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1.  Identification of Biomarkers in Cerebrospinal Fluid and Serum of Multiple Sclerosis Patients by Immunoproteomics Approach 
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. At present, the molecular mechanisms causing the initiation, development and progression of MS are poorly understood, and no reliable proteinaceous disease markers are available. In this study, we used an immunoproteomics approach to identify autoreactive antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients to use as candidate markers with potential diagnostic value. We identified an autoreactive anti-transferrin antibody that may have a potential link with the development and progression of MS. We found this antibody at high levels also in the serum of MS patients and created an immunoenzymatic assay to detect it. Because of the complexity and heterogeneity of multiple sclerosis, it is difficult to find a single marker for all of the processes involved in the origin and progression of the disease, so the development of a panel of biomarkers is desirable, and anti-transferrin antibody could be one of these.
PMCID: PMC4284765  PMID: 25517032
multiple sclerosis; cerebrospinal fluid; immunoproteome; anti-transferrin autoantibodies; serum biomarker
2.  De novo mutation in a male patient with Fabry disease: a case report 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:11.
Fabry disease is an X-linked inherited metabolic condition where the deficit of the α-galactosidase A enzyme, encoded by the GLA gene, leads to glycosphingolipid storage, mainly globotriaosylceramide. To date, more than 600 mutations have been identified in human GLA gene that are responsible for FD, including missense and nonsense mutations, small and large deletions. Such mutations are usually inherited, and cases of de novo onset occur rarely.
Case presentation
In this article we report an interesting case of a 44-year-old male patient suffering from a severe form of Fabry disease, with negative family history. The patient showed signs such as cornea verticillata, angiokeratomas, cardiac and neurological manifestations, an end-stage renal disease and he had low α-galactosidase A activity. We detected, in this subject, the mutation c.493 G > C in the third exon of the GLA gene which causes the amino acid substitution D165H in the protein. This mutation affects the amino acid - belonging to the group of buried residues - involved, probably, in the preservation of the protein folding. Moreover, studies of multiple sequence alignment indicate that this amino acid is highly conserved, thus strengthening the hypothesis that it is a key amino acid to the enzyme functionality.
The study of the relatives of the patient showed that, surprisingly, none of the members of his family of origin had this genetic alteration, suggesting a de novo mutation. Only his 11-year-old daughter - showing acroparaesthesias and heat intolerance with reduced enzymatic activity - had the same mutation.
We suggest that a non-inherited mutation of the α-galactosidase A gene is responsible for Fabry disease in the patient who had reduced enzyme activity and classical clinical manifestations of the disease. In a family, it is rare to find only one Fabry disease affected subject with a de novo mutation. These findings emphasize the importance of early diagnosis, genetic counselling, studying the genealogical tree of the patients and starting enzyme replacement therapy to prevent irreversible vital organ damage that occurs during the course of the disease.
PMCID: PMC3892097  PMID: 24398019
Fabry disease; α-galactosidase A; GLA gene; D165H mutation; De novo mutation
3.  A classical phenotype of Anderson-Fabry disease in a female patient with intronic mutations of the GLA gene: a case report 
Fabry disease (FD) is a hereditary metabolic disorder caused by the partial or total inactivation of a lysosomal hydrolase, the enzyme α-galactosidase A (GLA). This inactivation is responsible for the storage of undegraded glycosphingolipids in the lysosomes with subsequent cellular and microvascular dysfunction. The incidence of disease is estimated at 1:40,000 in the general population, although neonatal screening initiatives have found an unexpectedly high prevalence of genetic alterations, up to 1:3,100, in newborns in Italy, and have identified a surprisingly high frequency of newborn males with genetic alterations (about 1:1,500) in Taiwan.
Case presentation
We describe the case of a 40-year-old female patient who presented with transient ischemic attack (TIA), discomfort in her hands, intolerance to cold and heat, severe angina and palpitations, chronic kidney disease. Clinical, biochemical and molecular studies were performed.
Reported symptoms, peculiar findings in a renal biopsy – the evidence of occasional lamellar inclusions in podocytes and mesangial cells – and left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy, which are considered to be specific features of FD, as well as molecular evaluations, suggested the diagnosis of a classical form of FD.
We detected four mutations in the GLA gene of the patient: -10C>T (g.1170C>T), c.370-77_-81del (g.7188-7192del5), c.640-16A>G (g.10115A>G), c.1000-22C>T (g.10956C>T). These mutations, located in promoter and intronic regulatory regions, have been observed in several patients with manifestations of FD. In our patient clinical picture showed a multisystemic involvement with early onset of symptoms, thus suggesting that these intronic mutations can be found even in patients with classical form of FD.
PMCID: PMC3425126  PMID: 22682330
Fabry disease; α-galactosidase A; GLA; Globotriaosylceramide; High resolution melting
4.  Genetic screening of Fabry patients with EcoTILLING and HRM technology 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:323.
Anderson-Fabry disease (FD) is caused by a deficit of the α-galactosidase A enzyme which leads to the accumulation of complex sphingolipids, especially globotriaosylceramide (Gb3), in all the cells of the body, causing the onset of a multi-systemic disease with poor prognosis in adulthood. In this article, we describe two alternative methods for screening the GLA gene which codes for the α-galactosidase A enzyme in subjects with probable FD in order to test analysis strategies which include or rely on initial pre-screening.
We analyzed 740 samples using EcoTILLING, comparing two mismatch-specificendonucleases, CEL I and ENDO-1, while conducting a parallel screening of the same samples using HRM (High Resolution Melting). Afterwards, all samples were subjected to direct sequencing. Overall, we identified 12 different genetic variations: -10C>T, -12G>A, -30G>A, IVS2-76_80del5, D165H, C172Y, IVS4+16A>G, IVS4 +68 A>G, c.718_719delAA, D313Y, IVS6-22C>T, G395A. This was consistent with the high genetic heterogeneity found in FD patients and carriers. All of the mutations were detected by HRM, whereas 17% of the mutations were not found by EcoTILLING. The results obtained by EcoTILLING comparing the CEL I and ENDO-1 endonucleases were perfectly overlapping.
On the basis of its simplicity, flexibility, repeatability, and sensitivity, we believe thatHRM analysis of the GLA gene is a reliable presequencing screening tool. This method can be applied to any genomic feature to identify known and unknown genetic alterations, and it is ideal for conducting screening and population studies.
PMCID: PMC3180462  PMID: 21896204
Anderson-Fabry; haplotype; screening; HRM; EcoTILLING
5.  The Relationship between the Transforming Growth Factor β1 T29C Gene Polymorphism and Left Ventricular Geometry and Function in Hypertensive Subjects 
The distribution of the T29C TGFβ1 gene polymorphism was analyzed in 198 hypertensives with left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and in 235 hypertensives without LVH. Circulating TGFβ1 levels, procollagen type III levels, microalbuminuria, and left ventricular geometry and function were evaluated in all the hypertensives with LVH subgrouped according to T29C TGFβ1 gene polymorphism. Circulating TGFβ1 was evaluated by ELISA technique, procollagen type III by a specific radioimmunoassay, microalbuminuria by radioimmunoassay, and left ventricular geometry and function by echocardiography. All groups were comparable for gender, age, and sex. Regarding T29C TGFβ1 gene polymorphism, prevalence of TC or CC genotypes was significantly (P < .05) higher in hypertensives with LVH than hypertensives without LVH TC and CC LVH hypertensives were characterized by a higher prevalence of subjects with microalbuminuria (P < .05 TC and CC versus TT), by increased levels of TGFβ1, procollagen type III, urinary albumin excretion, LVM, LVM/h2.7, and lower values of left ventricular ejection fraction (P < .05 TC and CC versus TT). Our data suggest that T29C TGFβ1 gene polymorphism was associated with clinical characteristics adequate to recognize a subset of LVH hypertensives with a higher severity of hypertension.
PMCID: PMC2958444  PMID: 20981300
6.  Pathophysiology of vascular dementia 
The concept of Vascular Dementia (VaD) has been recognized for over a century, but its definition and diagnostic criteria remain unclear.
Conventional definitions identify the patients too late, miss subjects with cognitive impairment short of dementia, and emphasize consequences rather than causes, the true bases for treatment and prevention. We should throw out current diagnostic categories and describe cognitive impairment clinically and according to commonly agreed instruments that document the demographic data in a standardized manner and undertake a systematic effort to identify the underlying aetiology in each case.
Increased effort should be targeted towards the concept of and criteria for Vascular Cognitive Impairment and Post-Stroke Dementia as well as for genetic factors involved, especially as these categories hold promise for early prevention and treatment.
PMCID: PMC2784430  PMID: 19895675
7.  Endothelial nitric oxide synthase gene polymorphisms and cardiovascular damage in hypertensive subjects: an Italian case-control study 
Nitric oxide (NO) synthesized by endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) plays an important role in regulation of endothelial function and in the control of blood pressure. However, the results from some studies on the association between three clinically relevant eNOS gene polymorphisms (G894T, T786C and intron 4b/a) and essential hypertension are unclear. We designed a case-control study to evaluate the influence of eNOS polymorphisms on target organ damage in 127 hypertensives and 67 normotensives. Clinical evaluation, biochemical parameters, Urinary Albumin Excretion (UAE) and echocardiogram were performed to characterize target organ damage. eNOS polymorphism were recognized by PCR method.
The distribution of eNOS genotypes was similar in hypertensives and normotensives but 4aa was present in the 2.5% of hypertensives and completely absent in normotensives. Subjects with 4bb, G894T, and T786C genotypes showed an increased prevalence of target organ damage. Moreover prevalence of G894T and introne 4 variants was significantly higher in hypertensives than in normotensives both with cardiovascular damage. Logistic regression analysis didn't show any association between eNOS polymorphisms, Body Mass Index (BMI), hypertension, gender and cardiovascular damage. Only the age (OR 1.11; IC 95% 1.06–1.18) was predictive of cardiovascular damage in our population.
Our results seem to indicate a lack of association with eNOS variants and cardiovascular damage onset.
PMCID: PMC2430541  PMID: 18510731
8.  Electrophoresis of proteins and DNA on horizontal sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gels 
Immunity & Ageing  2006;3:7.
An inexpensive Plexiglas apparatus which allows a simple and rapid preparation of horizontal polyacrylamide gels of different dimensions for different purposes, is described. Preparation of such gels is as easy and rapid as agarose gel preparation, and polymerized polyacrylamide gels are used to fractionate proteins or small DNA fragments using a common horizontal electrophoretic tank. This apparatus was used to electrophoretically fractionate proteins or DNA for immuno-blot analyses, particularirly in the study of the allergenic response to Parietaria judaica pollen in senescence, for Southern-blot hybridizations and in the study of DNA polymorphisms.
PMCID: PMC1538630  PMID: 16836743

Results 1-8 (8)