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author:("said, Albert")
1.  Knowledge Retrieval from PubMed Abstracts and Electronic Medical Records with the Multiple Sclerosis Ontology 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0116718.
Background
In order to retrieve useful information from scientific literature and electronic medical records (EMR) we developed an ontology specific for Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Methods
The MS Ontology was created using scientific literature and expert review under the Protégé OWL environment. We developed a dictionary with semantic synonyms and translations to different languages for mining EMR. The MS Ontology was integrated with other ontologies and dictionaries (diseases/comorbidities, gene/protein, pathways, drug) into the text-mining tool SCAIView. We analyzed the EMRs from 624 patients with MS using the MS ontology dictionary in order to identify drug usage and comorbidities in MS. Testing competency questions and functional evaluation using F statistics further validated the usefulness of MS ontology.
Results
Validation of the lexicalized ontology by means of named entity recognition-based methods showed an adequate performance (F score = 0.73). The MS Ontology retrieved 80% of the genes associated with MS from scientific abstracts and identified additional pathways targeted by approved disease-modifying drugs (e.g. apoptosis pathways associated with mitoxantrone, rituximab and fingolimod). The analysis of the EMR from patients with MS identified current usage of disease modifying drugs and symptomatic therapy as well as comorbidities, which are in agreement with recent reports.
Conclusion
The MS Ontology provides a semantic framework that is able to automatically extract information from both scientific literature and EMR from patients with MS, revealing new pathogenesis insights as well as new clinical information.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116718
PMCID: PMC4321837  PMID: 25665127
2.  The multiple sclerosis visual pathway cohort: understanding neurodegeneration in MS 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7(1):910.
Background
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease of the Central Nervous System with two major underlying etiopathogenic processes: inflammation and neurodegeneration. The latter determines the prognosis of this disease. MS is the main cause of non-traumatic disability in middle-aged populations.
Findings
The MS-VisualPath Cohort was set up to study the neurodegenerative component of MS using advanced imaging techniques by focusing on analysis of the visual pathway in a middle-aged MS population in Barcelona, Spain. We started the recruitment of patients in the early phase of MS in 2010 and it remains permanently open. All patients undergo a complete neurological and ophthalmological examination including measurements of physical and disability (Expanded Disability Status Scale; Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite and neuropsychological tests), disease activity (relapses) and visual function testing (visual acuity, color vision and visual field). The MS-VisualPath protocol also assesses the presence of anxiety and depressive symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), general quality of life (SF-36) and visual quality of life (25-Item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire with the 10-Item Neuro-Ophthalmic Supplement). In addition, the imaging protocol includes both retinal (Optical Coherence Tomography and Wide-Field Fundus Imaging) and brain imaging (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Finally, multifocal Visual Evoked Potentials are used to perform neurophysiological assessment of the visual pathway.
Discussion
The analysis of the visual pathway with advance imaging and electrophysilogical tools in parallel with clinical information will provide significant and new knowledge regarding neurodegeneration in MS and provide new clinical and imaging biomarkers to help monitor disease progression in these patients.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-910
PMCID: PMC4300678  PMID: 25512202
Multiple Sclerosis; Visual pathway; Neurodegeneration; Cohort studies
3.  Natalizumab-related anaphylactoid reactions in MS patients are associated with HLA class II alleles 
Objectives:
We aimed to investigate potential associations between human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and class II alleles and the development of anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) treated with natalizumab.
Methods:
HLA class I and II genotyping was performed in patients with MS who experienced anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions and in patients who did not develop infusion-related allergic reactions following natalizumab administration.
Results:
A total of 119 patients with MS from 3 different cohorts were included in the study: 54 with natalizumab-related anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions and 65 without allergic reactions. HLA-DRB1*13 and HLA-DRB1*14 alleles were significantly increased in patients who developed anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions (pM-H = 3 × 10−7; odds ratio [OR]M-H = 8.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.40–23.64), with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 82%. In contrast, the HLA-DRB1*15 allele was significantly more represented in patients who did not develop anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions to natalizumab (pM-H = 6 × 10−4; ORM-H = 0.2, 95% CI = 0.08–0.50), with a PPV of 81%.
Conclusions:
HLA-DRB1 genotyping before natalizumab treatment may help neurologists to identify patients with MS at risk for developing serious systemic hypersensitivity reactions associated with natalizumab administration.
doi:10.1212/NXI.0000000000000047
PMCID: PMC4268037  PMID: 25520955
4.  Randomized Placebo-Controlled Phase II Trial of Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Multiple Sclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113936.
Objective
Uncontrolled studies of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in multiple sclerosis suggested some beneficial effect. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover phase II study we investigated their safety and efficacy in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients. Efficacy was evaluated in terms of cumulative number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions (GEL) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 6 months and at the end of the study.
Methods
Patients unresponsive to conventional therapy, defined by at least 1 relapse and/or GEL on MRI scan in past 12 months, disease duration 2 to 10 years and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) 3.0–6.5 were randomized to receive IV 1–2×106 bone-marrow-derived-MSCs/Kg or placebo. After 6 months, the treatment was reversed and patients were followed-up for another 6 months. Secondary endpoints were clinical outcomes (relapses and disability by EDSS and MS Functional Composite), and several brain MRI and optical coherence tomography measures. Immunological tests were explored to assess the immunomodulatory effects.
Results
At baseline 9 patients were randomized to receive MSCs (n = 5) or placebo (n = 4). One patient on placebo withdrew after having 3 relapses in the first 5 months. We did not identify any serious adverse events. At 6 months, patients treated with MSCs had a trend to lower mean cumulative number of GEL (3.1, 95% CI = 1.1–8.8 vs 12.3, 95% CI = 4.4–34.5, p = 0.064), and at the end of study to reduced mean GEL (−2.8±5.9 vs 3±5.4, p = 0.075). No significant treatment differences were detected in the secondary endpoints. We observed a non-significant decrease of the frequency of Th1 (CD4+ IFN-γ+) cells in blood of MSCs treated patients.
Conclusion
Bone-marrow-MSCs are safe and may reduce inflammatory MRI parameters supporting their immunomodulatory properties.
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01228266
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113936
PMCID: PMC4250058  PMID: 25436769
5.  Encephalitis and GABAB receptor antibodies 
Neurology  2013;81(17):1500-1506.
Objective:
To report the clinical features of 20 newly diagnosed patients with GABAB receptor (GABABR) antibodies and determine the frequency of associated tumors and concurrent neuronal autoantibodies.
Methods:
Clinical data were retrospectively obtained and evaluated. Serum and CSF samples were examined for additional antibodies using methods previously reported.
Results:
Seventeen patients presented with seizures, memory loss, and confusion, compatible with limbic encephalitis (LE), one patient presented with ataxia, one patient presented with status epilepticus, and one patient presented with opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome (OMS). Nineteen (95%) patients eventually developed LE during the course of the disease. Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) was identified in 10 (50%) patients, all with LE. Treatment and outcome was available from 19 patients: 15 showed complete (n = 7) or partial (n = 8) neurologic improvement after steroids, IV immunoglobulins, or plasma exchange and oncologic treatment when indicated; 1 patient died of tumor progression shortly after the first cycle of immunotherapy, and 3 were not treated. Five patients with SCLC had additional onconeuronal antibodies (Ri, amphiphysin, or SOX1), and 2 without tumor had GAD65 and NMDAR antibodies, respectively. GABABR antibodies were not detected in serum of 116 patients with SCLC without neurologic symptoms.
Conclusion:
Our study confirms GABABR as an autoantigen of paraneoplastic and nonparaneoplastic LE and expands the phenotype of GABABR antibodies to ataxia, OMS, and status epilepticus. The long-term prognosis is dictated by the presence of a tumor. Recognition of syndromes associated with GABABR antibodies is important because they usually respond to treatment.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a9585f
PMCID: PMC3888170  PMID: 24068784
6.  Retinal periphlebitis is associated with multiple sclerosis severity 
Neurology  2013;81(10):877-881.
Objectives:
To assess the association of primary retinal inflammation, namely retinal periphlebitis (RP) and microcystic macular edema, with clinical, brain, and retinal imaging biomarkers of multiple sclerosis (MS) severity.
Methods:
One hundred patients with MS underwent a neurologic and ophthalmic examination, MRI, and optical coherence tomography. Disability was assessed using the Expanded Disability Status Scale at baseline and after a 1-year follow-up. The normalized brain volume, the normal-appearing gray matter volume, and T1 lesion volume were assessed at baseline as radiologic biomarkers of disease severity. Retinal nerve fiber layer thickness and macular volume at baseline were used as surrogate markers of axonal damage. We used general linear models adjusted for sex, age, disease duration, and MS treatment to compared adjusted means of these parameters among patients with RP and patients without primary retinal inflammation.
Results:
Five patients showed RP, 2 showed microcystic macular edema, and the retina was normal in the remaining 93. Patients with RP had a tendency toward a higher adjusted-mean Expanded Disability Status Scale score at baseline and disability progression after a 1-year follow-up compared with patients without primary retinal inflammation. These patients also had a higher adjusted-mean T1 lesion volume (adjusted differences: 10.4, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.6 to 20.2; p = 0.038) and lower T1 brain volume (adjusted differences: −68, 95% CI: −139 to 2; p = 0.059). Patients with RP had a lower adjusted-mean retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (adjusted differences: −13.4, 95% CI: −24.4 to −2.3; p = 0.018) and a trend toward lower macular volume.
Conclusions:
These results support the role of RP as a biomarker of MS severity.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a3525e
PMCID: PMC3885218  PMID: 23902700
7.  Abnormal Control of Orbicularis Oculi Reflex Excitability in Multiple Sclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103897.
Brain lesions in patients with multiple sclerosis may lead to abnormal excitability of brainstem reflex circuits because of impairment of descending control pathways. We hypothesized that such abnormality should show in the analysis of blink reflex responses in the form of asymmetries in response size. The study was done in 20 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and 12 matched healthy subjects. We identified first patients with latency abnormalities (AbLat). Then, we analyzed response size by calculating the R2c/R2 ratio to stimulation of either side and the mean area of the R2 responses obtained in the same side. Patients with significantly larger response size with respect to healthy subjects in at least one side were considered to have abnormal response excitability (AbEx). We also examined the blink reflex excitability recovery (BRER) and prepulse inhibition (BRIP) of either side in search for additional indices of asymmetry in response excitability. Neurophysiological data were correlated with MRI-determined brain lesion-load and volume. Eight patients were identified as AbLat (median Expanded Disability Status Scale–EDSS = 2.75) and 7 of them had ponto-medullary lesions. Nine patients were identified as AbEx (EDSS = 1.5) and only 2 of them, who also were AbLat, had ponto-medullary lesions. In AbEx patients, the abnormalities in response size were confined to one side, with a similar tendency in most variables (significantly asymmetric R1 amplitude, BRER index and BRIP percentage). AbEx patients had asymmetric distribution of hemispheral lesions, in contrast with the symmetric pattern observed in AbLat. The brainstem lesion load was significantly lower in AbEx than in AbLat patients (p = 0.04). Asymmetric abnormalities in blink reflex response excitability in patients with multiple sclerosis are associated with lesser disability and lower tissue loss than abnormalities in response latency. Testing response excitability could provide a reliable neurophysiological index of dysfunction in early stages of multiple sclerosis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103897
PMCID: PMC4118978  PMID: 25083902
8.  Treatment and prognostic factors for long-term outcome in patients with anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptor encephalitis: a cohort study 
Lancet neurology  2013;12(2):157-165.
Background
Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis is an autoimmune disorder in which the use of immunotherapy and the long-term outcome have not been defined.
Methods
In this multi-institutional observational study (2007-2012), all patients with GluN1 antibodies were assessed at symptom onset and 4, 8, 12, 18, and 24 months using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). Treatment included first-line immunotherapy (steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, plasmapheresis), second-line immunotherapy (rituximab, cyclophosphamide), and tumor removal. Predictors of outcome were determined at the Universities of Pennsylvania and Barcelona using generalized linear mixed models with binary distribution.
Results
577 patients (1-85 years, median 21) were studied, 212 were children (<18 years). Treatment effects and outcome were assessable in 501 (median follow-up 24 months): 472 (94%) underwent first-line immunotherapy or tumor removal, resulting in improvement within four weeks in 251 (53%). Of 221 patients who failed first-line therapy, 125 (57%) received second-line immunotherapy resulting in better outcome than those who did not (OR 2·69, CI 1·24-5·80, p=0·012). During the first 24 months, 394/501 reached good outcome (mRS 0-2; median 6 months), and 30 died. At 24 month follow-up 204/252 (81%) had good outcome. Outcomes continued to improve for up to 18 months after symptom onset. Predictors of good outcome were early treatment (OR 0·62, CI 0·50-0·76, p<0·0001) and lack of ICU admission (OR 0.12, CI 0·06-0·22,p<0·0001). 45 patients had one or multiple relapses (representing a 12% risk within 2 years); 46/69 (67%) relapses were milder than previous episodes (p<0·0001). In 177 children, predictors of good outcome and the magnitude of effect of second-line immunotherapy were comparable to those of the entire cohort.
Conclusions
Patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis respond to immunotherapy. Second-line immunotherapy is usually effective when first-line therapies fail. Recovery can take more than 18 months.
doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(12)70310-1
PMCID: PMC3563251  PMID: 23290630
anti-NMDA-receptor antibodies; encephalitis; paraneoplastic; teratoma; behavior; seizures; treatment; outcome
9.  An Optimized Immunohistochemistry Technique Improves NMO-IgG Detection: Study Comparison with Cell-Based Assays 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79083.
Cell-based assays (CBA) have increased the sensitivity of the neuromyelitis optica (NMO)-IgG/aquaporin-4-antibody detection compared to classical tissue-based indirect assays. We describe the sensitivity of an optimized immunohistochemistry (IHC-o) to detect NMO-IgG/aquaporin-4-antibody in comparison with that of two CBA: an in-house (CBA-ih) and a commercial (CBA-c) assay (Euroimmun, Germany). Coded serum from 103 patients with definite NMO and 122 inflammatory controls were studied by IHC-o, CBA-ih, and CBA-c. IHC-o used the same protocol described to detect antibodies against cell surface antigens. CBA-ih used live cells transfected with the aquaporin-4-M23-isoform. The sensitivity of the IHC-o was 74.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 65-83) and was similar to that of the CBA-ih 75.7% (95% CI 66-84) and the CBA-c 73.8% (95% CI 64-82). The specificity of the three assays was 100% (95% CI 97-100). Interassay concordance was high, 100 of 103 samples were coincident in all techniques. The optimized immunohistochemistry proves to be as sensitive and specific as the cell-based assays. This assay extends the available tools for NMO-IgG/aquaporin-4-antibody detection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079083
PMCID: PMC3817095  PMID: 24223884
10.  Antibody Repertoire in Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration and Small Cell Lung Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e60438.
The goal of this study is to determine whether patients with paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (PCD) and small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) have a specific repertoire of antibodies, if SOX1 antibodies (SOX1-ab) can predict the presence of SCLC, and if antibodies to cell surface antigens occur in this syndrome. Antibody analysis was done using immunohistochemistry on rat brain, immunoblot with recombinant antigens, screening of cDNA expression libraries, and immunolabeling of live neurons in 39 patients with PCD and SCLC. VGCC-ab were measured by RIA, and SOX1-ab, Hu-ab, and ZIC4-ab by immunoblot. Lambert-Eaton myastenic syndrome (LEMS) was present in 10 of 23 patients with electrophysiological studies. At least one antibody was detected in 72% of patients. The individual frequencies were: 49% SOX1-ab, 44% VGCC-ab, 31% Hu-ab, and 13% ZIC4-ab. SOX1-ab occurred in 76% of patients with VGCC-ab and 27% of those without VGCC-ab (p = 0.0036). SOX1-ab were not found in 39 patients with sporadic late-onset cerebellar ataxia, 23 with cerebellar ataxia and glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies, and 73 with PCD and cancer types other than SCLC (31 without onconeural antibodies, 25 with Yo-ab , 17 with Tr-ab). Five patients (13%) had antibodies against unknown neuronal cell surface antigens but none of them improved with immunotherapy. One serum immunoreacted against the axon initial segment of neurons and another serum against ELKS1, a protein highly expressed in the cerebellum that interacts with the beta4-subunit of the VGCC. In conclusion, 72% of patients with PCD and SCLC had one or more antibodies that indicate the presence of this tumor. In these patients, VGCC-ab and SOX1-ab occur tightly associated. SOX1-ab are predictors of SCLC in ataxia patients with a specificity of 100% and sensitivity of 49%. Unlike limbic encephalitis with SCLC, antibodies to cell surface antigens other than VGCC-ab, are infrequent and do not predict response to treatment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060438
PMCID: PMC3607586  PMID: 23536908
11.  Passive Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis in C57BL/6 with MOG: Evidence of Involvement of B Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52361.
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is the most relevant animal model to study demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis. EAE can be induced by active (active EAE) or passive (at-EAE) transfer of activated T cells in several species and strains of rodents. However, histological features of at-EAE model in C57BL/6 are poorly described. The aim of this study was to characterize the neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative responses of at-EAE in C57BL/6 mice by histological techniques and compare them with that observed in the active EAE model. To develop the at-EAE, splenocytes from active EAE female mice were harvested and cultured in presence of MOG35–55 and IL-12, and then injected intraperitoneally in recipient female C57BL6/J mice. In both models, the development of EAE was similar except for starting before the onset of symptoms and presenting a higher EAE cumulative score in the at-EAE model. Spinal cord histological examination revealed an increased glial activation as well as more extensive demyelinating areas in the at-EAE than in the active EAE model. Although inflammatory infiltrates composed by macrophages and T lymphocytes were found in the spinal cord and brain of both models, B lymphocytes were significantly increased in the at-EAE model. The co-localization of these B cells with IgG and their predominant distribution in areas of demyelination would suggest that IgG-secreting B cells are involved in the neurodegenerative processes associated with at-EAE.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052361
PMCID: PMC3530560  PMID: 23300649
12.  Cerebrospinal fluid biomarker supported diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and rapid dementias: a longitudinal multicentre study over 10 years 
Brain  2012;135(10):3051-3061.
To date, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, particularly protein 14-3-3 testing, presents an important approach in the identification of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease cases. However, one special point of criticism of 14-3-3 testing is the specificity in the differential diagnosis of rapid dementia. The constant observation of increased cerebrospinal fluid referrals in the national surveillance centres over the last years raises the concern of declining specificity due to higher number of cerebrospinal fluid tests performed in various neurological conditions. Within the framework of a European Community supported longitudinal multicentre study (‘cerebrospinal fluid markers’) we analysed the spectrum of rapid progressive dementia diagnoses, their potential influence on 14-3-3 specificity as well as results of other dementia markers (tau, phosphorylated tau and amyloid-β1–42) and evaluated the specificity of 14-3-3 in Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease diagnosis for the years 1998–2008. A total of 29 022 cerebrospinal fluid samples were analysed for 14-3-3 protein and other cerebrospinal fluid dementia markers in patients with rapid dementia and suspected Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in the participating centres. In 10 731 patients a definite diagnosis could be obtained. Protein 14-3-3 specificity was analysed for Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease with respect to increasing cerebrospinal fluid tests per year and spectrum of differential diagnosis. Ring trials were performed to ensure the comparability between centres during the reported time period. Protein 14-3-3 test specificity remained high and stable in the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease during the observed time period across centres (total specificity 92%; when compared with patients with definite diagnoses only: specificity 90%). However, test specificity varied with respect to differential diagnosis. A high 14-3-3 specificity was obtained in differentiation to other neurodegenerative diseases (95–97%) and non-neurological conditions (91–97%). We observed lower specificity in the differential diagnoses of acute neurological diseases (82–87%). A marked and constant increase in cerebrospinal fluid test referrals per year in all centres did not influence 14-3-3 test specificity and no change in spectrum of differential diagnosis was observed. Cerebrospinal fluid protein 14-3-3 detection remains an important test in the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. Due to a loss in specificity in acute neurological events, the interpretation of positive 14-3-3 results needs to be performed in the clinical context. The spectrum of differential diagnosis of rapid progressive dementia varied from neurodegenerative dementias to dementia due to acute neurological conditions such as inflammatory diseases and non-neurological origin.
doi:10.1093/brain/aws238
PMCID: PMC3470713  PMID: 23012332
rapid dementia; Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease; cerebrospinal fluid; 14-3-3; specificity; neurodegeneration; differential diagnosis in dementia
13.  Influence of Corpus Callosum Damage on Cognition and Physical Disability in Multiple Sclerosis: A Multimodal Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37167.
Background
Corpus callosum (CC) is a common target for multiple sclerosis (MS) pathology. We investigated the influence of CC damage on physical disability and cognitive dysfunction using a multimodal approach.
Methods
Twenty-one relapsing-remitting MS patients and 13 healthy controls underwent structural MRI and diffusion tensor of the CC (fractional anisotropy; mean diffusivity, MD; radial diffusivity, RD; axial diffusivity). Interhemisferic transfer of motor inhibition was assessed by recording the ipsilateral silent period (iSP) to transcranial magnetic stimulation. We evaluated cognitive function using the Brief Repeatable Battery and physical disability using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and the MS Functional Composite (MSFC) z-score.
Results
The iSP latency correlated with physical disability scores (r ranged from 0.596 to 0.657, P values from 0.004 to 0.001), and with results of visual memory (r = −0.645, P = 0.002), processing speed (r = −0.51, P = 0.018) and executive cognitive domain tests (r = −0.452, P = 0.039). The area of the rostrum correlated with the EDSS (r = −0.442, P = 0.045). MD and RD correlated with cognitive performance, mainly with results of visual and verbal memory tests (r ranged from −0.446 to −0.546, P values from 0.048 to 0.011). The iSP latency correlated with CC area (r = −0.345, P = 0.049), volume (r = −0.401, P = 0.002), MD (r = 0.404, P = 0.002) and RD (r = 0.415, P = 0.016).
Conclusions
We found evidence for structural and microstructural CC abnormalities associated with impairment of motor callosal inhibitory conduction in MS. CC damage may contribute to cognitive dysfunction and in less extent to physical disability likely through a disconnection mechanism.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037167
PMCID: PMC3351399  PMID: 22606347
14.  Central hypoventilation as the presenting symptom in Hu associated paraneoplastic encephalomyelitis 
Central hypoventilation is usually caused by ischaemic or neoplastic lesions of the medulla and upper cervical spinal cord. An autoimmune disorder is not usually considered in the differential diagnosis of this syndrome. We retrospectively identified 14 patients from our database of 202 patients with Hu antibodies who presented with brainstem symptoms. Three were admitted to hospital because of central hypoventilation. All underwent intubation and mechanical ventilation. They could breathe properly while they were awake but suffered deep apnoeas during sleep. Two died, but one is still alive requiring ventilatory assistance during sleep. Autopsy was performed in one of the patients which showed severe inflammatory infiltrates and neuronal loss in the medulla. All patients had normal brain imaging studies and the cause of central hypoventilation was an unsolved problem until Hu antibodies were determined.
doi:10.1136/jnnp.2007.117994
PMCID: PMC2117560  PMID: 17878194
16.  ZIC antibodies in paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration and small cell lung cancer☆ 
Journal of neuroimmunology  2008;201-202:163-165.
Patients with isolated ZIC4 antibodies usually have paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (PCD) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) but the frequency is unknown. We analyzed the presence of ZIC1, ZIC2 and ZIC4 antibodies in 27 patients with PCD and SCLC negative for other onconeural antibodies. ZIC antibodies were detected in nitrocellulose filters with phage plaques. Four (15%) PCD sera recognized ZIC2. Three of these positive sera also reacted with ZIC1 and two with ZIC4. Our study suggests that 1) the incidence of isolated ZIC antibodies is low in PCD patients and SCLC and 2) ZIC antibodies are probably directed to epitopes shared by the three ZIC proteins.
doi:10.1016/j.jneuroim.2008.01.018
PMCID: PMC2582201  PMID: 18639938
ZIC antibodies; Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration; Small cell lung cancer; Onconeural antibodies
17.  Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in human genetic transmissible spongiform encephalopathies 
Journal of Neurology  2009;256(10):1620-1628.
The 14-3-3 protein test has been shown to support the clinical diagnosis of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) when associated with an adequate clinical context, and a high differential potential for the diagnosis of sporadic CJD has been attributed to other cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) proteins such as tau protein, S100b and neuron specific enolase (NSE). So far there has been only limited information available about biochemical markers in genetic transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (gTSE), although they represent 10–15% of human TSEs. In this study, we analyzed CSF of 174 patients with gTSEs for 14-3-3 (n = 166), tau protein (n = 78), S100b (n = 46) and NSE (n = 50). Levels of brain-derived proteins in CSF varied in different forms of gTSE. Biomarkers were found positive in the majority of gCJD (81%) and insert gTSE (69%), while they were negative in most cases of fatal familial insomnia (13%) and Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome (10%). Disease duration and codon 129 genotype influence the findings in a different way than in sporadic CJD.
doi:10.1007/s00415-009-5163-x
PMCID: PMC3085782  PMID: 19444528
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; CSF proteins; 14-3-3 protein; Tau
18.  Identification of a functional variant in the KIF5A-CYP27B1-METTL1-FAM119B locus associated with multiple sclerosis 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2012;50(1):25-33.
Background and aim
Several studies have highlighted the association of the 12q13.3–12q14.1 region with coeliac disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis (MS); however, the causal variants underlying diseases are still unclear. The authors sought to identify the functional variant of this region associated with MS.
Methods
Tag-single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis of the associated region encoding 15 genes was performed in 2876 MS patients and 2910 healthy Caucasian controls together with expression regulation analyses.
Results
rs6581155, which tagged 18 variants within a region where 9 genes map, was sufficient to model the association. This SNP was in total linkage disequilibrium (LD) with other polymorphisms that associated with the expression levels of FAM119B, AVIL, TSFM, TSPAN31 and CYP27B1 genes in different expression quantitative trait loci studies. Functional annotations from Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) showed that six out of these rs6581155-tagged-SNPs were located in regions with regulatory potential and only one of them, rs10877013, exhibited allele-dependent (ratio A/G=9.5-fold) and orientation-dependent (forward/reverse=2.7-fold) enhancer activity as determined by luciferase reporter assays. This enhancer is located in a region where a long-range chromatin interaction among the promoters and promoter-enhancer of several genes has been described, possibly affecting their expression simultaneously.
Conclusions
This study determines a functional variant which alters the enhancer activity of a regulatory element in the locus affecting the expression of several genes and explains the association of the 12q13.3–12q14.1 region with MS.
doi:10.1136/jmedgenet-2012-101085
PMCID: PMC3538279  PMID: 23160276
Genome-wide; Multiple sclerosis

Results 1-18 (18)