Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (35)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

more »
Year of Publication
1.  The EuroBioBank Network: 10 years of hands-on experience of collaborative, transnational biobanking for rare diseases 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2014;23(9):1116-1123.
The EuroBioBank (EBB) network ( is the first operating network of biobanks in Europe to provide human DNA, cell and tissue samples as a service to the scientific community conducting research on rare diseases (RDs). The EBB was established in 2001 to facilitate access to RD biospecimens and associated data; it obtained funding from the European Commission in 2002 (5th framework programme) and started operation in 2003. The set-up phase, during the EC funding period 2003–2006, established the basis for running the network; the following consolidation phase has seen the growth of the network through the joining of new partners, better network cohesion, improved coordination of activities, and the development of a quality-control system. During this phase the network participated in the EC-funded TREAT-NMD programme and was involved in planning of the European Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure. Recently, EBB became a partner of RD-Connect, an FP7 EU programme aimed at linking RD biobanks, registries, and bioinformatics data. Within RD-Connect, EBB contributes expertise, promotes high professional standards, and best practices in RD biobanking, is implementing integration with RD patient registries and ‘omics' data, thus challenging the fragmentation of international cooperation on the field.
PMCID: PMC4538193  PMID: 25537360
2.  Next generation sequencing on patients with LGMD and nonspecific myopathies: Findings associated with ANO5 mutations 
Neuromuscular Disorders  2015;25(7):533-541.
•We have carried out the largest screening of the ANO5 gene.•We identified 33 patients (4%) with pathogenic changes in both alleles and 23 heterozygotes (3%).•The identification of a ANO5 carrier is not to be considered an uncommon finding.•The anoctaminopathies have an extremely high genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity.•NGS-based strategies are perfect to dissect the clinical variability in NMDs.
We studied 786 undiagnosed patients with LGMD or nonspecific myopathic features to investigate the role of ANO5 mutations in limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (LGMDs) and in nonspecific myopathies using the next generation sequencing (NGS) approach. In 160 LGMD patients, we first sequenced hotspot exons 5 and 20 and then sequenced the remaining part of the coding region. Another 626 patients, recruited using broader inclusion criteria, were directly analyzed by targeted NGS. By combining NGS and Sanger sequencing, we identified 33/786 (4%) patients carrying putative pathogenic changes in both alleles and 23 ANO5 heterozygotes (3%). The phenotypic spectrum is broader than expected, from hyperCKemia to myopathies, with lack of genotype/phenotype correlations. In particular, this is currently the largest screening of the ANO5 gene. The large number of heterozygotes for damaging mutations suggests that anoctaminopathies should be frequent and often nonpenetrant. We propose the multiple genetic testing by targeted NGS as a first step to analyze patients with nonspecific myopathic presentations. This represents a straightforward approach to overcome the difficulties of clinical heterogeneity of ANO5 patients, and to test, at the same time, many other genes involved in neuromuscular disorders.
PMCID: PMC4502439  PMID: 25891276
Next generation sequencing; Muscular dystrophy; LGMD2L; Anoctamin; NGS screening; Targeted resequencing; Limb girdle muscular dystrophy
4.  Clinical features of patients with dystrophinopathy sharing the 45-55 exon deletion of DMD gene 
Acta Myologica  2015;34(1):9-13.
Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) was first described in 1953 by Emile Becker as a benign variant of Duchenne muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Compared with DMD, BMD is clinically more heterogeneous, with initial presentation in the teenage years and loss of ambulation beyond the age of 16 and a wide spectrum of clinical presentations, ranging from only myalgias and muscle cramps to exercise intolerance and myoglobinuria, asymptomatic elevation of serum creatin-kinase, or mild limb-girdle weakness and quadriceps myopathy. About 50% of patients become symptomatic by the age of 10 and the most part by the age of 20 years. However few patients can be free of symptoms till their fifties and cases of late-onset Becker Muscular Dystrophy have also been described.
In this report we describe the clinical features of patients with dystrophinopathy sharing a deletion of exons 45-55, occasionally or retrospectively diagnosed. These data are important for both the prognostic aspects of children presenting this dystrophin gene mutation, and for the genetic counseling in these families (reassuring them on the benign course of the disease), and last but not least to keep in mind a diagnosis of BMD in asymptomatic adults with mild hyperckemia.
PMCID: PMC4478772  PMID: 26155064
Becker muscular dystrophy; dystrophin; asymptomatic BMD
5.  Psychological and practical difficulties among parents and healthy siblings of children with Duchenne vs. Becker muscular dystrophy: an Italian comparative study 
Acta Myologica  2014;33(3):136-143.
This study explored the burden in parents and healthy siblings of 4-17 year-old patients with Duchenne (DMD) and Becker (BMD) muscular dystrophies, and whether the burden varied according to clinical aspects and social resources.
Data on socio-demographic characteristics, patient's clinical history, parent and healthy children burden, and on parent's social resources were collected using self-reported questionnaires administered to 336 parents of patients with DMD (246) and BMD (90).
Parents of patients with DMD reported higher burden than those of patients with BMD, especially concerning feeling of loss (84.3% DMD vs. 57.4% BMD), stigma (44.2% DMD vs. 5.5% BMD) and neglect of hobbies (69.0% DMD vs. 32.5% BMD). Despite the burden, 66% DMD and 62.4% BMD parents stated the caregiving experience had a positive impact on their lives. A minority of parents believed MD has a negative influence on the psychological well-being (31.0% DMD vs. 12.8% BMD), and social life of unaffected children (25.7% vs. 18.4%).
In the DMD group, burden correlated with duration of illness and parent age, and burden was higher among parents with lower social contacts and support in emergencies. In DMD, difficulties among healthy children were reported as higher by parents who were older, had higher burden and lower social contacts. In both groups, burden increased in relation to patient disability.
These findings underline that the psychological support to be provided to parents of patients with MD, should take into account clinical features of the disease.
PMCID: PMC4369844  PMID: 25873782
Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Becker muscular dystrophy; parents, healthy siblings; burden; social network
6.  The effect of atrial preference pacing on atrial fibrillation electrophysiological substrate in Myotonic Dystrophy type 1 population 
Acta Myologica  2014;33(3):127-135.
P-wave dispersion is a non invasive indicator of intra-atrial conduction heterogeneity producing substrate for reentry, which is a pathophysiological mechanism of atrial fibrillation. The relationship between P-wave dispersion (PD) and atrial fibrillation (AF) in Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) patients is still unclear. Atrial Preference Pacing (APP) is an efficient algorithm to prevent paroxysmal AF in patients implanted with dual-chamber pacemaker. Aim of our study was to evaluate the possible correlation between atrial preference pacing algorithm, P-wave dispersion and AF burden in DM1 patients with normal cardiac function underwent permanent dual-chamber pacemaker implantation.
We enrolled 50 patients with DM1 (age 50.3 ± 7.3; 11 F) underwent dual-chamber pacemaker implantation for various degree of atrioventricula block. The study population was randomized following 1 months stabilization period to APP algorithm features programmed OFF or ON. Patients were assessed every 3 months for the first year, and every 6 months thereafter up to 3 years. At each follow-up visit, we counted: the number of premature atrial beats, the number and the mean duration of AF episodes, AF burden and the percentage of atrial and ventricular pacing.
APP ON Group showed lower number of AF episodes (117 ± 25 vs. 143 ± 37; p = 0.03) and AF burden (3059 ± 275 vs. 9010 ± 630 min; p < 0.04) than APP OFF Group. Atrial premature beats count (44903 ± 30689 vs. 13720 ± 7717 beats; p = 0.005) and Pwave dispersion values (42,1 ± 11 ms vs. 29,1 ± 4,2 ms, p = 0,003) were decreased in APP ON Group. We found a significant positive correlation between PD and AF burden (R = 0,8, p = 0.007).
Atrial preference pacing algorithm, decreasing the number of atrial premature beats and the P-wave dispersion, reduces the onset and perpetuator factors of AF episodes and decreases the AF burden in DM1 patients underwent dual chamber pacemaker implantation for various degree of atrioventricular blocks and documented atrial fibrillation.
PMCID: PMC4369849  PMID: 25873781
atrial fibrillation; Myotonic Dystrophy; atrial preference pacing
7.  The 6 Minute Walk Test and Performance of Upper Limb in Ambulant Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Boys 
PLoS Currents  2014;
The Performance of Upper Limb (PUL) test was specifically developed for the assessment of upper limbs in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The first published data have shown that early signs of involvement can also be found in ambulant DMD boys. The aim of this longitudinal Italian multicentric study was to evaluate the correlation between the 6 Minute Walk Test (6MWT) and the PUL in ambulant DMD boys. Both 6MWT and PUL were administered to 164 ambulant DMD boys of age between 5.0 and 16.17 years (mean 8.82). The 6 minute walk distance (6MWD) ranged between 118 and 557 (mean: 376.38, SD: 90.59). The PUL total scores ranged between 52 and 74 (mean: 70.74, SD: 4.66). The correlation between the two measures was 0.499. The scores on the PUL largely reflect the overall impairment observed on the 6MWT but the correlation was not linear. The use of the PUL appeared to be less relevant in the very strong patients with 6MWD above 400 meters, who, with few exceptions had near full scores. In patients with lower 6MWD the severity of upper limb involvement was more variable and could not always be predicted by the 6MWD value or by the use of steroids. Our results confirm that upper limb involvement can already be found in DMD boys even in the ambulant phase.
PMCID: PMC4208936  PMID: 25642376
8.  Long Term Natural History Data in Ambulant Boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: 36-Month Changes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108205.
The 6 minute walk test has been recently chosen as the primary outcome measure in international multicenter clinical trials in Duchenne muscular dystrophy ambulant patients. The aim of the study was to assess the spectrum of changes at 3 years in the individual measures, their correlation with steroid treatment, age and 6 minute walk test values at baseline. Ninety-six patients from 11 centers were assessed at baseline and 12, 24 and 36 months after baseline using the 6 minute walk test and the North Star Ambulatory Assessment. Three boys (3%) lost the ability to perform the 6 minute walk test within 12 months, another 13 between 12 and 24 months (14%) and 11 between 24 and 36 months (12%). The 6 minute walk test showed an average overall decline of −15.8 (SD 77.3) m at 12 months, of −58.9 (SD 125.7) m at 24 months and −104.22 (SD 146.2) m at 36 months. The changes were significantly different in the two baseline age groups and according to the baseline 6 minute walk test values (below and above 350 m) (p<0.001). The changes were also significantly different according to steroid treatment (p = 0.01). Similar findings were found for the North Star Ambulatory Assessment. These are the first 36 month longitudinal data using the 6 minute walk test and North Star Ambulatory Assessment in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Our findings will help not only to have a better idea of the progression of the disorder but also provide reference data that can be used to compare with the results of the long term extension studies that are becoming available.
PMCID: PMC4182715  PMID: 25271887
9.  Sleep breathing disorders and nocturnal respiratory pattern in patients with Glycogenosis type II 
Acta Myologica  2014;33(2):100-103.
Patients affected by glycogenosis type II frequently present sleepdisordered breathing. The presence of symptoms suggestive of sleep breathing disorders was investigated, by a questionnaire, in 10 patients, affected by adult or juvenile forms of glycogenosis type II. Diurnal respiratory function, diaphragm weakness and nocturnal respiratory pattern were evaluated at the enrolment. In patients presenting sleep disordered breathing, the same parameters were re-evaluated after treatment with assisted non invasive ventilation. Out of 10 patients, 5 presented symptoms suggestive of sleep-disordered breathing at the baseline, 2 a pattern of sleep apnea syndrome and 3 nocturnal hypoventilation. All patients presented diaphragmatic weakness. No correlation was found between forced vital capacity values (FVC) in sit position and nocturnal respiratory disorders. Five patients with respiratory disorders were treated with non invasive ventilation. All patients – after one month of treatment - showed an improvement in symptoms with reduced diurnal hypersomnia (ESS < 10), absence of morning headaches and nocturnal awakenings, and reduced nicturia regardless the modality of ventilation. We recommend that all patients with glycogenosis type II, once diagnosed, are carefully monitored for the development of respiratory involvement, even in the absence of reduced FVC values and in the early stages of the disease, to receive appropriate therapy.
PMCID: PMC4299164  PMID: 25709380
glycogenosis; apnoea; hypopnea; hypoventilation; non invasive ventilation
10.  Far field R-wave sensing in Myotonic Dystrophy type 1: right atrial appendage versus Bachmann's bundle region lead placement 
Acta Myologica  2014;33(2):94-99.
Aim of the present study was to investigate far field R-wave sensing (FFRS) timing and characteristics in 34 Myotonic Dystrophy type 1 (DM1) patients undergoing dual chamber pacemaker implantation, comparing Bachmann's bundle (BB) stimulation (16 patients) site with the conventional right atrial appendage (RAA) pacing site (18 patients). All measurements were done during sinus rhythm and in supine position, with unipolar (UP) and bipolar (BP) sensing configuration. The presence, amplitude threshold (FFRS trsh) and FFRS timing were determined. There were no differences between both atrial sites in the Pmin and Pmean values of sensed P-wave amplitudes, as well as between UP and BP sensing configurations. The FFRS trsh was lower at the BB region in comparison to the RAA site. The mean BP FFRS trsh was significantly lower than UP configuration in both atrial locations. There were no significant differences in atrial pacing threshold, sensing threshold and atrial lead impedances at the implant time and at FFRS measurements. Bachmann's bundle area is an optimal atrial lead position for signal sensing as well as conventional RAA, but it offers the advantage of reducing the oversensing of R-wave on the atrial lead, thus improving functioning of standard dual chamber pacemakers in DM1 patients.
PMCID: PMC4299168  PMID: 25709379
far field; oversensing; far field R-wave sensing; myotonic dystrophy type 1; atrial lead; Bachmann's bundle
11.  Affinity proteomics within rare diseases: a BIO-NMD study for blood biomarkers of muscular dystrophies 
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2014;6(7):918-936.
Despite the recent progress in the broad-scaled analysis of proteins in body fluids, there is still a lack in protein profiling approaches for biomarkers of rare diseases. Scarcity of samples is the main obstacle hindering attempts to apply discovery driven protein profiling in rare diseases. We addressed this challenge by combining samples collected within the BIO-NMD consortium from four geographically dispersed clinical sites to identify protein markers associated with muscular dystrophy using an antibody bead array platform with 384 antibodies. Based on concordance in statistical significance and confirmatory results obtained from analysis of both serum and plasma, we identified eleven proteins associated with muscular dystrophy, among which four proteins were elevated in blood from muscular dystrophy patients: carbonic anhydrase III (CA3) and myosin light chain 3 (MYL3), both specifically expressed in slow-twitch muscle fibers and mitochondrial malate dehydrogenase 2 (MDH2) and electron transfer flavoprotein A (ETFA). Using age-matched sub-cohorts, 9 protein profiles correlating with disease progression and severity were identified, which hold promise for the development of new clinical tools for management of dystrophinopathies.
PMCID: PMC4119355  PMID: 24920607
antibody-based proteomics; disease severity biomarkers; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; plasma profilling; protein profiling
12.  Clinical and molecular cross-sectional study of a cohort of adult type III spinal muscular atrophy patients: clues from a biomarker study 
Proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder caused by mutations of the SMN1 gene. Based on severity, three forms of SMA are recognized (types I–III). All patients usually have 2–4 copies of a highly homologous gene (SMN2), which produces insufficient levels of functional survival motor neuron (SMN) protein due to the alternative splicing of exon 7. The availability of potential candidates to the treatment of SMA has raised a number of issues, including the availability of biomarkers. This study was aimed at evaluating whether the quantification of SMN2 products in peripheral blood is a suitable biomarker for SMA. Forty-five adult type III patients were evaluated by Manual Muscle Testing, North Star Ambulatory Assessment scale, 6-min walk test, myometry, forced vital capacity, and dual X-ray absorptiometry. Molecular assessments included SMN2 copy number, levels of full-length SMN2 (SMN2-fl) transcripts and those lacking exon 7 and SMN protein. Clinical outcome measures strongly correlated to each other. Lean body mass correlated inversely with years from diagnosis and with several aspects of motor performance. SMN2 copy number and SMN protein levels were not associated with motor performance or transcript levels. SMN2-fl levels correlated with motor performance in ambulant patients. Our results indicate that SMN2-fl levels correlate with motor performance only in patients preserving higher levels of motor function, whereas motor performance was strongly influenced by disease duration and lean body mass. If not taken into account, the confounding effect of disease duration may impair the identification of potential SMA biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC3658179  PMID: 23073312
spinal muscular atrophy; SMN; biomarker; outcome measure; real-time PCR
13.  6 Minute Walk Test in Duchenne MD Patients with Different Mutations: 12 Month Changes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e83400.
In the last few years some of the therapeutical approaches for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) are specifically targeting distinct groups of mutations, such as deletions eligible for skipping of individual exons. The aim of this observational study was to establish whether patients with distinct groups of mutations have different profiles of changes on the 6 minute walk test (6MWT) over a 12 month period.
The 6MWT was performed in 191 ambulant DMD boys at baseline and 12 months later. The results were analysed using a test for heterogeneity in order to establish possible differences among different types of mutations (deletions, duplications, point mutations) and among subgroups of deletions eligible to skip individual exons.
At baseline the 6MWD ranged between 180 and 560,80 metres (mean 378,06, SD 74,13). The 12 month changes ranged between −325 and 175 (mean −10.8 meters, SD 69.2). Although boys with duplications had better results than those with the other types of mutations, the difference was not significant.
Similarly, boys eligible for skipping of the exon 44 had better baseline results and less drastic changes than those eligible for skipping exon 45 or 53, but the difference was not significant.
even if there are some differences among subgroups, the mean 12 month changes in each subgroup were all within a narrow Range: from the mean of the whole DMD cohort. This information will be of help at the time of designing clinical trials with small numbers of eligible patients.
PMCID: PMC3885414  PMID: 24421885
14.  Atrial fibrillation burden in Myotonic Dystrophy type 1 patients implanted with dual chamber pacemaker: the efficacy of the overdrive atrial algorithm at 2 year follow-up 
Acta Myologica  2013;32(3):142-147.
The role that atrial pacing therapy plays on the atrial fibrillation (AF) burden is still unclear. Aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of the atrial preference pacing algorithm on AF burden in patients affected by Myotonic Dystrophy type 1 (DM1) followed for a long follow up period. Sixty DM1 patients were -implanted with a dual chamber pacemaker (PM) for first degree or symptomatic type 1/type 2 second degree atrio-ventricular blocks- were followed for 2-years after implantation, by periodical examination. After 1 month of stabilization, they were randomized into two groups: 1) Patients implanted with conventional dual-chamber pacing mode (DDDR group) and 2) Patients implanted with DDDR plus Atrial Preference Pacing (APP) algorithm (APP ON group).
The results showed that atrial tachycardia (AT)/AF burden was significantly reduced at 1 year follow up in the APP ON group (2122 ± 428 minutes vs 4127 ± 388 minutes, P = 0.03), with a further reduction at the end of the 2 year follow up period (4652 ± 348 minutes vs 7564 ± 638 minutes, P = 0.005).
The data here reported show that the APP is an efficient algorithm to reduce AT/AF burden in DM1 patients implanted with dual chamber pacemaker.
PMCID: PMC4006281  PMID: 24803841
Atrial overdrive algorithm; atrial preference pacing; supraventricular tachyarrhythmias; Myotonic Dystrophy type 1
16.  “I have got something positive out of this situation”: psychological benefits of caregiving in relatives of young people with muscular dystrophy 
Journal of Neurology  2013;261(1):188-195.
This paper focuses on the psychological benefits of caregiving in key relatives of patients with muscular dystrophies (MD), a group of rare diseases characterized by progressive weakness and restriction of the patient’s functional abilities. We describe whether relatives perceived caregiving to be a positive experience and test whether relatives’ perceptions vary in relation to their view of the patient as a valued person, the degree of involvement in care, and the level of support provided by social network and professionals. The study sample included 502 key relatives of patients aged 4–25 years, suffering from Duchenne, Becker, or limb-girdle MD, in treatment for at least 6 months to one of the eight participating centers, living with at least one relative aged 18–80 years. Of key relatives, 88 % stated that they had gotten something positive out of the situation, 96 % considered their patients to be sensitive, and 94 % viewed their patients as talented. Positive aspects of caregiving were more recognized by key relatives who were more convinced that the patient was sensitive and who perceived that they received higher level of professional help and psychological social support. These results suggest that most key relatives consider that their caregiving experience has had a positive impact on their lives, despite the practical difficulties of caring for patients with MD. Professionals should help relatives to identify the benefits of caregiving without denying its difficulties. Clinicians themselves should develop positive attitudes towards family involvement in the care of patients with long-term diseases.
PMCID: PMC3895206  PMID: 24202786
Muscular dystrophy; Psychological benefits; Caregiving; Social network; Professional support
17.  Telethon Network of Genetic Biobanks: a key service for diagnosis and research on rare diseases 
Several examples have always illustrated how access to large numbers of biospecimens and associated data plays a pivotal role in the identification of disease genes and the development of pharmaceuticals. Hence, allowing researchers to access to significant numbers of quality samples and data, genetic biobanks are a powerful tool in basic, translational and clinical research into rare diseases. Recently demand for well-annotated and properly-preserved specimens is growing at a high rate, and is expected to grow for years to come. The best effective solution to this issue is to enhance the potentialities of well-managed biobanks by building a network.
Here we report a 5-year experience of the Telethon Network of Genetic Biobanks (TNGB), a non-profit association of Italian repositories created in 2008 to form a virtually unique catalogue of biospecimens and associated data, which presently lists more than 750 rare genetic defects. The process of TNGB harmonisation has been mainly achieved through the adoption of a unique, centrally coordinated, IT infrastructure, which has enabled (i) standardisation of all the TNGB procedures and activities; (ii) creation of an updated TNGB online catalogue, based on minimal data set and controlled terminologies; (iii) sample access policy managed via a shared request control panel at web portal. TNGB has been engaged in disseminating information on its services into both scientific/biomedical - national and international - contexts, as well as associations of patients and families. Indeed, during the last 5-years national and international scientists extensively used the TNGB with different purposes resulting in more than 250 scientific publications. In addition, since its inception the TNGB is an associated member of the Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure and recently joined the EuroBioBank network. Moreover, the involvement of patients and families, leading to the formalization of various agreements between TNGB and Patients’ Associations, has demonstrated how promoting Biobank services can be instrumental in gaining a critical mass of samples essential for research, as well as, raising awareness, trust and interest of the general public in Biobanks. This article focuses on some fundamental aspects of networking and demonstrates how the translational research benefits from a sustained infrastructure.
PMCID: PMC3766640  PMID: 24004821
Biobanking; Networking; Biological resources centre; IT infrastructure; Biological material; Biospecimens; Cryopreservation; Rare diseases; Patients’ associations
18.  Importance of SPP1 genotype as a covariate in clinical trials in Duchenne muscular dystrophy 
Neurology  2012;79(2):159-162.
To test the effect of the single nucleotide polymorphism −66 T>G (rs28357094) in the osteopontin gene (SPP1) on functional measures over 12 months in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
This study was conducted on a cohort of ambulatory patients with DMD from a network of Italian neuromuscular centers, evaluated longitudinally with the North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) and the 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT) at study entry and after 12 months. Genotype at rs28357094 was determined after completion of the clinical evaluations. Patients were stratified in 2 groups according to a dominant model (TT homozygotes vs TG heterozygotes and GG homozygotes) and clinical data were retrospectively compared between groups.
Eighty patients were selected (age 4.1–19.3 years; mean 8.3 ± 2.7 SD). There were no differences in age or steroid treatment between the 2 subgroups. Paired t test showed a significant difference in both NSAA (p = 0.013) and 6MWT (p = 0.03) between baseline and follow-up after 12 months in patients with DMD carrying the G allele. The difference was not significant in the T subgroup. The analysis of covariance using age and baseline values as covariate and SPP1 genotype as fixed effect showed that these parameters are significantly correlated with the 12-month values.
These data provide evidence of the role of SPP1 genotype as a disease modifier in DMD and support its relevance in the selection of homogeneous groups of patients for future clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3390537  PMID: 22744661
19.  Overlapping syndromes in laminopathies: a meta-analysis of the reported literature 
Acta Myologica  2013;32(1):7-17.
Mutations on the LMNA gene are responsible for an heterogeneous group of diseases. Overlapping syndromes related to LMNA gene alterations have been extensively reported. Study scope is to perform a systematic analysis of the overlapping syndromes so far described and to try to correlate the clinical features to the associated genetic alterations. We evaluated all the dominant overlapping syndromes reported by means of a PubMed search and by the analysis of the main databases containing the pathogenic LMNA gene variations and the associated diseases.
Metabolic alterations in association to skeletal and/or cardiac alterations proved to be the most frequent overlap syndrome. Overlapping syndromes are mostly associated to inframe mutations in exons 1, 2, 8 and 9. These data further improve the understanding of the pathogenesis of laminopathies.
PMCID: PMC3665370  PMID: 23853504
Lamin A/C; laminopathies; LMNA overlapping syndromes
20.  Advances in basic and clinical research in laminopathies 
Acta Myologica  2013;32(1):18-22.
Lamins (LMNA) are the main proteins of the nuclear lamina considered to be the ancestors of all intermediate filament proteins. They form complex protein assemblies with integral proteins of the inner nuclear membrane, transcriptional regulators, histones and chromatin modifiers. During recent years, interest in lamins has greatly increased due to the identification of many distinct heritable human disorders associated with lamin mutations. These disorders, collectively termed laminopathies, range from muscular dystrophies to premature aging. They may affect muscle, fat, bone, nerve and skin tissues. The workshop was addressed to understand lamin organization and its roles in nuclear processes, mutations in lamins affecting cell and tissues functions, the biology of the nucleus and laminopathic disease mechanisms, all aspects important for designing future therapies.
PMCID: PMC3665372  PMID: 23853505
LMNA A/C gene; laminopathies; Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy
21.  24 Month Longitudinal Data in Ambulant Boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e52512.
The aim of the study was i) to assess the spectrum of changes over 24 months in ambulant boys affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy, ii) to establish the difference between the first and the second year results and iii) to identify possible early markers of loss of ambulation.
One hundred and thirteen patients (age range 4.1–17, mean 8.2) fulfilled the inclusion criteria, 67 of the 113 were on daily and 40 on intermittent steroids, while 6 were not on steroids. All were assessed using the 6 Minute Walk Test (6MWT), the North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) and timed test.
On the 6MWT there was an average overall decline of −22.7 (SD 81.0) in the first year and of −64.7 (SD 123.1) in the second year. On the NSAA the average overall decline was of −1.86 (SD 4.21) in the first year and of −2.98 (SD 5.19) in the second year. Fourteen children lost ambulation, one in the first year and the other 13 in the second year of the study. A distance of at least 330 meters on the 6MWT, or a NSAA score of 18 at baseline reduced significantly the risk of losing ambulation within 2 years.
These results can be of help at the time of using inclusion criteria for a study in ambulant patients in order to minimize the risk of patients who may lose ambulation within the time of the trial.
PMCID: PMC3543414  PMID: 23326337
22.  Editorial 
Acta Myologica  2012;31(3):169.
PMCID: PMC3631800  PMID: 23620647
23.  On a case of respiratory failure due to diaphragmatic paralysis and dilated cardiomyopathy in a patient with nemaline myopathy 
Acta Myologica  2012;31(3):201-203.
Nemaline myopathy is a rare congenital disease that generally occurs in childhood. We report a case of a 50-year-old man who presented with severe heart failure as the initial manifestation of nemaline myopathy. Soon after he developed acute restrictive respiratory failure due to the diaphragmatic paralysis. The diagnosis of "nemaline myopathy" was obtained on muscle biopsy performed one year later. After starting appropriate cardiological treatment and non-invasive ventilation, his cardiac and pulmonary functions improved substantially, remaining stable for over the 10 years since diagnosis. In the last two years the patient had a progressive deterioration of respiratory function, enabling him to attend daily activities.
Few cases of respiratory failure in patients with adult-onset nemaline myopathy are reported, but the insidious onset in this case is even more unusual. This case highlights the wide spectrum of presenting features of adult-onset nemaline myopathy and the temporary efficacy of non invasive ventilation on respiratory function.
PMCID: PMC3631801  PMID: 23620652
Nemaline myopathy; heart failure; respiratory failure
24.  Increased dispersion of ventricular repolarization in emery dreifuss muscular dystrophy patients 
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is common in patients with Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD) and is attributed to the development of life-threatening arrhythmias that occur in the presence of normal left ventricular systolic function. Heterogeneity of ventricular repolarization is considered to provide an electrophysiological substrate for malignant arrhythmias. QTc dispersion (QTc-D) and JTc dispersion (JTc-D) are electrocardiographic parameters indicative of heterogeneity of ventricular repolarization. The aim of our study was to evaluate the heterogeneity of ventricular repolarization in patients with Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy with preserved systolic and diastolic cardiac function
The study involved 36 EDMD patients (age 20±12, 26 M) and 36 healthy subjects used as controls, matched for age and sex. Heart rate, QRS duration, maximum and minimum QT and JT interval, QTc-D and JTc-D measurements were performed.
Compared to the healthy control group, the EDMD group presented increased values of QTc-D (82.7±44.2 vs. 53.1±13.7; P=0,003) and JTc-D (73.6±32.3 vs. 60.4±11.1 ms; P=0.001). No correlation between QTc dispersion and ejection fraction (R=0.2, P=0.3) was found.
Our study showed a significant increase of QTc-D and JTc-D in Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy patients with preserved systolic and diastolic cardiac function.
PMCID: PMC3560603  PMID: 23111739
Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD); sudden cardiac death (SCD); ventricular repolarization; QTc dispersion; JTc dispersion
25.  Right atrial preference pacing algorithm in the prevention of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in myotonic dystrophy type 1 patients: a long term follow-up study 
Acta Myologica  2012;31(2):139-143.
Atrial Preference Pacing (APP) is a pacemaker (PM) algorithm that works by increasing the atrial pacing rate to achieve continuous suppression of a spontaneous atrial rhythm and prevent supraventricular tachyarrhythmias. We have previously shown that atrial preference pacing may significantly reduce the number and the duration of AF episodes in myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) patients who are paced for standard indications.
However, the role that APP therapies play in the prevention of AF in a long-term period remains still unclear. Aim of the present prospective study was to evaluate whether this beneficial effect is maintained for 24-months follow-up period.
To this aim, 50 patients with Myotonic Dystrophy type 1 who underwent dual-chamber PM implantation for first- and second- degree atrioventricular block, were consecutively enrolled and followed for 2 years. One month later the stabilization period, after the implantation, they were randomized to APP algorithm programmed OFF or ON for 6 months each, using a cross-over design, and remained in the same program for the second year. The results showed that while the number of AF episodes during active treatment (APP ON phases) was lower than that registered during no treatment (APP OFF phases), no statistically significant difference was found in AF episodes duration between the two phases. Furthermore, during the APP OFF and APP ON phases, the percentage of atrial pacing was 0 and 99%, respectively, while the percentage of ventricular pacing did not show differences statistically significant (11 vs. 9%, P = 0.2). Atrial premature beats were significantly higher during APP OFF phases than during APP ON phases. Lead parameters remained stable over time and there were no lead-related complications. Based on these 24-months follow-up data, we can conclude that, in DM1 patients who underwent dual-chamber PM implantation, APP is an efficacy algorithm for preventing paroxysmal AF even in long term periods.
PMCID: PMC3476853  PMID: 23097606
myotonic dystrophy; atrial preference pacing; atrial fibrillation

Results 1-25 (35)