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author:("jawad, Ali")
1.  Implication of sperm RNAs in transgenerational inheritance of the effects of early trauma in mice 
Nature neuroscience  2014;17(5):667-669.
Gene-environment interactions are determining factors for the etiology of psychiatric disorders, diabetes and cancer, and are thought to contribute to disease inheritance across generations. Small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) are potential vectors at the interface between genes and environment. Here, we report that environmental conditions involving traumatic stress in early life in mice altered microRNAs (miRNAs) expression, and behavioral and metabolic responses in the progeny. Several miRNAs were affected in the serum and brain of both, the traumatized animals and their progeny when adult, but also in the sperm of traumatized males. Injection of sperm RNAs from these males into fertilized wild-type oocytes reproduced the behavioral and metabolic alterations in the resulting offspring. These results strongly suggest that sncRNAs are sensitive to environmental factors in early life, and contribute to the inheritance of trauma-induced phenotypes across generations. They may offer potential diagnostic markers for associated pathologies in humans.
PMCID: PMC4333222  PMID: 24728267
2.  FET proteins TAF15 and EWS are selective markers that distinguish FTLD with FUS pathology from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations 
Brain  2011;134(9):2595-2609.
Accumulation of the DNA/RNA binding protein fused in sarcoma as cytoplasmic inclusions in neurons and glial cells is the pathological hallmark of all patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with mutations in FUS as well as in several subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration, which are not associated with FUS mutations. The mechanisms leading to inclusion formation and fused in sarcoma-associated neurodegeneration are only poorly understood. Because fused in sarcoma belongs to a family of proteins known as FET, which also includes Ewing’s sarcoma and TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15, we investigated the potential involvement of these other FET protein family members in the pathogenesis of fused in sarcoma proteinopathies. Immunohistochemical analysis of FET proteins revealed a striking difference among the various conditions, with pathology in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations being labelled exclusively for fused in sarcoma, whereas fused in sarcoma-positive inclusions in subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration also consistently immunostained for TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and variably for Ewing’s sarcoma. Immunoblot analysis of proteins extracted from post-mortem tissue of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology demonstrated a relative shift of all FET proteins towards insoluble protein fractions, while genetic analysis of the TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and Ewing’s sarcoma gene did not identify any pathogenic variants. Cell culture experiments replicated the findings of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations by confirming the absence of TATA-binding protein-associated factor 15 and Ewing’s sarcoma alterations upon expression of mutant fused in sarcoma. In contrast, all endogenous FET proteins were recruited into cytoplasmic stress granules upon general inhibition of Transportin-mediated nuclear import, mimicking the findings in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology. These results allow a separation of fused in sarcoma proteinopathies caused by FUS mutations from those without a known genetic cause based on neuropathological features. More importantly, our data imply different pathological processes underlying inclusion formation and cell death between both conditions; the pathogenesis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutations appears to be more restricted to dysfunction of fused in sarcoma, while a more global and complex dysregulation of all FET proteins is involved in the subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration with fused in sarcoma pathology.
PMCID: PMC3170539  PMID: 21856723
FUS; TAF15; EWS; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal dementia
3.  Traumatic Brain Injury May Increase the Risk for Frontotemporal Dementia through Reduced Progranulin 
Neuro-Degenerative Diseases  2010;6(5-6):219-220.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TAR-DNA-binding protein inclusions (FTLD-TDP) is the most common pathological subtype of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Mutations leading to a loss of function in the progranulin gene (PGRN) are the most common known cause of FTLD-TDP. In agreement with the proposed loss of function disease mechanism, several groups have reported decreased plasma levels of PGRN in patients carrying PGRN mutations compared to individuals without PGRN mutations. We propose that traumatic brain injury (TBI), an environmental factor, may also increase the risk of FTD by altering PGRN metabolism. TBI may lead to an increase in the central nervous system levels of microglial elastases, which proteolyze PGRN into proinflammatory products called granulins causing a reduction in PGRN levels. Hence, inhibiting microglial activation may have an important implication for the prevention of FTD in patients with TBI.
PMCID: PMC2837889  PMID: 20145419
Frontotemporal dementia; Progranulin; Traumatic brain injury; Microglia; Elastase
4.  Psychotherapy as a treatment modality for psychiatric disorders: Perceptions of general public of Karachi, Pakistan 
BMC Psychiatry  2009;9:37.
Psychiatric disorders affect about 450 million individuals worldwide. A number of treatment modalities such as psychotropic medications, psychotherapy and electroconvulsive therapy can be used to treat these disorders. Attitudes of general public play a pivotal role in effective utilization of mental health services. We explored the perceptions of general public of Karachi, Pakistan regarding psychotherapy.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in Karachi, Pakistan during July-August, 2008. A three-step sampling strategy and a structured questionnaire were employed to survey knowledge and perceptions of adult general public about psychotherapy. Descriptive statistics were used for baseline characteristics. Logistic regression models were used to investigate any significant associations between baseline characteristics of the participants and their perceptions.
The study sample comprised of 985 individuals (536 males; 531 financially independent) with an average age of 36.7 years (SD 13.54 years) and 12.5 years (SD 3.09 years) of education were included. Majority (59.4%; n = 585) claimed to be aware of psychotherapy as a treatment option for psychiatric disorders but 47.5% of these (n = 278/585) failed to identify its correct definition. Concerns voiced by the participants about psychotherapy included stigma (48.7%) and breech in confidentiality (39.5%); 60.7% opined it cost effective and 86.5% favored its use as an adjuvant modality. A preference for psychotherapy as the treatment strategy for psychiatric disorders was demonstrated by 46.6% (n = 459/985). Younger, more educated, financially independent and female participants were more likely to prefer psychotherapy as were those who deemed it cost effective.
Positive attitudes regarding the acceptability, clinical utility and cost-effectiveness of psychotherapy were observed in a sample representative of general public of Karachi, Pakistan. These findings highlight its potential utility for devising pragmatic mental health strategies in the face of limited resources.
PMCID: PMC2702376  PMID: 19527506

Results 1-4 (4)