sabato 31 maggio 2014
Central or peripheral neurological disorders can manifest with autonomic failure or autonomic hyperactivity, which may affect the sympathetic, parasympathetic and/or enteric nervous systems. Disorders causing autonomic failure can be classified according to the presence or absence of associated neurological manifestations, such as peripheral neuropathy or parkinsonism, and their temporal profile (acute or subacute, chronic progressive, static, or episodic). A systematic approach allows focused evaluation to detect treatable, potentially disabling or life-threatening conditions. Subacute isolated autonomic failure affecting sympathetic, parasympathetic and enteric nervous system function, in various combinations, occurs in autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy, which might be the first manifestation of an underlying neoplasm. Autonomic failure can be an important feature of several types of peripheral neuropathy, including sensorimotor peripheral neuropathies, sensory ganglionopathy, and distal painful peripheral neuropathies. Progressive autonomic failure occurs in neurodegenerative synucleinopathies such as multiple system atrophy and Lewy body disorders. Autonomic failure may also occur in hereditary leukoencephalopathies or prion disorders. This Review outlines the clinical approach to patients with generalized autonomic failure, focusing predominantly on classification and diagnosis, but also touching briefly on treatment and management
Nature Reviews Neurology 2014
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is an option for couples at risk of having offspring with an inherited debilitating or fatal neurological disorder who wish to conceive a healthy child. PGD has been carried out for conditions with various modes of inheritance, including spinal muscular atrophy, Huntington disease, fragile X syndrome, and chromosomal or mitochondrial disorders, and for susceptibility genes for cancers with nervous system involvement. Most couples at risk of transmitting a genetic mutation would opt for PGD over prenatal testing and possible termination of a pregnancy. The aim of this Perspectives article is to assist neurologists in counselling and treating patients who wish to explore the option of PGD to enable conception of an unaffected child. PGD can be accomplished for most disorders in which the genetic basis is known, and we argue that it is time for clinicians and neurological societies to consider the evidence and to formulate guidelines for the responsible integration of PGD into modern preventative neurology.
Nature Reviews Neurology 2014
Nature Reviews Neurology 2014
After a century of false hopes, recent studies have placed the concept of diaschisis at the centre of the understanding of brain function. Originally, the term ‘diaschisis’ was coined by von Monakow in 1914 to describe the neurophysiological changes that occur distant to a focal brain lesion. In the following decades, this concept triggered widespread clinical interest in an attempt to describe symptoms and signs that the lesion could not fully explain. However, the first imaging studies, in the late 1970s, only partially confirmed the clinical significance of diaschisis. Focal cortical areas of diaschisis (i.e. focal diaschisis) contributed to the clinical deficits after subcortical but only rarely after cortical lesions. For this reason, the concept of diaschisis progressively disappeared from the mainstream of research in clinical neurosciences. Recent evidence has unexpectedly revitalized the notion. The development of new imaging techniques allows a better understanding of the complexity of brain organization. It is now possible to reliably investigate a new type of diaschisis defined as the changes of structural and functional connectivity between brain areas distant to the lesion (i.e. connectional diaschisis). As opposed to focal diaschisis, connectional diaschisis, focusing on determined networks, seems to relate more consistently to the clinical findings. This is particularly true after stroke in the motor and attentional networks. Furthermore, normalization of remote connectivity changes in these networks relates to a better recovery. In the future, to investigate the clinical role of diaschisis, a systematic approach has to be considered. First, emerging imaging and electrophysiological techniques should be used to precisely map and selectively model brain lesions in human and animals studies. Second, the concept of diaschisis must be applied to determine the impact of a focal lesion on new representations of the complexity of brain organization. As an example, the evaluation of remote changes in the structure of the connectome has so far mainly been tested by modelization of focal brain lesions. These changes could now be assessed in patients suffering from focal brain lesions (i.e. connectomal diaschisis). Finally, and of major significance, focal and non-focal neurophysiological changes distant to the lesion should be the target of therapeutic strategies. Neuromodulation using transcranial magnetic stimulation is one of the most promising techniques. It is when this last step will be successful that the concept of diaschisis will gain all the clinical respectability that could not be obtained in decades of research.
Davunetide in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2/3 trial
In preclinical studies, davunetide promoted microtubule stability and reduced tau phosphorylation. Because progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is linked to tau pathology, davunetide could be a treatment for PSP. We assessed the safety and efficacy of davunetide in patients with PSP.
In a double-blind, parallel group, phase 2/3 trial, participants were randomly assigned with permuted blocks in a 1:1 ratio to davunetide (30 mg twice daily, intranasally) or placebo for 52 weeks at 48 centres in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the UK, and the USA. Participants met the modified Neuroprotection and Natural History in Parkinson Plus Syndrome study criteria for PSP. Primary endpoints were the change from baseline in PSP Rating Scale (PSPRS) and Schwab and England Activities of Daily Living (SEADL) scale at up to 52 weeks. All participants and study personnel were masked to treatment assignment. Analysis was by intention to treat. The trial is registered with Clinicaltrials.gov, number NCT01110720.
313 participants were randomly assigned to davunetide (n=157) or to placebo (n=156), and 241 (77%) completed the study (118 and 156 in the davunetide and placebo groups, respectively). There were no differences in the davunetide and placebo groups in the baseline PSPRS and SEADL. The davunetide and placebo groups did not differ in the change from baseline in PSPRS (median 11·8 [95% CI 10·5 to 13·0] vs 11·8 [10·5 to 13·0], respectively, p=0·41) or SEADL (−0·20 [−0·20 to −0·17] vs −0·20 [−0·22 to −0·17], respectively, p=0·92). 54 serious adverse events were reported in each of the treatment groups, including 11 deaths in the davunetide group and ten in the placebo group. The frequency of nasal adverse events was greater in the davunetide group than in the placebo group (epistaxis 18 [12%] of 156 vs 13 [8%] of 156, rhinorrhoea 15 [10%] vs eight [5%], and nasal discomfort 15 [10%] vs one [<1%]).
Davunetide is not an effective treatment for PSP. Clinical trials of disease-modifying treatment are feasible in patients with PSP and should be pursued with other promising tau-directed treatments
Lancet Neurology 2014
Accurate clinical course descriptions (phenotypes) of multiple sclerosis (MS) are important for communication, prognostication, design and recruitment of clinical trials, and treatment decision-making. Standardized descriptions published in 1996 based on a survey of international MS experts provided purely clinical phenotypes based on data and consensus at that time, but imaging and biological correlates were lacking. Increased understanding of MS and its pathology, coupled with general concern that the original descriptors may not adequately reflect more recently identified clinical aspects of the disease, prompted a re-examination of MS disease phenotypes by the International Advisory Committee on Clinical Trials of MS. While imaging and biological markers that might provide objective criteria for separating clinical phenotypes are lacking, we propose refined descriptors that include consideration of disease activity (based on clinical relapse rate and imaging findings) and disease progression. Strategies for future research to better define phenotypes are also outlined
domenica 25 maggio 2014
Laryngeal dystonia is a movement disorder of the muscles within the larynx, which most commonly manifests as spasmodic dysphonia (SD). Rarer reported manifestations include dystonic respiratory stridor and dyscoordinate breathing. Laryngeal dystonia has been treated successfully with botulinum neurotoxin (BTX) injections since 1984. We reviewed prospectively collected data in a consecutive series of 193 patients with laryngeal dystonia who were seen at St. Vincent's Hospital between 1991 and 2011. Patient data were analyzed in Excel, R, and Prism. Laryngeal dystonia manifested as SD (92.7%), stridor (11.9%), dystonic cough (6.2%), dyscoordinate breathing (4.1%), paroxysmal hiccups (1.6%), and paroxysmal sneezing (1.6%). There were more women (68.4%) than men (31.6%), and the average age at onset was 47 years. A positive family history of dystonia was present in 16.1% of patients. A higher incidence of extra-laryngeal dystonia (ie, torticollis and blepharospasm) and concurrent manifestations of laryngeal dystonia were present in patients with dystonic cough, dyscoordinate breathing, paroxysmal sneezing, and hiccups than in other patients ( = 0.003 and < 0.0001, respectively). The average starting dose of BTX decreased from 2.3 to 0.5 units between 1991 and 2011. The median treatment rating was across all subgroups. Patients with adductor SD, stridor, extra-laryngeal dystonia and male patients had relatively better treatment outcomes. Technical failures were rare (1.1%). Dysphonia secondary to vocal cord paresis followed 38.7% of treatments. Laryngeal dystonia manifests predominantly as SD, but other manifestations include stridor, dyscoordinate breathing, paroxysmal cough, hiccups, and sneezing. BTX injections are very effective across all subgroups. Severe adverse events are rare.
Movement Disorders 2014
: Muscle fiber atrophy and the molecular pathways underlying this process have not been investigated in dysferlinopathy patients. : In 22 muscles from dysferlinopathy patients we investigated fiber atrophy by morphometry and ubiquitin–proteasome and autophagic pathways using protein and/or transcriptional analysis of atrophy- and autophagy-related genes (, , ,, ). : Dysferlinopathy showed significant fiber atrophy and higher MuRF-1 protein and mRNA levels, which correlated with fiber size, suggesting activation of the atrophy program by proteasome induction. : Some of the MuRF-1 upregulation and proteasome induction may be attributed to the prominent regeneration found. A potential role of impaired autophagy was suggested by p62-positive protein aggregates in atrophic fibers and significantly higher levels of LC3-II and p62 proteins and overexpression of and mRNA. Damaged muscle fibers and prominent inflammatory changes may also enhance autophagy due to the insufficient level of proteasomal degradation of mutant dysferlin.
The multimodal properties of the human somatosensory system continue to be unravelled. There is mounting evidence that one of these submodalities—touch—has another dimension, providing not only its well-recognized discriminative input to the brain, but also an affective input. It has long been recognized that touch plays an important role in many forms of social communication and a number of theories have been proposed to explain observations and beliefs about the “power of touch.” Here, we propose that a class of low-threshold mechanosensitive C fibers that innervate the hairy skin represent the neurobiological substrate for the affective and rewarding properties of touch
Convergence of pathology in dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer’s disease: a role for the novel interaction of alpha-synuclein and presenilin 1 in disease
A growing number of PSEN1 mutations have been associated with dementia with Lewy bodies and familial Alzheimer’s disease with concomitant α-synuclein pathology. The objective of this study was to determine if PSEN1 plays a direct role in the development of α-synuclein pathology in these diseases. Using mass spectrometry, immunoelectron microscopy and fluorescence lifetime image microscopy based on Forster resonance energy transfer (FLIM-FRET) we identified α-synuclein as a novel interactor of PSEN1 in wild-type mouse brain tissue. The interaction of α-synuclein with PSEN1 was detected in post-mortem brain tissue from cognitively normal cases and was significantly increased in tissue from cases with dementia with Lewy bodies and familial Alzheimer’s disease associated with known PSEN1 mutations. We confirmed an increased interaction of PSEN1 and α-synuclein in cell lines expressing well characterized familial Alzheimer’s disease PSEN1 mutations, L166P and delta exon 9, and demonstrated that PSEN1 mutations associate with increased membrane association and accumulation of α-synuclein. Our data provides evidence of a molecular interaction of PSEN1 and α-synuclein that may explain the clinical and pathophysiological overlap seen in synucleinopathies, including Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and some forms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Beyond the temporal pole: limbic memory circuit in the semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia
Despite accruing evidence for relative preservation of episodic memory in the semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia (previously semantic dementia), the neural basis for this remains unclear, particularly in light of their well-established hippocampal involvement. We recently investigated the Papez network of memory structures across pathological subtypes of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia and demonstrated severe degeneration of all relay nodes, with the anterior thalamus in particular emerging as crucial for intact episodic memory. The present study investigated the status of key components of Papez circuit (hippocampus, mammillary bodies, anterior thalamus, cingulate cortex) and anterior temporal cortex using volumetric and quantitative cell counting methods in pathologically-confirmed cases with semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia (8; 61–83 years; three males), behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia with TDP pathology (9; 53–82 years; six males) and healthy controls (8, 50–86 years; four males). Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia cases with TDP pathology were selected because of the association between the semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia and TDP pathology. Our findings revealed that the semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia and behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia show similar degrees of anterior thalamic atrophy. The mammillary bodies and hippocampal body and tail were preserved in the semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia but were significantly atrophic in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. Importantly, atrophy in the anterior thalamus and mild progressive atrophy in the body of the hippocampus emerged as the main memory circuit regions correlated with increasing dementia severity in the semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia. Quantitation of neuronal populations in the cingulate cortices confirmed the selective loss of anterior cingulate von Economo neurons in behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. We also show that by end-stage these neurons selectively degenerate in the semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia with preservation of neurons in the posterior cingulate cortex. Overall, our findings demonstrate for the first time, severe atrophy, although not necessarily neuronal loss, across all relay nodes of Papez circuit with the exception of the mammillary bodies and hippocampal body and tail in the semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia. Despite the longer disease course in the semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia compared with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, we suggest here that the neural preservation of crucial memory relays (hippocampal→mammillary bodies and posterior cingulate→hippocampus) likely reflects the conservation of specific episodic memory components observed in most patients with semantic variant of primary progressive aphasia.
Genome-wide association studies have revolutionised the genetic analysis of multiple sclerosis. Through international collaborative efforts involving tens of thousands of cases and controls, more than 100 associated common variants have now been identified. These variants consistently implicate genes associated with immunological processes, overwhelmingly lie in regulatory rather than coding regions, and are frequently associated with other autoimmune diseases. The functional implications of these associated variants are mostly unknown; however, early work has shown that several variants have effects on splicing that result in meaningful changes in the balance between different isoforms in relevant tissues. Including the well established risk attributable to variants in genes encoding human leucocyte antigens, only about a quarter of reported heritability can now be accounted for, suggesting that a substantial potential for further discovery remains.
Lancet Neurology 2014
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has endorsed peginterferon-β-1a (Plegridy, Biogen Idec) for adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and rejected laquinimod (Nerventra, Teva Pharma) for the same indication, after a second look at the data.
Plegridy is a pegylated interferon administered subcutaneously. The CHMP's positive opinion on the drug is largely based on the 2-year phase 3 study known as ADVANCE, which included more than 1500 patients with MS, Biogen Idec notes in a statement.
As for laquinimod, the CHMP voted against approving the drug in January 2014, as reported previouslyby Medscape Medical News. The panel noted concerns about results from animal studies showing a higher occurrence of cancers after long-term exposure to laquinimod, noting that a similar long-term risk could not be ruled out in humans. Animal data also indicated a possible risk for teratogenic effects in offspring of women taking the drug.
Looks like glioblastoma will not be added as a new indication to the product labelling for bevacizumab (Avastin) in Europe.
The European Medicines Agency Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) considered the data and has recommended against approval of use of bevacizumab in newly diagnosed glioblastoma, specifically for use in combination with radiation and temozolomide.
Bevacizumab is already approved in the European Union for use in several tumor types, including colorectal, breast, lung, kidney, and ovarian cancer. The drug is also marketed for many cancer types elsewhere in the world, and is one of the top-selling products in the cancer field.
By way of whole-exome sequencing we identified: a homozygous missense mutation in VARS2, in one subject with microcephaly and epilepsy associated with isolated deficiency of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) complex I; and compound heterozygous mutations in TARS2, in two siblings presenting with axial hypotonia and severe psychomotor delay associated with multiple MRC defects. The nucleotide variants segregated within the families, were absent in SNP databases, and are predicted to be deleterious. The amount of VARS2 and TARS2 proteins and valyl-tRNA and threonyl-tRNA levels were decreased in samples of afflicted patients according to the genetic defect. Expression of the corresponding wild-type transcripts in immortalized mutant fibroblasts rescued the biochemical impairment of mitochondrial respiration and yeast modeling of the VARS2 mutation confirmed its pathogenic role. Taken together, these data demonstrate the role of the identified mutations for these mitochondriopathies. Our study reports the first mutations in the VARS2 and TARS2 genes, which encode two mitochondrial aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, as causes of clinically distinct, early-onset mitochondrial encephalopathies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Human Mutation 2014