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1.  Calcium micro-depositions in jugular truncular venous malformations revealed by Synchrotron-based XRF imaging 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6540.
It has been recently demonstrated that the internal jugular vein may exhibit abnormalities classified as truncular venous malformations (TVMs). The investigation of possible morphological and biochemical anomalies at jugular tissue level could help to better understand the link between brain venous drainage and neurodegenerative disorders, recently found associated with jugular TVMs. To this end we performed sequential X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyses on jugular tissue samples from two TVM patients and two control subjects, using complementary energies at three different synchrotrons. This investigation, coupled with conventional histological analyses, revealed anomalous micro-formations in the pathological tissues and allowed the determination of their elemental composition. Rapid XRF analyses on large tissue areas at 12.74 keV showed an increased Ca presence in the pathological samples, mainly localized in tunica adventitia microvessels. Investigations at lower energy demonstrated that the high Ca level corresponded to micro-calcifications, also containing P and Mg. We suggest that advanced synchrotron XRF micro-spectroscopy is an important analytical tool in revealing biochemical changes, which cannot be accessed by conventional investigations. Further research on a larger number of samples is needed to understand the pathogenic significance of Ca micro-depositions detected on the intramural vessels of vein walls affected by TVMs.
doi:10.1038/srep06540
PMCID: PMC4187013  PMID: 25286775
2.  C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansions in the Italian sporadic ALS population 
Neurobiology of Aging  2012;33(8):1848.e15-1848.e20.
It has been recently reported that a large proportion of patients with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (familial ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are associated with a hexanucleotide (GGGGCC) repeat expansion in the first intron of C9ORF72. We have assessed 1,757 Italian sporadic ALS cases, 133 from Sardinia, 101 from Sicily, and 1,523 from mainland Italy. Sixty (3.7%) of 1,624 mainland Italians and Sicilians and 9 (6.8%) of the 133 Sardinian sporadic ALS cases carried the pathogenic repeat expansion. None of the 619 regionally-matched control samples (1,238 chromosomes) carried the expansion. Twenty-five cases (36.2%) had behavioral FTD in addition to ALS. FTD or unspecified dementia was also detected in 19 pedigrees (27.5%) in first-degree relatives of ALS patients. Cases carrying the C9ORF72 hexanucleotide expansion survived one year less than cases who did not carry this mutation. In conclusion, we found that C9ORF72 hexanucloetide repeat expansions represents a sizeable proportion of apparent sporadic ALS in the Italian and Sardinian population, representing by far the commonest mutation in Italy and the second more common in Sardinia.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2012.02.011
PMCID: PMC3372681  PMID: 22418734
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; C9ORF72; frontotemporal dementia; survival
3.  Muscle oxygen consumption by NIRS and mobility in multiple sclerosis patients 
BMC Neurology  2013;13:52.
Background
The study of muscle metabolism by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been poorly implemented in multiple sclerosis (MS). Aims of the study were to compare resting muscle oxygen consumption (rmVO2) at gastrocnemius in MS patients and in age-matched healthy controls (HC) measured using NIRS, and to evaluate its possible relationship with patients’ mobility.
Methods
Twenty-eight consecutively enrolled MS patients (male, n = 16; age = 42.7 ± 14.0 y, Relapsing-Remitting, n = 19; Primary-Progressive, n = 9) and 22 HC (male, n = 13; age = 36.0 ± 8.2 y) were studied during rest applying the NIRS probes at gastrocnemius, producing a venous occlusion at the thigh using a cuff, and analyzing the slope of the total hemoglobin to calculate rmVO2. Mobility was assessed by a 6-Minute Walking Test and 6-Minute Walking Distance (6MWD) was recorded.
Results
rmVO2 was higher in MS compared to HC (0.059 ± 0.038 vs 0.039 ± 0.016 mlO2/min/100 g, P < 0.003), not different in clinical subtypes, not correlated to patients’ characteristics (age, disease duration, Expanded Disability Status Scale, resting heart rate, skinfold thickness), and significantly higher in patients with lower walking ability (6MWD < 450 m, n = 12) compared to those at better performance (respectively, 0.072 ± 0.043 vs 0.049 ± 0.032 mlO2/min/100 g, P = 0.03).
Conclusion
rmVO2 values, significantly higher in MS patients compared to HC, and in low versus high performing patients, might represent a marker of peripheral adaptations occurred to sustain mobility, as observed in other chronic diseases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-52
PMCID: PMC3717115  PMID: 23718840
Multiple sclerosis; Muscle metabolism; Non-invasive; Near-infrared spectroscopy; Oxygen consumption
4.  Clinical characteristics of patients with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis carrying the pathogenic GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansion of C9ORF72 
Brain  2012;135(3):784-793.
A large hexanucleotide (GGGGCC) repeat expansion in the first intron of C9ORF72, a gene located on chromosome 9p21, has been recently reported to be responsible for ∼40% of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis cases of European ancestry. The aim of the current article was to describe the phenotype of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis cases carrying the expansion by providing a detailed clinical description of affected cases from representative multi-generational kindreds, and by analysing the age of onset, gender ratio and survival in a large cohort of patients with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We collected DNA and analysed phenotype data for 141 index Italian familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis cases (21 of Sardinian ancestry) and 41 German index familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis cases. Pathogenic repeat expansions were detected in 45 (37.5%) patients from mainland Italy, 12 (57.1%) patients of Sardinian ancestry and nine (22.0%) of the 41 German index familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis cases. The disease was maternally transmitted in 27 (49.1%) pedigrees and paternally transmitted in 28 (50.9%) pedigrees (P = non-significant). On average, children developed disease 7.0 years earlier than their parents [children: 55.8 years (standard deviation 7.9), parents: 62.8 (standard deviation 10.9); P = 0.003]. Parental phenotype influenced the type of clinical symptoms manifested by the child: of the 13 cases where the affected parent had an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis–frontotemporal dementia or frontotemporal dementia, the affected child also developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis–frontotemporal dementia in nine cases. When compared with patients carrying mutations of other amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-related genes, those with C9ORF72 expansion had commonly a bulbar onset (42.2% compared with 25.0% among non-C9ORF72 expansion cases, P = 0.03) and cognitive impairment (46.7% compared with 9.1% among non-C9ORF72 expansion cases, P = 0.0001). Median survival from symptom onset among cases carrying C9ORF72 repeat expansion was 3.2 years lower than that of patients carrying TARDBP mutations (5.0 years; 95% confidence interval: 3.6–7.2) and longer than those with FUS mutations (1.9 years; 95% confidence interval: 1.7–2.1). We conclude that C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansions were the most frequent mutation in our large cohort of patients with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis of Italian, Sardinian and German ancestry. Together with mutation of SOD1, TARDBP and FUS, mutations of C9ORF72 account for ∼60% of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in Italy. Patients with C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansions present some phenotypic differences compared with patients with mutations of other genes or with unknown mutations, namely a high incidence of bulbar-onset disease and comorbidity with frontotemporal dementia. Their pedigrees typically display a high frequency of cases with pure frontotemporal dementia, widening the concept of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr366
PMCID: PMC3286333  PMID: 22366794
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; familial ALS, C9ORF72 gene; phenotype–genotype correlation
5.  Guideline of transthyretin-related hereditary amyloidosis for clinicians 
Transthyretin amyloidosis is a progressive and eventually fatal disease primarily characterized by sensory, motor, and autonomic neuropathy and/or cardiomyopathy. Given its phenotypic unpredictability and variability, transthyretin amyloidosis can be difficult to recognize and manage. Misdiagnosis is common, and patients may wait several years before accurate diagnosis, risking additional significant irreversible deterioration. This article aims to help physicians better understand transthyretin amyloidosis—and, specifically, familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy—so they can recognize and manage the disease more easily and discuss it with their patients. We provide guidance on making a definitive diagnosis, explain methods for disease staging and evaluation of disease progression, and discuss symptom mitigation and treatment strategies, including liver transplant and several pharmacotherapies that have shown promise in clinical trials.
doi:10.1186/1750-1172-8-31
PMCID: PMC3584981  PMID: 23425518
Amyloidosis; Polyneuropathy; Cardiomyopathy; Oculoleptomeningeal; Transthyretin; Liver transplant; Genetics
6.  Efficacy and safety of venous angioplasty of the extracranial veins for multiple sclerosis. Brave dreams study (brain venous drainage exploited against multiple sclerosis): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:183.
Background
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system with a disabling progressive course. Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) has recently been described as a vascular condition characterized by restricted venous outflow from the brain, mainly due to blockages of the internal jugular and azygos veins. Despite a wide variability among studies, it has been found to be associated with MS. Data from a few small case series suggest possible improvement of the clinical course and quality of life by performing percutaneous balloon angioplasty (PTA) of the stenotic veins.
Study design and methods
This is a multicenter, randomized, parallel group, blinded, sham-controlled trial to assess the efficacy and safety of PTA. Participants with relapsing remitting MS or secondary progressive MS and a sonographic diagnosis of CCSVI will be enrolled after providing their informed consent. Each participant will be centrally randomized to receive catheter venography and PTA or catheter venography and sham PTA. Two primary end points with respect to efficacy at 12 months are (1) a combined end point obtained through the integration of five functional indicators, walking, balance, manual dexterity, bladder control, and visual acuity, objectively measured by instruments; and (2) number of new brain lesions measured by T2-weighted MRI sequences. Secondary end points include annual relapse rate, change in Expanded Disability Status Scale score, proportion of patients with zero, one or two, or more than two relapses; fatigue; anxiety and depression; general cognitive state; memory/attention/calculus; impact of bladder incontinence; and adverse events. Six hundred seventy-nine patients will be recruited. The follow-up is scheduled at 12 months. Patients, treating neurologists, trained outcome assessors, and the statistician in charge of data analysis will be masked to the assigned treatment.
Discussion
The study will provide an answer regarding the efficacy of PTA on patients’ functional disability in balance, motor, sensory, visual and bladder function, cognitive status, and emotional status, which are meaningful clinical outcomes, beyond investigating the effects on inflammation. In fact, an important part of patients’ expectations, sustained and amplified by anecdotal data, has to do precisely with these functional aspects.
Trial registration
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01371760
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-183
PMCID: PMC3567958  PMID: 23034121
Multiple sclerosis; Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency; Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty; Functional disability
7.  Polymorphisms in the genes coding for iron binding and transporting proteins are associated with disability, severity, and early progression in multiple sclerosis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:70.
Background
Iron involvement/imbalance is strongly suspected in multiple sclerosis (MS) etiopathogenesis, but its role is quite debated. Iron deposits encircle the veins in brain MS lesions, increasing local metal concentrations in brain parenchyma as documented by magnetic resonance imaging and histochemical studies. Conversely, systemic iron overload is not always observed. We explored the role of common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the main iron homeostasis genes in MS patients.
Methods
By the pyrosequencing technique, we investigated 414 MS cases [Relapsing-remitting (RR), n=273; Progressive, n=141, of which: Secondary (SP), n=103 and Primary (PP), n=38], and 414 matched healthy controls. Five SNPs in 4 genes were assessed: hemochromatosis (HFE: C282Y, H63D), ferroportin (FPN1: -8CG), hepcidin (HEPC: -582AG), and transferrin (TF: P570S).
Results
The FPN1-8GG genotype was overrepresented in the whole MS population (OR=4.38; 95%CI, 1.89-10.1; P<0.0001) and a similar risk was found among patients with progressive forms. Conversely, the HEPC -582GG genotype was overrepresented only in progressive forms (OR=2.53; 95%CI, 1.34-4.78; P=0.006) so that SP and PP versus RR yielded significant outputs (P=0.009). For almost all SNPs, MS disability score (EDSS), severity score (MSSS), as well as progression index (PI) showed a significant increase when comparing homozygotes versus individuals carrying other genotypes: HEPC -582GG (EDSS, 4.24±2.87 vs 2.78±2.1; P=0.003; MSSS, 5.6±3.06 vs 3.79±2.6; P=0.001); FPN1-8GG (PI, 1.11±2.01 vs 0.6±1.31; P=0.01; MSSS, 5.08±2.98 vs 3.85±2.8; P=0.01); HFE 63DD (PI, 1.63±2.6 vs 0.6±0.86; P=0.009). Finally, HEPC -582G-carriers had a significantly higher chance to switch into the progressive form (HR=3.55; 1.83-6.84; log-rank P=0.00006).
Conclusions
Polymorphisms in the genes coding for iron binding and transporting proteins, in the presence of local iron overload, might be responsible for suboptimal iron handling. This might account for the significant variability peculiar to MS phenotypes, particularly affecting MS risk and progression paving the way for personalized pharmacogenetic applications in the clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-13-70
PMCID: PMC3490944  PMID: 22883388
8.  Venous angioplasty in multiple sclerosis: neurological outcome at two years in a cohort of relapsing-remitting patients 
Functional Neurology  2012;27(1):55-59.
Summary
An open study was conducted with the aim of reporting long-term clinical outcome of endovascular treatment for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Twenty-nine patients with clinically definite relapsing-remitting MS underwent percutaneous transluminal angioplasty for CCSVI, outside a clinical relapse. All the patients were regularly observed over at least two years before the first endovascular treatment and for at least two years after it (mean post-procedure follow up 30.6±6.1 months). The following clinical outcome measures were used: annual relapse rate and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score. All the patients were observed intensively (mean 6 hours) on the day of the endovascular treatment to monitor for possible complications (bleeding, shock, heart attack, death).
We compared the annual relapse rate before and after treatment (in the two years before and the two years after the first endovascular treatment) and the EDSS score recorded two years before versus two years after the treatment.
Overall, 44 endovascular procedures were performed in the 29 patients, without complications. Thirteen of the 29 patients (45%) underwent more than one treatment session because of venous re-stenosis: 11 and two patients underwent two and three endovascular treatments respectively.
The annual relapse rate of MS was significantly lower post-procedure (0.45±0.62 vs 0.76±0.99; p=0.021), although it increased in four patients. The EDSS score two years after treatment was significantly lower compared to the EDSS score recorded at the examination two years before treatment (1.98±0.92 vs 2.27±0.93; p=0.037), although it was higher in four patients. Endovascular treatment of concurrent CCSVI seems to be safe and repeatable and may reduce annual relapse rates and cumulative disability in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Randomized controlled studies are needed to further assess the clinical effects of endovascular treatment of CCSVI in MS.
PMCID: PMC3812752  PMID: 22687168
multiple sclerosis; neurological outcome; venous angioplasty
9.  FUS mutations in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
Neurobiology of aging  2010;32(3):550.e1-550.e4.
Mutations in the FUS gene have recently been described as a cause of familial ALS, but their role in the pathogenesis of sporadic ALS is unclear. We undertook mutational screening of all coding exons of FUS in 228 sporadic ALS cases, and, as previous reports suggest that exon 15 represents a mutational hotspot, we sequenced this exon in an additional 1,295 sporadic cases. Six variants in six different cases were found, indicating that FUS mutations can underlie apparently sporadic ALS, but account for less than 1% of this form of disease.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.12.020
PMCID: PMC2891336  PMID: 20138404
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; sporadic disease; FUS; Italy; United States of America
10.  Exome sequencing reveals VCP mutations as a cause of familial ALS 
Neuron  2010;68(5):857-864.
Summary
Using exome sequencing, we identified a p.R191Q amino acid change in the valosin-containing protein (VCP) gene in an Italian family with autosomal dominantly inherited amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Mutations in VCP have previously been identified in families with Inclusion Body Myopathy, Paget’s disease and Frontotemporal Dementia (IBMPFD). Screening of VCP in a cohort of 210 familial ALS cases and 78 autopsy-proven ALS cases identified four additional mutations including a p.R155H mutation in a pathologically-proven case of ALS. VCP protein is essential for maturation of ubiquitin-containing autophagosomes, and mutant VCP toxicity is partially mediated through its effect on TDP-43 protein, a major constituent of ubiquitin inclusions that neuropathologically characterize ALS. Our data broaden the phenotype of IBMPFD to include motor neuron degeneration, suggest that VCP mutations may account for ~1–2% of familial ALS, and represent the first evidence directly implicating defects in the ubiquitination/protein degradation pathway in motor neuron degeneration.
doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2010.11.036
PMCID: PMC3032425  PMID: 21145000
11.  Hypoperfusion of brain parenchyma is associated with the severity of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in patients with multiple sclerosis: a cross-sectional preliminary report 
BMC Medicine  2011;9:22.
Background
Several studies have reported hypoperfusion of the brain parenchyma in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. We hypothesized a possible relationship between abnormal perfusion in MS and hampered venous outflow at the extracranial level, a condition possibly associated with MS and known as chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI).
Methods
We investigated the relationship between CCSVI and cerebral perfusion in 16 CCSVI MS patients and 8 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Subjects were scanned in a 3-T scanner using dynamic susceptibility, contrast-enhanced, perfusion-weighted imaging. Cerebral blood flow (CBF), cerebral blood volume (CBV) and mean transit time (MTT) were measured in the gray matter (GM), white matter (WM) and the subcortical GM (SGM). The severity of CCSVI was assessed according to the venous hemodynamic insufficiency severity score (VHISS) on the basis of the number of venous segments exhibiting flow abnormalities.
Results
There was a significant association between increased VHISS and decreased CBF in the majority of examined regions of the brain parenchyma in MS patients. The most robust correlations were observed for GM and WM (r = -0.70 to -0.71, P < 0.002 and P corrected = 0.022), and for the putamen, thalamus, pulvinar nucleus of thalamus, globus pallidus and hippocampus (r = -0.59 to -0.71, P < 0.01 and P corrected < 0.05). No results for correlation between VHISS and CBV or MTT survived multiple comparison correction.
Conclusions
This pilot study is the first to report a significant relationship between the severity of CCSVI and hypoperfusion in the brain parenchyma. These preliminary findings should be confirmed in a larger cohort of MS patients to ensure that they generalize to the MS population as a whole. Reduced perfusion could contribute to the known mechanisms of virtual hypoxia in degenerated axons.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-22
PMCID: PMC3059278  PMID: 21385345
12.  A seasonal periodicity in relapses of multiple sclerosis? A single-center, population-based, preliminary study conducted in Bologna, Italy 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:105.
Background
Temporal, i.e., 24-hour, weekly, and seasonal patterns in the occurrence of acute cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events are well documented; however, little is known about temporal, especially seasonal, variation in multiple sclerosis (MS) and its relapses. This study investigated, by means of a validated chronobiological method, whether severe relapses of MS, ones requiring medical specialty consultation, display seasonal differences, and whether they are linked with seasonal differences in local meteorological variables.
Results
We considered 96 consecutive patients with severe MS relapse (29 men, 67 women, mean age 38.5 ± 8.8 years), referred to the Multiple Sclerosis Center, Bellaria Hospital, Bologna, Italy, between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2008. Overall, we analyzed 164 relapses (56 in men, 108 in women; 115 in patients aged < 40 years, 49 in patients ≥40 years). Relapses were more frequent in May and June (12.2% each) and the least frequent in September (3.7%). Chronobiological analysis showed a biphasic pattern (major peak in May-June, secondary peak in November-December, p = 0.030). Analysis of monthly mean meteorological data showed a significant seasonal pattern in ambient temperature (peak in July, p < 0.001), relative humidity (peak in January, p < 0.001), and wind speed (peak in June, p = 0.011).
Conclusions
In this Italian setting, we found a biphasic pattern (peaks in spring and autumn) in severe MS relapses requiring medical consultation by doctors of the MS specialty center, apparently unrelated to meteorological variables. Confirmations of the findings on larger multi-center populations residing in different climatic conditions are needed to further explore the potential seasonality of MS relapses and associated environmental triggers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-105
PMCID: PMC2988761  PMID: 21040535
13.  Two Italian kindreds with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis due to FUS mutation 
Neurobiology of aging  2009;30(8):1272-1275.
Recently, fused in sarcoma/translated in liposarcoma (FUS/TLS) gene, located on chromosome 16p11.2, has been identified as a disease gene in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS). We have analyzed FUS/TLS in a cohort of 52 index cases from seven Italian regions with non-SOD1 and non-TARDBP FALS. We identified a heterozygous c.G1542C missense mutation in a family of northern Italian origin, and a heterozygous c.C1574T missense mutation in a family of Sicilian origin. Both variants are located in exon 15 encoding the RNA-recognition motif, and result in a substitution of an arginine with a serine in position 514 (p.R514S) and substitution of a proline with a leucine at position 525 (p.P525L) respectively. Overall, the two mutations accounted for 3.8% of 52 non-SOD1 and non-TDP43 index cases of FALS. The clinical phenotype was similar within each of the families, with a predominantly upper limb onset in the family carrying the p.R514S mutation and bulbar onset, with very young age and a rapid course in the family carrying the p.P525L mutation.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.05.001
PMCID: PMC2771748  PMID: 19450904
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; genetics; FUS gene; family pedigrees
14.  Custom CGH array profiling of copy number variations (CNVs) on chromosome 6p21.32 (HLA locus) in patients with venous malformations associated with multiple sclerosis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:64.
Background
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex disorder thought to result from an interaction between environmental and genetic predisposing factors which have not yet been characterised, although it is known to be associated with the HLA region on 6p21.32. Recently, a picture of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), consequent to stenosing venous malformation of the main extra-cranial outflow routes (VM), has been described in patients affected with MS, introducing an additional phenotype with possible pathogenic significance.
Methods
In order to explore the presence of copy number variations (CNVs) within the HLA locus, a custom CGH array was designed to cover 7 Mb of the HLA locus region (6,899,999 bp; chr6:29,900,001-36,800,000). Genomic DNA of the 15 patients with CCSVI/VM and MS was hybridised in duplicate.
Results
In total, 322 CNVs, of which 225 were extragenic and 97 intragenic, were identified in 15 patients. 234 known polymorphic CNVs were detected, the majority of these being situated in non-coding or extragenic regions. The overall number of CNVs (both extra- and intragenic) showed a robust and significant correlation with the number of stenosing VMs (Spearman: r = 0.6590, p = 0.0104; linear regression analysis r = 0.6577, p = 0.0106).
The region we analysed contains 211 known genes. By using pathway analysis focused on angiogenesis and venous development, MS, and immunity, we tentatively highlight several genes as possible susceptibility factor candidates involved in this peculiar phenotype.
Conclusions
The CNVs contained in the HLA locus region in patients with the novel phenotype of CCSVI/VM and MS were mapped in detail, demonstrating a significant correlation between the number of known CNVs found in the HLA region and the number of CCSVI-VMs identified in patients. Pathway analysis revealed common routes of interaction of several of the genes involved in angiogenesis and immunity contained within this region. Despite the small sample size in this pilot study, it does suggest that the number of multiple polymorphic CNVs in the HLA locus deserves further study, owing to their possible involvement in susceptibility to this novel MS/VM plus phenotype, and perhaps even other types of the disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-64
PMCID: PMC2880319  PMID: 20426824
15.  A two-stage genome-wide association study of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
Human Molecular Genetics  2009;18(8):1524-1532.
The cause of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is largely unknown, but genetic factors are thought to play a significant role in determining susceptibility to motor neuron degeneration. To identify genetic variants altering risk of ALS, we undertook a two-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS): we followed our initial GWAS of 545 066 SNPs in 553 individuals with ALS and 2338 controls by testing the 7600 most associated SNPs from the first stage in three independent cohorts consisting of 2160 cases and 3008 controls. None of the SNPs selected for replication exceeded the Bonferroni threshold for significance. The two most significantly associated SNPs, rs2708909 and rs2708851 [odds ratio (OR) = 1.17 and 1.18, and P-values = 6.98 × 10−7 and 1.16 × 10−6], were located on chromosome 7p13.3 within a 175 kb linkage disequilibrium block containing the SUNC1, HUS1 and C7orf57 genes. These associations did not achieve genome-wide significance in the original cohort and failed to replicate in an additional independent cohort of 989 US cases and 327 controls (OR = 1.18 and 1.19, P-values = 0.08 and 0.06, respectively). Thus, we chose to cautiously interpret our data as hypothesis-generating requiring additional confirmation, especially as all previously reported loci for ALS have failed to replicate successfully. Indeed, the three loci (FGGY, ITPR2 and DPP6) identified in previous GWAS of sporadic ALS were not significantly associated with disease in our study. Our findings suggest that ALS is more genetically and clinically heterogeneous than previously recognized. Genotype data from our study have been made available online to facilitate such future endeavors.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddp059
PMCID: PMC2664150  PMID: 19193627

Results 1-15 (15)