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1.  Genetic architecture of ALS in Sardinia 
Neurobiology of aging  2014;35(12):2882.e7-2882.e12.
Conserved populations, such as Sardinians, displaying elevated rates of familial or sporadic ALS provide unique information on the genetics of the disease. Our aim was to describe the genetic profile of a consecutive series of ALS patients of Sardinian ancestry. All ALS patients of Sardinian ancestry, identified between 2008 and 2013 through the ITALSGEN consortium, were eligible to be included in the study. Patients and controls underwent the analysis of TARDBP, C9ORF72, SOD1, and FUS genes. Genetic mutations were identified in 155 out of 375 Sardinian ALS cases (41.3%), more commonly the p.A382T and p.G295S mutations of TARDBP, and the GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansion of C9ORF72. One patient had both p.G295S and p.A382T mutation of TARDBP and eight carried both the heterozygous p.A382T mutation of TARDBP and a repeat expansion of C9ORF72. Patients carrying the p.A382T and the p.G295S mutations of TARDBP and the C9ORF72 repeat expansion shared distinct haplotypes across these loci. Patients with co-occurrence of C9ORF72 and TARDBP p.A382T missense mutation had a significantly lower age at onset and shorter survival. More than 40% of all cases on the island of Sardinia carry a mutation of an ALS-related gene, representing the highest percentage of ALS cases genetically explained outside of Scandinavia. Clinical phenotypes associated with different genetic mutations show some distinctive characteristics, but the heterogeneity between and among families carrying the same mutations implies that ALS manifestation is influenced by other genetic and non-genetic factors.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.07.012
PMCID: PMC4252367  PMID: 25123918
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; Sardinia; phenotype; genetics; penetrance; prognosis
2.  ALS/FTD phenotype in two Sardinian families carrying both C9ORF72 and TARDBP mutations 
Background
In the isolated population of Sardinia, a Mediterranean island, ~25% of ALS cases carry either a p.A382T mutation of the TARDBP gene or a GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the first intron of the C9ORF72 gene.
Objective
To describe the co-presence of two genetic mutations in two Sardinian ALS patients.
Methods
We identified two index ALS cases carrying both the p.A382T missense mutation of TARDBP gene and the hexanucleotide repeat expansion of C9ORF72 gene.
Results
The index case of Family A had bulbar ALS and frontemporal dementia (FTD) at 43. His father, who carried the hexanucleotide repeat expansion of C9ORF72 gene, had spinal ALS and FTD at 64 and his mother, who carried the TARDBP gene p.A382T missense mutation, had spinal ALS and FTD at 69. The index case of Family B developed spinal ALS without FTD at 35 and had a rapid course to respiratory failure. His parents are healthy at 62 and 63. The two patients share the known founder risk haplotypes across both the C9ORF72 9p21 locus and the TARDBP 1p36.22 locus.
Conclusions
Our data show that in rare neurodegenerative causing genes can co-exist within the same individuals and are associated with a more severe disease course.
doi:10.1136/jnnp-2012-302219
PMCID: PMC4568835  PMID: 22550220
4.  Large proportion of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis cases in Sardinia are due to a single founder mutation of the TARDBP gene 
Archives of neurology  2011;68(5):594-598.
Objective
To perform an extensive screening for mutations of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)–related genes in a consecutive cohort of Sardinian patients, a genetic isolate phylogenically distinct from other European populations.
Design
Population-based, prospective cohort study.
Patients
A total of 135 Sardinian patients with ALS and 156 healthy control subjects of Sardinian origin who were age- and sex-matched to patients.
Intervention
Patients underwent mutational analysis for SOD1, FUS, and TARDBP.
Results
Mutational screening of the entire cohort found that 39 patients (28.7%) carried the c.1144G A (p.A382T) missense mutation of the TARDBP gene. Of these, 15 had familial ALS (belonging to 10 distinct pedigrees) and 24 had apparently sporadic ALS. None of the 156 age-, sex-, and ethnicity-matched controls carried the pathogenic variant. Genotype data obtained for 5 ALS cases carrying the p.A382T mutation found that they shared a 94–single-nucleotide polymorphism risk haplotype that spanned 663 Kb across the TARDBP locus on chromosome 1p36.22. Three patients with ALS who carry the p.A382T mutation developed extrapyramidal symptoms several years after their initial presentation with motor weakness.
Conclusions
The TARDBP p.A382T missense mutation accounts for approximately one-third of all ALS cases in this island population. These patients share a large risk haplotype across the TARDBP locus, indicating that they have a common ancestor.
doi:10.1001/archneurol.2010.352
PMCID: PMC3513278  PMID: 21220647
5.  A patient carrying a homozygous p.A382T TARDBP missense mutation shows a syndrome including ALS, extrapyramidal symptoms and FTD 
Neurobiology of aging  2011;32(12):2327.e1-2327.e5.
We have recently published data showing that a founder mutation of the TARDBP gene (p.A382T) accounts for approximately one third of ALS cases on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia (Chiò et al, 2011). In that report, we identified 53 years-old man carrying a homozygous A382T missense mutation of the TARDBP gene with a complex neurological syndrome including ALS, parkinsonian features, motor and vocal tics, and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Due to the uniqueness of this case, here we provide a detailed clinical description, as well as neurophysiological, neuropsychological and neuroimaging data for that case and his extended family.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.06.009
PMCID: PMC3192246  PMID: 21803454
6.  Parkin Exon Rearrangements and Sequence Variants in LRRK2 Mutations Carriers: Analysis on a Possible Modifier Effect on LRRK2 Penetrance 
Parkinson's Disease  2010;2010:537698.
Mutations in LRRK2 represent the most common causes of Parkinson's disease (PD) identified to date, but their penetrance is incomplete and probably due to the presence of other genetic or environmental factors required for development of the disease. We analyzed the presence of parkin sequence variants (mutations or polymorphisms) and exon rearrangements in LRRK2 mutations carriers (both PD patients and unaffected relatives) in order to detect a possible modifier effect on penetrance. Eight families with nine PD patients with heterozygous LRRK2 mutations (identified within 380 Sardinian PD patients screened for the presence of the five most common LRRK2 mutations) and sixteen additional relatives were genetically investigated for the presence of LRRK2 and parkin mutations. No evidence was found for the presence of pathological parkin mutations or exon rearrangements in patients or not affected family members. Three single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified both in patients and unaffected relatives but did not significantly differ between the two groups. These data provide no support to the hypothesis whereby such parkin gene mutations may be commonly implicated in possible effect on penetrance in LRRK2 mutation carriers.
doi:10.4061/2010/537698
PMCID: PMC2957242  PMID: 20976090

Results 1-6 (6)