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1.  Infrequent SCN9A mutations in congenital insensitivity to pain and erythromelalgia 
Objective
Mutations in SCN9A have been reported in (1) congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP); (2) primary erythromelalgia; (3) paroxysmal extreme pain disorder; (4) febrile seizures and recently (5) small fibre sensory neuropathy. We sought to investigate for SCN9A mutations in a clinically well-characterised cohort of patients with CIP and erythromelalgia.
Methods
We sequenced all exons of SCN9A in 19 clinically well-studied cases including 6 CIP and 13 erythromelalgia (9 with family history, 10 with small-fibre neuropathy). The identified variants were assessed in dbSNP135, 1K genome, NHLBI-Exome Sequencing Project (5400-exomes) databases, and 768 normal chromosomes.
Results
In erythromelalgia case 7, we identified a novel Q10>K mutation. In CIP case 6, we identified a novel, de novo splicing mutation (IVS8-2A>G); this splicing mutation compounded with a nonsense mutation (R523>X) and abolished SCN9A mRNA expression almost completely compared with his unaffected father. In CIP case 5, we found a variant (P610>T) previously considered causal for erythromelalgia, supporting recently raised doubt on its causal nature. We also found a splicing junction variant (IVS24-7delGTTT) in all 19 patients, this splicing variant was previously considered casual for CIP, but IVS24-7delGTTT was in fact the major allele in Caucasian populations.
Conclusions
Two novel SCN9A mutations were identified, but frequently polymorphism variants are found which may provide susceptibility factors in pain modulation. CIP and erythromelalgia are defined as genetically heterogeneous, and some SCN9A variants previously considered causal may only be modifying factors.
doi:10.1136/jnnp-2012-303719
PMCID: PMC3594382  PMID: 23129781
2.  Clinical Reasoning: A 56-year-old man with progressive spasticity 
Neurology  2013;80(9):e84-e88.
A 56-year-old man presented with progressive neurologic symptoms that developed more than 14 years ago. His symptoms started with numbness in the toes, followed by slowly progressive lower extremity weakness, increase in tone, and imbalance. He also developed bladder and bowel urgency, constipation, and erectile dysfunction. He did not have any symptoms in his arms.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182840729
PMCID: PMC3598456  PMID: 23439706
3.  High-Throughput Immunoassay for the Biochemical Diagnosis of Friedreich Ataxia in Dried Blood Spots and Whole Blood 
Clinical chemistry  2013;59(10):1461-1469.
BACKGROUND
Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is caused by reduced frataxin (FXN) concentrations. A clinical diagnosis is typically confirmed by DNA-based assays for GAA-repeat expansions or mutations in the FXN (frataxin) gene; however, these assays are not applicable to therapeutic monitoring and population screening. To facilitate the diagnosis and monitoring of FRDA patients, we developed an immunoassay for measuring FXN.
METHODS
Antibody pairs were used to capture FXN and an internal control protein, ceruloplasmin (CP), in 15 μL of whole blood (WB) or one 3-mm punch of a dried blood spot (DBS). Samples were assayed on a Luminex LX200 analyzer and validated according to standard criteria.
RESULTS
The mean recovery of FXN from WB and DBS samples was 99%. Intraassay and interassay imprecision (CV) values were 4.9%–13% and 9.8%–16%, respectively. The FXN limit of detection was 0.07 ng/mL, and the reportable range of concentrations was 2–200 ng/mL. Reference adult and pediatric FXN concentrations ranged from 15 to 82 ng/mL (median, 33 ng/mL) for DBS and WB. The FXN concentration range was 12–22 ng/mL (median, 15 ng/mL) for FRDA carriers and 1–26 ng/mL (median 5 ng/mL) for FRDA patients. Measurement of the FXN/CP ratio increased the ability to distinguish between patients, carriers, and the reference population.
CONCLUSIONS
This assay is applicable to the diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of FRDA. This assay can measure FXN and the control protein CP in both WB and DBS specimens with minimal sample requirements, creating the potential for high-throughput population screening of FRDA.
doi:10.1373/clinchem.2013.207472
PMCID: PMC3914541  PMID: 23838345
4.  Multiple orbital neurofibromas, painful peripheral nerve tumors, distinctive face and marfanoid habitus: a new syndrome 
Four unrelated patients having an unusual clinical phenotype, including multiple peripheral nerve sheath tumors, are reported. Their clinical features were not typical of any known familial tumor syndrome. The patients had multiple painful neurofibromas, including bilateral orbital plexiform neurofibromas, and spinal as well as mucosal neurofibromas. In addition, they exhibited a marfanoid habitus, shared similar facial features, and had enlarged corneal nerves as well as neuronal migration defects. Comprehensive NF1, NF2 and SMARCB1 mutation analyses revealed no mutation in blood lymphocytes and in schwann cells cultured from plexiform neurofibromas. Furthermore, no mutations in RET, PRKAR1A, PTEN and other RAS-pathway genes were found in blood leukocytes. Collectively, the clinical and pathological findings in these four cases fit no known syndrome and likely represent a new disorder.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.275
PMCID: PMC3355267  PMID: 22258529
orbital neurofibroma; plexiform neurofibroma; enlarged corneal nerves; marfanoid habitus
5.  Infrequent SCN9A mutations in congenital insensitivity to pain and erythromelalgia 
Objective
Mutations in SCN9A have been reported in (1) congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP); (2) primary erythromelalgia; (3) paroxysmal extreme pain disorder; (4) febrile seizures and recently (5) small fibre sensory neuropathy. We sought to investigate for SCN9A mutations in a clinically well-characterised cohort of patients with CIP and erythromelalgia.
Methods
We sequenced all exons of SCN9A in 19 clinically well-studied cases including 6 CIP and 13 erythromelalgia (9 with family history, 10 with small-fibre neuropathy). The identified variants were assessed in dbSNP135, 1K genome, NHLBI-Exome Sequencing Project (5400-exomes) databases, and 768 normal chromosomes.
Results
In erythromelalgia case 7, we identified a novel Q10>K mutation. In CIP case 6, we identified a novel, de novo splicing mutation (IVS8-2A>G); this splicing mutation compounded with a nonsense mutation (R523>X) and abolished SCN9A mRNA expression almost completely compared with his unaffected father. In CIP case 5, we found a variant (P610>T) previously considered causal for erythromelalgia, supporting recently raised doubt on its causal nature. We also found a splicing junction variant (IVS24-7delGTTT) in all 19 patients, this splicing variant was previously considered casual for CIP, but IVS24-7delGTTT was in fact the major allele in Caucasian populations.
Conclusions
Two novel SCN9A mutations were identified, but frequently polymorphism variants are found which may provide susceptibility factors in pain modulation. CIP and erythromelalgia are defined as genetically heterogeneous, and some SCN9A variants previously considered causal may only be modifying factors.
doi:10.1136/jnnp-2012-303719
PMCID: PMC3594382  PMID: 23129781
Pain; Neurogenetics
6.  Characterization of frontotemporal dementia and/or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis associated with the GGGGCC repeat expansion in C9ORF72 
Brain  2012;135(3):765-783.
Numerous kindreds with familial frontotemporal dementia and/or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis have been linked to chromosome 9, and an expansion of the GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat in the non-coding region of chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 has recently been identified as the pathogenic mechanism. We describe the key characteristics in the probands and their affected relatives who have been evaluated at Mayo Clinic Rochester or Mayo Clinic Florida in whom the hexanucleotide repeat expansion were found. Forty-three probands and 10 of their affected relatives with DNA available (total 53 subjects) were shown to carry the hexanucleotide repeat expansion. Thirty-six (84%) of the 43 probands had a familial disorder, whereas seven (16%) appeared to be sporadic. Among examined subjects from the 43 families (n = 63), the age of onset ranged from 33 to 72 years (median 52 years) and survival ranged from 1 to 17 years, with the age of onset <40 years in six (10%) and >60 in 19 (30%). Clinical diagnoses among examined subjects included behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia with or without parkinsonism (n = 30), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (n = 18), frontotemporal dementia/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with or without parkinsonism (n = 12), and other various syndromes (n = 3). Parkinsonism was present in 35% of examined subjects, all of whom had behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia or frontotemporal dementia/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as the dominant clinical phenotype. No subject with a diagnosis of primary progressive aphasia was identified with this mutation. Incomplete penetrance was suggested in two kindreds, and the youngest generation had significantly earlier age of onset (>10 years) compared with the next oldest generation in 11 kindreds. Neuropsychological testing showed a profile of slowed processing speed, complex attention/executive dysfunction, and impairment in rapid word retrieval. Neuroimaging studies showed bilateral frontal abnormalities most consistently, with more variable degrees of parietal with or without temporal changes; no case had strikingly focal or asymmetric findings. Neuropathological examination of 14 patients revealed a range of transactive response DNA binding protein molecular weight 43 pathology (10 type A and four type B), as well as ubiquitin-positive cerebellar granular neuron inclusions in all but one case. Motor neuron degeneration was detected in nine patients, including five patients without ante-mortem signs of motor neuron disease. While variability exists, most cases with this mutation have a characteristic spectrum of demographic, clinical, neuropsychological, neuroimaging and especially neuropathological findings.
doi:10.1093/brain/aws004
PMCID: PMC3286335  PMID: 22366793
frontotemporal dementia; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; motor neuron disease; TDP-43; neurogenetics; chromosome 9
7.  Stroke and Stroke-Like Symptoms in Patients with Mutations in the POLG1 Gene 
JIMD Reports  2011;1:89-96.
Introduction/Methods Mutations in POLG1, the gene encoding mitochondrial polymerase gamma (Polγ), have been associated with a number of well-characterized phenotypes. In this study, we report two cases of patients with biallelic POLG1 mutations and stroke. We also performed a review of the literature and report on all clinical studies of patients with POLG1 mutations in which stroke was described in the phenotype. For each patient, genotype and phenotype are reported.
Results Including our two patients, a total of 22 patients have been reported with POLG1 mutations and stroke. The average age of onset of stroke in these patients was 9 years with a range of 1–23 years. In cases where localization was reported, the occipital lobes were the primary location of the infarct. Mutations in the linker–linker or linker–polymerase domains were the most frequent genotype observed. Seizures (16/22) and hepatic dysfunction/failure (8/22) were the most commonly reported symptoms in the stroke cohort.
Conclusion This article raises an underrecognized point that patients with POLG1 mutations may suffer a cerebrovascular accident at a young age. The most common location of the infarction is in the occipital lobe. The presentation may be similar to MELAS and can be misdiagnosed as a migrainous stroke.
doi:10.1007/8904_2011_22
PMCID: PMC3509824  PMID: 23430834
Mitochondrial; POLG1; Stroke

Results 1-7 (7)