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1.  Borderlines between Sarcopenia and Mild Late-Onset Muscle Disease 
Numerous natural or disease-related alterations occur in different tissues of the body with advancing age. Sarcopenia is defined as age-related decrease of muscle mass and strength beginning in mid-adulthood and accelerating in people older than 60 years. Pathophysiology of sarcopenia involves both neural and muscle dependent mechanisms and is enhanced by multiple factors. Aged muscles show loss in fiber number, fiber atrophy, and gradual increase in the number of ragged red fibers and cytochrome c oxidase-negative fibers. Generalized loss of muscle tissue and increased amount of intramuscular fat are seen on muscle imaging. However, the degree of these changes varies greatly between individuals, and the distinction between normal age-related weakening of muscle strength and clinically significant muscle disease is not always obvious. Because some of the genetic myopathies can present at a very old age and be mild in severity, the correct diagnosis is easily missed. We highlight this difficult borderline zone between sarcopenia and muscle disease by two examples: LGMD1D and myotonic dystrophy type 2. Muscle magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a useful tool to help differentiate myopathies from sarcopenia and to reach the correct diagnosis also in the elderly.
doi:10.3389/fnagi.2014.00267
PMCID: PMC4179539  PMID: 25324776
sarcopenia; myopathy; late-onset; genetic; muscle imaging
2.  Mutations affecting the cytoplasmic functions of the co-chaperone DNAJB6 cause limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 
Nature genetics  2012;44(4):450-S2.
Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 1D (LGMD1D) was linked to 7q36 over a decade ago1, but its genetic cause has remained elusive. We have studied nine LGMD families from Finland, the U.S., and Italy, and identified four dominant missense mutations leading to p.Phe93Leu or p.Phe89Ile changes in the ubiquitously expressed co-chaperone DNAJB6. Functional testing in vivo showed that the mutations have a dominant toxic effect mediated specifically by the cytoplasmic isoform of DNAJB6. In vitro studies demonstrated that the mutations increase the half-life of DNAJB6, extending this effect to the wild-type protein, and reduce its protective anti-aggregation effect. Further, we show that DNAJB6 interacts with members of the CASA complex, including the myofibrillar-myopathy-causing protein BAG3. Our data provide the genetic cause of LGMD1D, suggest that the pathogenesis is mediated by defective chaperone function, and highlight how mutations expressed ubiquitously can exert their effect in a tissue-, cellular compartment-, and isoform-specific manner.
doi:10.1038/ng.1103
PMCID: PMC3315599  PMID: 22366786
3.  TARDBP mutations are not a frequent cause of ALS in Finnish patients 
Acta Myologica  2012;31(2):134-138.
In previous studies 1-3 % of ALS patients have TARDBP mutations as the cause of the disease. TARDBP mutations have been reported in ALS patients in different populations but so far there are no studies on the frequency of TARDBP mutations in Finnish ALS patients. A cohort of 50 Finnish patients, 44 SALS and 6 FALS patients, were included in the study. Genomic DNA was extracted from venous blood or muscle tissue and a mutation analysis of TARDBP was performed. No definitely pathogenic mutations could be identified in TARDBP in our patient cohort. However, two previously unknown variations were found: one silent mutation in exon 2 and one relatively deep intronic single nucleotide insertion in intron 5. In addition, two previously known non-pathogenic polymorphisms in intron 5 were detected. The size of our cohort is obviously not large enough to conclusively exclude TARDBP mutations as a very rare cause of ALS in Finland. However, based on our results TARDBP mutations do not appear to be a frequent cause of familial or sporadic ALS in Finland.
PMCID: PMC3476858  PMID: 23097605
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; mutation screening; TARDBP
4.  Ubiquitin Carboxy-Terminal Hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) is increased in cerebrospinal fluid and plasma of patients after epileptic seizure 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:85.
Background
Clinical and experimental studies have demonstrated that seizures can cause molecular and cellular responses resulting in neuronal damage. At present, there are no valid tests for assessing organic damage to the brain associated with seizure. The aim of this study was to investigate cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma concentrations of Ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1), a sensitive indicator of acute injury to brain neurons, in patients with tonic–clonic or partial secondarily generalized seizures due to various etiologies.
Methods
CSF and plasma concentrations of UCH-L1 were assessed in 52 patients within 48 hours after epileptic seizure and in 19 controls using ELISA assays.
Results
CSF obtained within 48 hours after seizure or status epilepticus (SE) presented significantly higher levels of UCH-L1 compared to controls (p = 0.008). Plasma UCH-L1 concentrations were negatively correlated with time to sample withdrawal. An analysis conducted using only the first 12 hours post-seizure revealed significant differences between concentrations of UCH-L1 in plasma and controls (p = 0.025). CSF and plasma concentrations were strongly correlated with age in patients with seizure, but not in control patients. Plasma UCH-L1 levels were also significantly higher in patients after recurrent seizures (n = 4) than in those after one or two seizures (p = 0.013 and p = 0.024, respectively).
Conclusion
Our results suggest that determining levels of neuronal proteins may provide valuable information on the assessment of brain damage following seizure. These data might allow clinicians to make more accurate therapeutic decisions, to identify patients at risk of progression and, ultimately, to provide new opportunities for monitoring therapy and targeted therapeutic interventions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-85
PMCID: PMC3500207  PMID: 22931063
Biomarkers; UCH-L1; Epileptic seizures; Neuronal damage

Results 1-4 (4)