristics.
Results
Disease duration (between 22 and 45 months) was significantly different in the 129VV and 129MV subjects. Most other phenotypic features along with the PrP electrophoretic profile were similar but distinguishable in the 3 129 genotypes. A major difference laid in the sensitivity to protease digestion of the disease-associated PrP, which was high in 129VV but much lower, or altogether lacking, in 129MV and 129MM. This difference prompted the substitution of the original designation with “variably protease-sensitive prionopathy” (VPSPr). None of the subjects had mutations in the PrP gene coding region.
Interpretation
Because all 3 129 genotypes are involved, and are associated with distinguishable phenotypes, VPSPr becomes the second sporadic prion protein disease with this feature after Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, originally reported in 1920. However, the characteristics of the abnormal prion protein suggest that VPSPr is different from typical prion diseases, and perhaps more akin to subtypes of Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease.
doi:10.1002/ana.22094
PMCID: PMC3032610  PMID: 20695009
4.  Lack of association between five serotonin metabolism-related genes and medication overuse headache 
Serotonin is involved in several central nervous system functions including pain threshold, mood regulation and drug reward. Overuse of acute medications is commonly identified as a causative factor for medication overuse headache (MOH). Apparently, MOH shares with other kinds of drug addiction some common neurobiological pathways. The objective of this study is to assess the role of serotonin metabolism genes in the genetic liability to MOH. We performed a genetic association study using polymorphisms of five serotonin metabolism-related genes: serotonin transporter (5HTT), serotonin receptor 1A (5-HT1A), serotonin receptor 1B (5-HT1B), serotonin receptor 2A (5-HT2A) and serotonin receptor 6 (5HT6) genes. We compared 138 patients with MOH with a control sample of 117 individuals without headache and without drug overuse, and with 101 patients with migraine without aura but without drug overuse (MO). The genotypic and allelic distributions of all polymorphisms investigated did not differ among the three groups. In conclusion, our study does not provide evidence that the 5HTT, 5-HT1A, 5HT1B, 5HT2A and 5HT6 gene polymorphisms play a role in the genetic predisposition to MOH.
doi:10.1007/s10194-009-0168-5
PMCID: PMC3452189  PMID: 19936617
Chronic headache; Drug overuse; Medication overuse headache; Polymorphism; Serotonin; Genetic
5.  Prion protein amyloidosis with divergent phenotype associated with two novel nonsense mutations in PRNP 
Acta Neuropathologica  2009;119(2):189-197.
Stop codon mutations in the gene encoding the prion protein (PRNP) are very rare and have thus far only been described in two patients with prion protein cerebral amyloid angiopathy (PrP-CAA). In this report, we describe the clinical, histopathological and pathological prion protein (PrPSc) characteristics of two Dutch patients carrying novel adjacent stop codon mutations in the C-terminal part of PRNP, resulting in either case in hereditary prion protein amyloidoses, but with strikingly different clinicopathological phenotypes. The patient with the shortest disease duration (27 months) carried a Y226X mutation and showed PrP-CAA without any neurofibrillary lesions, whereas the patient with the longest disease duration (72 months) had a Q227X mutation and showed an unusual Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease phenotype with numerous cerebral multicentric amyloid plaques and severe neurofibrillary lesions without PrP-CAA. Western blot analysis in the patient with the Q227X mutation demonstrated the presence of a 7 kDa unglycosylated PrPSc fragment truncated at both the N- and C-terminal ends. Our observations expand the spectrum of clinicopathological phenotypes associated with PRNP mutations and show that a single tyrosine residue difference in the PrP C-terminus may significantly affect the site of amyloid deposition and the overall phenotypic expression of the prion disease. Furthermore, it confirms that the absence of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor in PrP predisposes to amyloid plaque formation.
doi:10.1007/s00401-009-0609-x
PMCID: PMC2808512  PMID: 19911184
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; Prion; Amyloid; Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease; Tau protein; Angiopathy
6.  Incidence and spectrum of sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease variants with mixed phenotype and co-occurrence of PrPSc types: an updated classification 
Acta Neuropathologica  2009;118(5):659-671.
Six subtypes of sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease with distinctive clinico-pathological features have been identified largely based on two types of the abnormal prion protein, PrPSc, and the methionine (M)/valine (V) polymorphic codon 129 of the prion protein. The existence of affected subjects showing mixed phenotypic features and concurrent PrPSc types has been reported but with inconsistencies among studies in both results and their interpretation. The issue currently complicates diagnosis and classification of cases and also has implications for disease pathogenesis. To explore the issue in depth, we carried out a systematic regional study in a large series of 225 cases. PrPSc types 1 and 2 concurrence was detected in 35% of cases and was higher in MM than in MV or VV subjects. The deposition of either type 1 or 2, when concurrent, was not random and always characterized by the coexistence of phenotypic features previously described in the pure subtypes. PrPSc type 1 accumulation and related pathology predominated in MM and MV cases, while the type 2 phenotype prevailed in VVs. Neuropathological examination best identified the mixed types 1 and 2 features in MMs and most MVs, and also uniquely revealed the co-occurrence of pathological variants sharing PrPSc type 2. In contrast, molecular typing best detected the concurrent PrPSc types in VV subjects and MV cases with kuru plaques. The present data provide an updated disease classification and are of importance for future epidemiologic and transmission studies aimed to identify etiology and extent of strain variation in sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.
doi:10.1007/s00401-009-0585-1
PMCID: PMC2773124  PMID: 19718500
Prion protein; Brain mapping; Molecular typing; Neurodegeneration; Classification
7.  Magnetic resonance diagnostic markers in clinically sporadic prion disease: a combined brain magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy study 
Brain  2009;132(10):2669-2679.
The intra vitam diagnosis of prion disease is challenging and a definite diagnosis still requires neuropathological examination in non-familial cases. Magnetic resonance imaging has gained increasing importance in the diagnosis of prion disease. The aim of this study was to compare the usefulness of different magnetic resonance imaging sequences and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the differential diagnosis of patients with rapidly progressive neurological signs compatible with the clinical diagnosis of sporadic prion disease. Twenty-nine consecutive patients with an initial diagnosis of possible or probable sporadic prion disease, on the basis of clinical and electroencephalography features, were recruited. The magnetic resonance protocol included axial fluid-attenuated inversion recovery-T2- and diffusion-weighted images, and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the thalamus, striatum, cerebellum and occipital cortex. Based on the clinical follow-up, genetic studies and neuropathology, the final diagnosis was of prion disease in 14 patients out of 29. The percentage of correctly diagnosed cases was 86% for diffusion-weighted imaging (hyperintensity in the striatum/cerebral cortex), 86% for thalamic N-acetyl-aspartate to creatine ratio (cutoff ≤1.21), 90% for thalamic N-acetyl-aspartate to myo-inositol (mI) ratio (cutoff ≤1.05) and 86% for cerebral spinal fluid 14-3-3 protein. All the prion disease patients had N-acetyl-aspartate to creatine ratios ≤1.21 (100% sensitivity and 100% negative predictive value) and all the non-prion patients had N-acetyl-aspartate to myo-inositol ratios >1.05 (100% specificity and 100% positive predictive value). Univariate logistic regression analysis showed that the combination of thalamic N-acetyl-aspartate to creatine ratio and diffusion-weighted imaging correctly classified 93% of the patients. The combination of thalamic proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (10 min acquisition duration) and brain diffusion-weighted imaging (2 min acquisition duration) may increase the diagnostic accuracy of the magnetic resonance scan. Both sequences should be routinely included in the clinical work-up of patients with suspected prion disease.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp210
PMCID: PMC2759338  PMID: 19755520
prion diseases; magnetic resonance; diffusion-weighted imaging; proton MR spectroscopy
8.  Analysis of LMNB1 Duplications in Autosomal Dominant Leukodystrophy Provides Insights into Duplication Mechanisms and Allele-Specific Expression 
Human Mutation  2013;34(8):1160-1171.
ABSTRACT
Autosomal dominant leukodystrophy (ADLD) is an adult onset demyelinating disorder that is caused by duplications of the lamin B1 (LMNB1) gene. However, as only a few cases have been analyzed in detail, the mechanisms underlying LMNB1 duplications are unclear. We report the detailed molecular analysis of the largest collection of ADLD families studied, to date. We have identified the minimal duplicated region necessary for the disease, defined all the duplication junctions at the nucleotide level and identified the first inverted LMNB1 duplication. We have demonstrated that the duplications are not recurrent; patients with identical duplications share the same haplotype, likely inherited from a common founder and that the duplications originated from intrachromosomal events. The duplication junction sequences indicated that nonhomologous end joining or replication-based mechanisms such fork stalling and template switching or microhomology-mediated break induced repair are likely to be involved. LMNB1 expression was increased in patients’ fibroblasts both at mRNA and protein levels and the three LMNB1 alleles in ADLD patients show equal expression, suggesting that regulatory regions are maintained within the rearranged segment. These results have allowed us to elucidate duplication mechanisms and provide insights into allele-specific LMNB1 expression levels.
doi:10.1002/humu.22348
PMCID: PMC3714349  PMID: 23649844
Lamin B1; leukodystrophy; ADLD; duplication Alu; NHEJ; FoSTeS; MMBIR

Results 1-8 (8)