Publications by authors named "Claudio Bruno"

197 Publications

An integrated approach to the evaluation of patients with asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic hyperCKemia.

Muscle Nerve 2021 Oct 23. Epub 2021 Oct 23.

Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetic and Maternal and Infantile Sciences, University of Genova, Unit of Neurology, IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy.

Introduction/aims: Currently, there are no straightforward guidelines for the clinical and diagnostic management of hyperCKemia, a frequent and nonspecific presentation in muscle diseases. Therefore, we aimed to describe our diagnostic workflow for evaluating patients with this condition.

Methods: We selected 83 asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic patients with persistent hyperCKemia for participation in this Italian multicenter study. Patients with facial involvement and distal or congenital myopathies were excluded, as were patients with suspected inflammatory myopathies or predominant respiratory or cardiac involvement. All patients underwent a neurological examination and nerve conduction and electromyography studies. The first step of the investigation included a screening for Pompe disease. We then evaluated the patients for myotonic dystrophy type II-related CCTG expansion and excluded patients with copy number variations in the DMD gene. Subsequently, the undiagnosed patients were investigated using a target gene panel that included 20 genes associated with isolated hyperCKemia.

Results: Using this approach, we established a definitive diagnosis in one third of the patients. The detection rate was higher in patients with severe hyperCKemia and abnormal electromyographic findings.

Discussion: We have described our diagnostic workflow for isolated hyperCKemia, which is based on electrodiagnostic data, biochemical screening, and first-line genetic investigations, followed by successive targeted sequencing panels. Both clinical signs and electromyographic abnormalities are associated with increased diagnostic yields.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mus.27448DOI Listing
October 2021

The Role of Muscle Biopsy in Diagnostic Process of Infant Hypotonia: From Clinical Classification to the Genetic Outcome.

Front Neurol 2021 5;12:735488. Epub 2021 Oct 5.

Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.

The role of muscle biopsy in the diagnostic workup of floppy infants is controversial. Muscle sampling is invasive, and often, results are not specific. The rapid expansion of genetic approach has made the muscle histopathology analysis less crucial. This study aims to assess the role and efficacy of muscle histopathology in the diagnostic algorithm of hypotonia in early infancy through a retrospective analysis of 197 infants who underwent muscle biopsy in their first 18 months of life. Data analysis revealed that 92/197 (46.7%) of muscle biopsies were non-specific (80) or normal (12), not allowing a specific diagnosis. In 41/197 (20.8%) cases, biopsy suggested a metabolic or mitochondrial myopathy, while in 23/197 cases (11.7%), we found evidence of muscular dystrophy. In 19/197 cases (9.7%), histopathology characteristics of a congenital myopathy were reported. In 22/197 cases (11.7%), the histopathological study indicated presence of a neurogenic damage. Overall, 46 diagnoses were then achieved by oriented genetic tests. Muscle biopsy results were consistent with genetic results in 90% of cases. Diagnostic algorithms for the diagnosis of a floppy infant are largely missing. Muscle biopsy alone can lead to a diagnosis, help the clinician in the choice of a genetic test, or even modify a diagnosis made previously.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2021.735488DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8523832PMC
October 2021

Clinical, imaging, biochemical and molecular features in Leigh syndrome: a study from the Italian network of mitochondrial diseases.

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2021 10 9;16(1):413. Epub 2021 Oct 9.

Department of Pediatric Neuroscience, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico "Carlo Besta", Milan, Italy.

Background: Leigh syndrome (LS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder associated with primary or secondary dysfunction of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and is the most common mitochondrial disease in childhood. Numerous reports on the biochemical and molecular profiles of LS have been published, but there are limited studies on genetically confirmed large series. We reviewed the clinical, imaging, biochemical and molecular data of 122 patients with a diagnosis of LS collected in the Italian Collaborative Network of Mitochondrial Diseases database.

Results: Clinical picture was characterized by early onset of several neurological signs dominated by central nervous system involvement associated with both supra- and sub-tentorial grey matter at MRI in the majority of cases. Extraneurological organ involvement is less frequent in LS than expected for a mitochondrial disorder. Complex I and IV deficiencies were the most common biochemical diagnoses, mostly associated with mutations in SURF1 or mitochondrial-DNA genes encoding complex I subunits. Our data showed SURF1 as the genotype with the most unfavorable prognosis, differently from other cohorts reported to date.

Conclusion: We report on a large genetically defined LS cohort, adding new data on phenotype-genotype correlation, prognostic factors and possible suggestions to diagnostic workup.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-021-02029-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8501644PMC
October 2021

Placental Bulging Is Only Another Sign in the Placenta Accreta Spectrum Diagnosis.

AJR Am J Roentgenol 2021 11 27;217(5):1255. Epub 2021 Sep 27.

Fundación Cientifica del Sur, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.2214/AJR.21.26317DOI Listing
November 2021

Utility of MRI in Placenta Accreta Spectrum for the Surgical Team.

AJR Am J Roentgenol 2021 11 27;217(5):1257. Epub 2021 Sep 27.

Fundación Cientifica del Sur, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.2214/AJR.21.26325DOI Listing
November 2021

SMA-miRs (miR-181a-5p, -324-5p, and -451a) are overexpressed in spinal muscular atrophy skeletal muscle and serum samples.

Elife 2021 09 20;10. Epub 2021 Sep 20.

Department of Life Sciences and Public Health, Section of Genomic Medicine, Università cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italy.

Background: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by the degeneration of the second motor neuron. The phenotype ranges from very severe to very mild forms. All patients have the homozygous loss of the gene and a variable number of (generally 2-4 copies), inversely related to the severity. The amazing results of the available treatments have made compelling the need of prognostic biomarkers to predict the progression trajectories of patients. Besides the products, few other biomarkers have been evaluated so far, including some miRs.

Methods: We performed whole miRNome analysis of muscle samples of patients and controls (14 biopsies and 9 cultures). The levels of muscle differentially expressed miRs were evaluated in serum samples (51 patients and 37 controls) and integrated with copies, full-length transcript levels in blood and age (SMA-score).

Results: Over 100 miRs were differentially expressed in SMA muscle; 3 of them (hsa-miR-181a-5p, -324-5p, -451a; SMA-miRs) were significantly upregulated in the serum of patients. The severity predicted by the SMA-score was related to that of the clinical classification at a correlation coefficient of 0.87 (p<10).

Conclusions: miRNome analyses suggest the primary involvement of skeletal muscle in SMA pathogenesis. The SMA-miRs are likely actively released in the blood flow; their function and target cells require to be elucidated. The accuracy of the SMA-score needs to be verified in replicative studies: if confirmed, its use could be crucial for the routine prognostic assessment, also in presymptomatic patients.

Funding: Telethon Italia (grant #GGP12116).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.68054DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8486378PMC
September 2021

Onasemnogene abeparvovec gene therapy for symptomatic infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy type 1 (STR1VE-EU): an open-label, single-arm, multicentre, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Neurol 2021 10;20(10):832-841

Novartis Gene Therapies, Cambridge, UK.

Background: Spinal muscular atrophy is a rare, autosomal recessive, neuromuscular disease caused by biallelic loss of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene, resulting in motor neuron dysfunction. In this STR1VE-EU study, we aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of onasemnogene abeparvovec gene replacement therapy in infants with spinal muscular atrophy type 1, using broader eligibility criteria than those used in STR1VE-US.

Methods: STR1VE-EU was a multicentre, single-arm, single-dose, open-label phase 3 trial done at nine sites (hospitals and universities) in Italy (n=4), the UK (n=2), Belgium (n=2), and France (n=1). We enrolled patients younger than 6 months (180 days) with spinal muscular atrophy type 1 and the common biallelic pathogenic SMN1 exon 7-8 deletion or point mutations, and one or two copies of SMN2. Patients received a one-time intravenous infusion of onasemnogene abeparvovec (1·1 × 10 vector genomes [vg]/kg). The outpatient follow-up consisted of assessments once per week starting at day 7 post-infusion for 4 weeks and then once per month until the end of the study (at age 18 months or early termination). The primary outcome was independent sitting for at least 10 s, as defined by the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study, at any visit up to the 18 months of age study visit, measured in the intention-to-treat population. Efficacy was compared with the Pediatric Neuromuscular Clinical Research (PNCR) natural history cohort. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03461289 (completed).

Findings: From Aug 16, 2018, to Sept 11, 2020, 41 patients with spinal muscular atrophy were assessed for eligibility. The median age at onasemnogene abeparvovec dosing was 4·1 months (IQR 3·0-5·2). 32 (97%) of 33 patients completed the study and were included in the ITT population (one patient was excluded despite completing the study because of dosing at 181 days). 14 (44%, 97·5% CI 26-100) of 32 patients achieved the primary endpoint of functional independent sitting for at least 10 s at any visit up to the 18 months of age study visit (vs 0 of 23 untreated patients in the PNCR cohort; p<0·0001). 31 (97%, 95% CI 91-100) of 32 patients in the ITT population survived free from permanent ventilatory support at 14 months compared with six (26%, 8-44) of 23 patients in the PNCR natural history cohort (p<0·0001). 32 (97%) of 33 patients had at least one adverse event and six (18%) had adverse events that were considered serious and related to onasemnogene abeparvovec. The most common adverse events were pyrexia (22 [67%] of 33), upper respiratory infection (11 [33%]), and increased alanine aminotransferase (nine [27%]). One death, unrelated to the study drug, occurred from hypoxic-ischaemic brain damage because of a respiratory tract infection during the study.

Interpretation: STR1VE-EU showed efficacy of onasemnogene abeparvovec in infants with symptomatic spinal muscular atrophy type 1. No new safety signals were identified, but further studies are needed to show long-term safety. The benefit-risk profile of onasemnogene abeparvovec seems favourable for this patient population, including those with severe disease at baseline.

Funding: Novartis Gene Therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(21)00251-9DOI Listing
October 2021

Clinical and genetic spectrum of a large cohort of patients with δ-sarcoglycan muscular dystrophy.

Brain 2021 Sep 13. Epub 2021 Sep 13.

Neuromuscular Diseases Unit, Department of Neurology, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament of Medicine, Barcelona, 08041, Spain.

Sarcoglycanopathies include four subtypes of autosomal recessive limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (LGMDR3, LGMDR4, LGMDR5 and LGMDR6) that are caused, respectively, by mutations in the SGCA, SGCB, SGCG and SGCD genes. Delta-sarcoglycanopathy (LGMDR6) is the least frequent and is considered an ultra-rare disease. Our aim was to characterize the clinical and genetic spectrum of a large international cohort of LGMDR6 patients and to investigate whether or not genetic or protein expression data could predict diseasés severity. This is a retrospective study collecting demographic, genetic, clinical and histological data of patients with genetically confirmed LGMDR6 including protein expression data from muscle biopsies. We contacted 128 pediatric and adult neuromuscular units around the world that reviewed genetic data of patients with a clinical diagnosis of a neuromuscular disorder. We identified 30 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of LGMDR6 of which 23 patients were included in this study. Eighty seven percent of the patients had consanguineous parents. Ninety one percent of the patients were symptomatic at the time of the analysis. Proximal muscle weakness of the upper and lower limbs was the most common presenting symptom. Distal muscle weakness was observed early over the course of the disease in 56.5% of the patients. Cardiac involvement was reported in 5 patients (21.7%) and 4 patients (17.4%) required non-invasive ventilation. Sixty percent of patients were wheelchair-bound since early teens (median age of 12.0 years old). Patients with absent expression of the sarcoglycan complex on muscle biopsy had a significant earlier onset of symptoms and an earlier age of loss of ambulation compared to patients with residual protein expression. This study confirmed that delta-sarcoglycanopathy is an ultra-rare neuromuscular condition and described the clinical and molecular characteristics of the largest yet-reported collected cohort of patients. Our results showed that this is a very severe and quickly progressive disease characterized by generalized muscle weakness affecting predominantly proximal and distal muscles of the limbs. Similar to other forms of sarcoglycanopathies, the severity and rate of progressive weakness correlates inversely with the abundance of protein on muscle biopsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab301DOI Listing
September 2021

Growth patterns in children with spinal muscular atrophy.

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2021 09 4;16(1):375. Epub 2021 Sep 4.

International Center for the Assessment of Nutritional Status (ICANS), Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS), University of Milan, Via Sandro Botticelli 21, 20133, Milan, Italy.

Background: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by muscle atrophy and weakness. SMA type 1 (SMA1) is the most severe form: affected infants are unable to sit unaided; SMA type 2 (SMA2) children can sit, but are not able to walk independently. The Standards of Care has improved quality of life and the increasing availability of disease-modifying treatments is progressively changing the natural history; so, the clinical assessment of nutritional status has become even more crucial. Aims of this multicenter study were to present the growth pattern of treatment-naïve SMA1 and SMA2, and to compare it with the general growth standards.

Results: Body Weight (BW, kg) and Supine Length (SL, cm) were collected using a published standardized procedure. SMA-specific growth percentiles curves were developed and compared to the WHO reference data. We recruited 133 SMA1 and 82 SMA2 (48.8% females). Mean ages were 0.6 (0.4-1.6) and 4.1 (2.1-6.7) years, respectively. We present here a set of disease-specific percentiles curves of BW, SL, and BMI-for-age for girls and boys with SMA1 and SMA2. These curves show that BW is significantly lower in SMA than healthy peers, while SL is more variable. BMI is also typically lower in both sexes and at all ages.

Conclusions: These data on treatment-naïve patients point toward a better understanding of growth in SMA and could be useful to improve the clinical management and to assess the efficacy of the available and forthcoming therapies not only on motor function, but also on growth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-021-02015-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8418717PMC
September 2021

The Diagnostic Approach to Mitochondrial Disorders in Children in the Era of Next-Generation Sequencing: A 4-Year Cohort Study.

J Clin Med 2021 Jul 22;10(15). Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Department of Molecular Medicine, IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, 56128 Pisa, Italy.

Mitochondrial diseases (MDs) are a large group of genetically determined multisystem disorders, characterized by extreme phenotypic heterogeneity, attributable in part to the dual genomic control (nuclear and mitochondrial DNA) of the mitochondrial proteome. Advances in next-generation sequencing technologies over the past two decades have presented clinicians with a challenge: to select the candidate disease-causing variants among the huge number of data provided. Unfortunately, the clinical tools available to support genetic interpretations still lack specificity and sensitivity. For this reason, the diagnosis of MDs continues to be difficult, with the new "genotype first" approach still failing to diagnose a large group of patients. With the aim of investigating possible relationships between clinical and/or biochemical phenotypes and definitive molecular diagnoses, we performed a retrospective multicenter study of 111 pediatric patients with clinical suspicion of MD. In this cohort, the strongest predictor of a molecular (in particular an mtDNA-related) diagnosis of MD was neuroimaging evidence of basal ganglia (BG) involvement. Regression analysis confirmed that normal BG imaging predicted negative genetic studies for MD. Psychomotor regression was confirmed as an independent predictor of a definitive diagnosis of MD. The findings of this study corroborate previous data supporting a role for neuroimaging in the diagnostic approach to MDs and reinforce the idea that mtDNA sequencing should be considered for first-line testing, at least in specific groups of children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10153222DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8348083PMC
July 2021

Different trajectories in upper limb and gross motor function in spinal muscular atrophy.

Muscle Nerve 2021 Nov 9;64(5):552-559. Epub 2021 Aug 9.

Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre, UCL Institute of Child Health & Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK.

Introduction: The Hammersmith Functional Motor Scale Expanded (HFMSE) and the Revised Upper Limb Module (RULM) have been widely used in natural history studies and clinical trials. Our aim was to establish how the scales relate to each other at different age points in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 2 and 3, and to describe their coherence over 12 mo.

Methods: The study was performed by cross-sectional and longitudinal reanalysis of previously published natural history data. The longitudinal analysis of the 12-mo changes also included the analysis of concordance between scales with changes grouped as stable (±2 points), improved (>+2) or declined (>-2).

Results: Three hundred sixty-four patients were included in the cross-sectional analysis, showing different trends in score and point of slope change for the two scales. For type 2, the point of slope change was 4.1 y for the HFMSE and 5.8 for the RULM, while for type 3, it was 6 y for the HFMSE and 7.3 for the RULM. One-hundred-twenty-one patients had at least two assessments at 12 mo. Full concordance was found in 57.3% of the assessments, and in 40.4% one scale remained stable and the other changed. Each scale appeared to be more sensitive to specific age or functional subgroups.

Discussion: The two scales, when used in combination, may increase the sensitivity to detect clinically meaningful changes in motor function in patients with SMA types 2 and 3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mus.27384DOI Listing
November 2021

Risdiplam-Treated Infants with Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy versus Historical Controls.

N Engl J Med 2021 07;385(5):427-435

From the Department of Neurology, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston (B.T.D.); the Developmental Neurology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan (R.M., G.B.), and the Center of Translational and Experimental Myology, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa (C.B.) - both in Italy; the Department of Developmental Neurology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland (M.M.-B.); the Paediatric Gait Analysis Service of New South Wales, the Children's Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney, Sydney (K.R.); the Department of Pediatrics, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing (H.X.), and Children's Hospital of Fudan University, Shanghai (Y.W.) - both in China; the Department of Neurology, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo (E.Z.); the Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre, National Institute for Health Research Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre, University College London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, London (G.B.), Roche Products, Welwyn Garden City (M.E.-K.), and the Muscular Dystrophy UK Oxford Neuromuscular Centre, the Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford, Oxford (L.S.) - all in the United Kingdom; Russian Children Neuromuscular Center, Veltischev Clinical Pediatric Research Institute, Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow (D.V.); Pharma Development, Safety (M.G.), Product Development Medical Affairs - Neuroscience and Rare Disease (K.G., P.F.), and Pharma Development Neurology (R.S.S.), F. Hoffmann-La Roche, and Roche Pharmaceutical Research and Early Development, Roche Innovation Center Basel (O.K., H.K.) - both in Basel, Switzerland; the Division of Child Neurology, Centre de Références des Maladies Neuromusculaires, the Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Liege, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium (L.S.); and I-Motion, Institut de Myologie, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital Armand Trousseau, Paris (L.S.).

Background: Type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a progressive neuromuscular disease characterized by an onset at 6 months of age or younger, an inability to sit without support, and deficient levels of survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein. Risdiplam is an orally administered small molecule that modifies pre-messenger RNA splicing and increases levels of functional SMN protein in blood.

Methods: We conducted an open-label study of risdiplam in infants with type 1 SMA who were 1 to 7 months of age at enrollment. Part 1 of the study (published previously) determined the dose to be used in part 2 (reported here), which assessed the efficacy and safety of daily risdiplam as compared with no treatment in historical controls. The primary end point was the ability to sit without support for at least 5 seconds after 12 months of treatment. Key secondary end points were a score of 40 or higher on the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Infant Test of Neuromuscular Disorders (CHOP-INTEND; range, 0 to 64, with higher scores indicating better motor function), an increase of at least 4 points from baseline in the CHOP-INTEND score, a motor-milestone response as measured by Section 2 of the Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination (HINE-2), and survival without permanent ventilation. For the secondary end points, comparisons were made with the upper boundary of 90% confidence intervals for natural-history data from 40 infants with type 1 SMA.

Results: A total of 41 infants were enrolled. After 12 months of treatment, 12 infants (29%) were able to sit without support for at least 5 seconds, a milestone not attained in this disorder. The percentages of infants in whom the key secondary end points were met as compared with the upper boundary of confidence intervals from historical controls were 56% as compared with 17% for a CHOP-INTEND score of 40 or higher, 90% as compared with 17% for an increase of at least 4 points from baseline in the CHOP-INTEND score, 78% as compared with 12% for a HINE-2 motor-milestone response, and 85% as compared with 42% for survival without permanent ventilation (P<0.001 for all comparisons). The most common serious adverse events were pneumonia, bronchiolitis, hypotonia, and respiratory failure.

Conclusions: In this study involving infants with type 1 SMA, risdiplam resulted in higher percentages of infants who met motor milestones and who showed improvements in motor function than the percentages observed in historical cohorts. Longer and larger trials are required to determine the long-term safety and efficacy of risdiplam in infants with type 1 SMA. (Funded by F. Hoffmann-La Roche; FIREFISH ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02913482.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2102047DOI Listing
July 2021

Muscle inflammatory pattern in alpha- and gamma-sarcoglycanopathies.

Clin Neuropathol 2021 Nov-Dec;40(6):310-318

Aim: Since the immune system plays a role in the pathogenesis of several muscular dystrophies, we aim to characterize several muscular inflammatory features in α- (LGMD R3) and γ-sarcoglycanopathies (LGMD R5).

Materials And Methods: We explored the expression of major histocompatibility complex class I molecules (MHCI), and we analyzed the composition of the immune infiltrates in muscle biopsies from 10 patients with LGMD R3 and 8 patients with LGMD R5, comparing the results to Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients (DMD).

Results: A consistent involvement of the immune response was observed in sarcoglycanopathies, although it was less evident than in DMD. LGMD R3-R5 and DMD shared an abnormal expression of MHCI, and the composition of the muscular immune cell infiltrate was comparable.

Conclusion: These findings might serve as a rationale to fine-tune a disease-specific immunomodulatory regimen, particularly relevant in view of the rapid development of gene therapy for sarcoglycanopathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5414/NP301393DOI Listing
October 2021

North Star Ambulatory Assessment changes in ambulant Duchenne boys amenable to skip exons 44, 45, 51, and 53: A 3 year follow up.

PLoS One 2021 25;16(6):e0253882. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

Department of Neurosciences, Unit of Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Disorders, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Introduction: The aim of this study was to report 36-month longitudinal changes using the North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) in ambulant patients affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy amenable to skip exons 44, 45, 51 or 53.

Materials And Methods: We included 101 patients, 34 had deletions amenable to skip exon 44, 25 exon 45, 19 exon 51, and 28 exon 53, not recruited in any ongoing clinical trials. Five patients were counted to skip exon 51 and 53 since they had a single deletion of exon 52.

Results: The difference between subgroups (skip 44, 45, 51 and 53) was significant at 12 (p = 0.043), 24 (p = 0.005) and 36 months (p≤0.001).

Discussion: Mutations amenable to skip exons 53 and 51 had lower baseline values and more negative changes than the other subgroups while those amenable to skip exon 44 had higher scores both at baseline and at follow up.

Conclusion: Our results confirm different progression of disease in subgroups of patients with deletions amenable to skip different exons. This information is relevant as current long term clinical trials are using the NSAA in these subgroups of mutations.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0253882PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8232423PMC
November 2021

Nusinersen in pediatric and adult patients with type III spinal muscular atrophy.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2021 08 24;8(8):1622-1634. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre, UCL Institute of Child Health & Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, United Kingdom.

Objective: We report longitudinal data from 144 type III SMA pediatric and adult patients treated with nusinersen as part of an international effort.

Methods: Patients were assessed using Hammersmith Functional Motor Scale Expanded (HFMSE), Revised Upper Limb Module (RULM), and 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT) with a mean follow-up of 1.83 years after nusinersen treatment.

Results: Over 75% of the 144 patients had a 12-month follow-up. There was an increase in the mean scores from baseline to 12 months on both HFMSE (1.18 points, p = 0.004) and RULM scores (0.58 points, p = 0.014) but not on the 6MWT (mean difference = 6.65 m, p = 0.33). When the 12-month HFMSE changes in the treated cohort were compared to an external cohort of untreated patients, in all untreated patients older than 7 years, the mean changes were always negative, while always positive in the treated ones. To reduce a selection bias, we also used a multivariable analysis. On the HFMSE scale, age, gender, baseline value, and functional status contributed significantly to the changes, while the number of SMN2 copies did not contribute. The effect of these variables was less obvious on the RULM and 6MWT.

Interpretation: Our results expand the available data on the effect of Nusinersen on type III patients, so far mostly limited to data from adult type III patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.51411DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8351459PMC
August 2021

Age related treatment effect in type II Spinal Muscular Atrophy pediatric patients treated with nusinersen.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 07 2;31(7):596-602. Epub 2021 Apr 2.

Pediatric Neurology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy; Centro Clinico Nemo, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Previous natural history studies suggest that type II SMA patients remain stable over one year but show some progression over two years. Since nusinersen approval, there has been increasing attention to identify more specific age-related changes. The aim of the study was to establish 12-month changes in a cohort of pediatric type II SMA treated with nusinersen and to establish possible patterns of treatment effect in relation to different variables such as age, baseline value and SMN2 copy number. The Hammersmith Functional Motor Scale Expanded and the Revised Upper Limb Module were performed at T0 and 12 months after treatment (T12). Data in treated patients were compared to available data in untreated patients collected by the same evaluators.Seventy-seven patients of age between 2.64 and 17.88 years (mean:7.47, SD:3.79) were included. On t-test there was an improvement, with increased mean scores between T0 and T12 on both scales (p < 0.001). Using multivariate linear regression analysis, age and baseline scores were predictive of changes on both scales (p < 0.05) while SMN2 copy number was not. Differences were also found between study cohort and untreated data on both scales (p < 0.001). At 12 months, an increase in scores was observed in all the age subgroups at variance with natural history data. Our real-world data confirm the treatment effect of nusinersen in pediatric type II SMA patients and that the data interpretation should take into account different variables. These data confirm and expand the ones already reported in the Cherish study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2021.03.012DOI Listing
July 2021

Rebalancing expression of HMGB1 redox isoforms to counteract muscular dystrophy.

Sci Transl Med 2021 06;13(596)

Division of Genetics and Cell Biology, Tissue Regeneration and Homeostasis Unit, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, 20132 Milan, Italy.

Muscular dystrophies (MDs) are a group of genetic diseases characterized by progressive muscle wasting associated to oxidative stress and persistent inflammation. It is essential to deepen our knowledge on the mechanism connecting these two processes because current treatments for MDs have limited efficacy and/or are associated with side effects. Here, we identified the alarmin high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) as a functional link between oxidative stress and inflammation in MDs. The oxidation of HMGB1 cysteines switches its extracellular activities from the orchestration of tissue regeneration to the exacerbation of inflammation. Extracellular HMGB1 is present at high amount and undergoes oxidation in patients with MDs and in mouse models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 3 (LGMDR3) compared to controls. Genetic ablation of HMGB1 in muscles of DMD mice leads to an amelioration of the dystrophic phenotype as evidenced by the reduced inflammation and muscle degeneration, indicating that HMGB1 oxidation is a detrimental process in MDs. Pharmacological treatment with an engineered nonoxidizable variant of HMGB1, called 3S, improves functional performance, muscle regeneration, and satellite cell engraftment in dystrophic mice while reducing inflammation and fibrosis. Overall, our data demonstrate that the balance between HMGB1 redox isoforms dictates whether skeletal muscle is in an inflamed or regenerating state, and that the nonoxidizable form of HMGB1 is a possible therapeutic approach to counteract the progression of the dystrophic phenotype. Rebalancing the HMGB1 redox isoforms may also be a therapeutic strategy for other disorders characterized by chronic oxidative stress and inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aay8416DOI Listing
June 2021

Movement Disorders in Children with a Mitochondrial Disease: A Cross-Sectional Survey from the Nationwide Italian Collaborative Network of Mitochondrial Diseases.

J Clin Med 2021 May 12;10(10). Epub 2021 May 12.

IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris, 56018 Pisa, Italy.

Movement disorders are increasingly being recognized as a manifestation of childhood-onset mitochondrial diseases (MDs). However, the spectrum and characteristics of these conditions have not been studied in detail in the context of a well-defined cohort of patients. We retrospectively explored a cohort of individuals with childhood-onset MDs querying the Nationwide Italian Collaborative Network of Mitochondrial Diseases database. Using a customized online questionnaire, we attempted to collect data from the subgroup of patients with movement disorders. Complete information was available for 102 patients. Movement disorder was the presenting feature of MD in 45 individuals, with a mean age at onset of 11 years. Ataxia was the most common movement disorder at onset, followed by dystonia, tremor, hypokinetic disorders, chorea, and myoclonus. During the disease course, most patients (67.7%) encountered a worsening of their movement disorder. Basal ganglia involvement, cerebral white matter changes, and cerebellar atrophy were the most commonly associated neuroradiological patterns. Forty-one patients harbored point mutations in the mitochondrial DNA, 10 carried mitochondrial DNA rearrangements, and 41 cases presented mutations in nuclear-DNA-encoded genes, the latter being associated with an earlier onset and a higher impairment in activities of daily living. Among our patients, 32 individuals received pharmacological treatment; clonazepam and oral baclofen were the most commonly used drugs, whereas levodopa and intrathecal baclofen administration were the most effective. A better delineation of the movement disorders phenotypes starting in childhood may improve our diagnostic workup in MDs, fine tuning management, and treatment of affected patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10102063DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8151313PMC
May 2021

Spinal muscular atrophy: state of the art and new therapeutic strategies.

Neurol Sci 2021 Apr 19. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Department of Child Neurology, University Policlinico Gemelli, Rome, Italy.

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a severe disorder of motor neurons and the most frequent cause of genetic mortality, due to respiratory complications. We are facing an exciting era with three available therapeutic options in a disease considered incurable for more than a century. However, the availability of effective approaches has raised up ethical, medical, and financial issues that are routinely faced by the SMA community. Each therapeutic strategy has its weaknesses and strengths and clinicians need to know them to optimize clinical care. In this review, the state of the art and the results and challenges of the new SMA therapeutic strategies are highlighted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10072-021-05258-3DOI Listing
April 2021

The Spinal Muscular Atrophy Health Index: Italian validation of a disease-specific outcome measure.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 05 9;31(5):409-418. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Pediatric Neurology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy.

Patient report outcome measures in Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) represent a potential complement to observer rated scales which can be used to better understand treatment response. We developed, translated and validated an Italian version of the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Health Index (SMAHI), a disease-specific, patient reported outcome measure questionnaire, designed to estimate the patients' perception of disease burden. Test-retest reliability was assessed in 37 patients (16 children aged 12-17 and 21 adults) and was excellent in both cohorts. Internal consistency in an additional 98 patients (24 children, 74 adults) was also excellent (Cronbach's alpha = 0.93 and 0.91 respectively). In children the highest level of disease burden was generated from lower limb dysfunction and fatigue as well as their perception of decreased performance in social situations. Most patients in the adult cohort were sitters and complained of problems with upper limb functions as well as of fatigue. The SMAHI-IT was also able to differentiate between SMA types according to diseases severity. The results of our study demonstrate that the SMAHI can be considered a marker of disease-specific burden in patients with SMA with a high test-retest reliability and internal validity in Italian patients aged 12 and older.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2021.02.006DOI Listing
May 2021

The nonsense mutation stop+4 model correlates with motor changes in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 06 21;31(6):479-488. Epub 2021 Feb 21.

Pediatric Neurology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy; Centro Clinico Nemo, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS, Largo Agostino Gemelli 8, Rome 00152, Italy. Electronic address:

The aim was to assess 3-year longitudinal data using 6MWT in 26 ambulant boys affected by DMD carrying nonsense mutations and to compare their results to other small mutations. We also wished to establish, within the nonsense mutations group, patterns of change according to several variables. Patients with nonsense mutations were categorized according to the stop codon type newly created by the mutation and also including the adjacent 5' (upstream) and 3' (downstream) nucleotides. No significant difference was found between nonsense mutations and other small mutations (p > 0.05) on the 6MWT. Within the nonsense mutations group, there was no difference in 6MWT when the patients were subdivided according to: Type of stop codon, frame status of exons involved, protein domain affected. In contrast, there was a difference when the stop codon together with the 3' adjacent nucleotide ("stop+4 model") was considered (p < 0.05) with patients with stop codon TGA and 3' adjacent nucleotide G (TGAG) having a more rapid decline. Our finding suggest that the stop+4 model may help in predicting functional changes. This data will be useful at the time of interpreting the long term follow up of patients treated with Ataluren that are becoming increasingly available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2021.02.015DOI Listing
June 2021

Management and outcome of benign acute childhood myositis in pediatric emergency department.

Ital J Pediatr 2021 Mar 9;47(1):57. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Center of Translational and Experimental Myology, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy.

Background: Benign acute childhood myositis (BACM) is a self-limited syndrome associated with viral infections characterized by symmetric lower extremity pain typically affecting school-aged children. Evolution in rhabdomyolysis and kidney damage is rarely reported. Despite this, the acute presentation commonly concerns both parents and health care providers, often leading to unnecessary workup. The aim of the study was to determine the features and outcome of a large series of children with BACM identifying a management pathway for pediatricians in Emergency Department (ED).

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of patients with BACM managed in 2 Italian pediatric ED during a period of 8 and a half years. Demographic data, clinical, and laboratory results were extracted from electronic medical records. Recurrence, complications, treatments, and outcomes were also recorded. Descriptive statistics were produced for first-episode patients and for those with recurrence of myositis. A comparison between groups was performed.

Results: One hundred and thirteen patients with BACM were identified. Ninety-two children (65 males) had a single episode, while ten (nine males) had recurrence. The mean age at presentation was 6.0 years (range 2-13,2). All patients had normal neurological examination and no one developed myoglobinuria, or renal failure. At first evaluation median CK level was 1413 UI/l (normal values < 150 U/L). Median CK of "recurrent" patients was higher than "non-recurrent" (2330 vs 1150 U/L, p = 0.009). Viral studies were positive in 51/74 cases, with high prevalence of Influenza viruses. Ninety-six patients (85%) were hospitalized with a median of 4 days. No patients had any residual muscular impairment.

Conclusions: BACM has an excellent prognosis. Severe pathological conditions can be excluded with a complete history and clinical examination and simple blood and urine tests, avoiding unnecessary diagnostic investigations. Most patients may be discharged home from ED recommending hydration, rest, analgesics and careful follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13052-021-01002-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7945053PMC
March 2021

Predictive fat mass equations for spinal muscular atrophy type I children: Development and internal validation.

Clin Nutr 2021 04 26;40(4):1578-1587. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Department of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, Obesity Unit and Laboratory of Nutrition and Obesity Research, IRCCS (Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization, and Healthcare) Italian Auxologic Institute (IAI), Milan, Italy; International Center for the Assessment of Nutritional Status (ICANS), Department of Food Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS), University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Background: Body composition assessment is paramount for spinal muscular atrophy type I (SMA I) patients, as weight and BMI have proven to be misleading for these patients. Despite its importance, no disease-specific field method is currently available, and the assessment of body composition of SMA I patients requires reference methods available only in specialized settings.

Objective: To develop predictive fat mass equations for SMA I children based on simple measurements, and compare existing equations to the new disease-specific equations.

Design: Demographic, clinical and anthropometric data were examined as potential predictors of the best candidate response variable and non-linear relations were taken into account by transforming continuous predictors with restricted cubic splines. Alternative models were fitted including all the dimensions revealed by cluster analysis of the predictors. The best models were then internally validated, quantifying optimism of the obtained performance measures. The contribution of nusinersen treatment to the unexplained variability of the final models was also tested.

Results: A total of 153 SMA I patients were included in the study, as part of a longitudinal observational study in SMA children conducted at the International Center for the Assessment of Nutritional Status (ICANS), University of Milan. The sample equally represented both sexes (56% females) and a wide age range (from 3 months to 12 years, median 1.2 years). Four alternative models performed equally in predicting fat mass fraction (fat mass/body weight). The most convenient was selected and further presented. The selected model uses as predictors sex, age, calf circumference and the sum of triceps, suprailiac and calf skinfold thicknesses. The model showed high predictive ability (optimism corrected coefficient of determination, R = 0.72) and internal validation indicated little optimism both in performance measures and model calibration. The addition of nusinersen as a predictor variable did not improve the prediction. The disease-specific equation was more accurate than the available fat mass equations.

Conclusions: The developed prediction model allows the assessment of body composition in SMA I children with simple and widely available measures and with reasonable accuracy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2021.02.026DOI Listing
April 2021

Type I SMA "new natural history": long-term data in nusinersen-treated patients.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2021 03 6;8(3):548-557. Epub 2021 Feb 6.

Paediatric Neurology, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.

Objective: The aim of this paper was to report the 2-year follow-up in type I patients treated with Nusinersen and to assess whether possible changes in motor function are related to the subtype, age, or SMN2 copy number.

Methods: Sixty-eight patients, with ages ranging from 0.20 to 15.92 years (mean: 3.96; standard deviation: +3.90) were enrolled in the study. All patients were assessed using the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Infant Test of Neuromuscular Disorders (CHOP INTEND) and the developmental section of the Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination (HINE-2) at the time they started treatment and 12 and 24 months after that.

Results: For both CHOP and HINE-2 repeated measures analysis of variance showed a significant difference (P < 0.001) between baseline and 12 months, 12 months and 24 months, and baseline and 24-month scores for the whole group. When age subgroups (<210 days, <2 years, 2-4 years, 5-11 years, 12-18 years) were considered, on the CHOP INTEND the difference was significant between baseline and 24 months in all age subgroups. On the HINE-2, the difference between baseline and 24 months was significant in all the subgroups before the age of 4 years. Age was predictive of changes on both scales (P < 0.05), whereas SMN2 copy number and decimal classification were not.

Interpretation: Our results suggest that some improvement of motor function can be observed even after the first year of treatment. This is more obvious in the infants treated in the first 2 years but some improvement can also be found in older children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.51276DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7951096PMC
March 2021

Comprehensive Phenotyping of Peripheral Blood T Lymphocytes in Healthy Mice.

Cytometry A 2021 03 11;99(3):243-250. Epub 2020 Nov 11.

Center of Translational and Experimental Myology, IRCCS Istituto G. Gaslini, Genoa, Italy.

T lymphocytes play a central role in antigen-specific immune responses. They modulate the function of different immune cells both through a direct contact (receptor binding) and through the secretion of cytokines. At the same time, they are deeply involved in the direct killing of aberrant target cells. T lymphocytes derive from a bone marrow precursor that migrates in the thymus where the main differentiation steps take place. Mature CD4 and CD8 single-positive cells, then, leave the thymus to reach the secondary lymphoid organs. T-cell subsets and their maturation steps can be identified mainly based on the expression of extracellular markers, intracellular transcription factors and cytokine production profiles. In this review, we report, from a cytometric point of view, an overview of the most important T-cell subpopulations and their differentiation state. © 2020 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cyto.a.24246DOI Listing
March 2021

Respiratory Trajectories in Type 2 and 3 Spinal Muscular Atrophy in the iSMAC Cohort Study.

Neurology 2021 01 16;96(4):e587-e599. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

From the Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre (F.T., M.S., M.L.M., F.M.) and Population, Policy and Practice Programme (D.R.), UCL GOS Institute of Child Health, London, UK; DINOGMI, University of Genoa (F.T.), IRCCS Istituto G. Gaslini, Italy; NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre (D.R., F.M.), Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, University College London, and Great Ormond Street Hospital Trust, UK; Paediatric Neurology (G.C., M.P., E.M.), Catholic University; Centro Clinico Nemo (G.C., M.P., E.M.), Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCSS, Rome, Italy; John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre (R.M.L., C.M.-B.), Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK; Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics (J.M., D.C.D.V.) and Departments of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine (J.M.), Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY; Paediatric Neurology and Centro Clinico Nemo (V.S., E.A.), Milan; Unit of Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Disorders (A.D., E.B.), Post-Graduate Bambino Gesù Children's Research Hospital, IRCCS, Rome; Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (S.M.), University of Messina Paediatric Neurology and Nemo Sud Clinical Centre; Center of Translational and Experimental Myology (C.B.), IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genova, Italy; University Hospitals Birmingham NHSFT (D.P.); Leeds Children Hospital (A.-M.C.); Evelina Children's Hospital (V.G.), London; The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (T.W.), Oswestry; Sheffield Children's Hospital (M.O.), UK; Department of Neurology (B.T.D.), Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, MA; Stanford University (J.D.), Medical Centre, Palo Alto, CA; Divisions of Pediatric Neurology (E.A.K.), Pulmonology (O.H.M.) and Physical Therapy (A.M.G.), The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and Divisions of Neurology (R.S.F.) and Pulmonary Medicine (A.A.N.N.), Department of Pediatrics, Nemours Children's Hospital, Orlando, FL.

Objective: To describe the respiratory trajectories and their correlation with motor function in an international pediatric cohort of patients with type 2 and nonambulant type 3 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Methods: This was an 8-year retrospective observational study of patients in the International SMA Consortium (iSMAc) natural history study. We retrieved anthropometrics, forced vital capacity (FVC) absolute, FVC percent predicted (FVC%P), and noninvasive ventilation (NIV) requirement. Hammersmith Functional Motor Scale (HFMS) and revised Performance of Upper Limb (RULM) scores were correlated with respiratory function. We excluded patients in interventional clinical trials and on nusinersen commercial therapy.

Results: There were 437 patients with SMA: 348 with type 2 and 89 with nonambulant type 3. Mean age at first visit was 6.9 (±4.4) and 11.1 (±4) years. In SMA type 2, FVC%P declined by 4.2%/y from 5 to 13 years, followed by a slower decline (1.0%/y). In type 3, FVC%P declined by 6.3%/y between 8 and 13 years, followed by a slower decline (0.9%/y). Thirty-nine percent with SMA type 2% and 9% with type 3 required NIV at a median age 5.0 (1.8-16.6) and 15.1 (13.8-16.3) years. Eighty-four percent with SMA type 2% and 80% with type 3 had scoliosis; 54% and 46% required surgery, which did not significantly affect respiratory decline. FVC%P positively correlated with HFMS and RULM scores in both subtypes.

Conclusions: In SMA type 2 and nonambulant type 3, lung function declines differently, with a common leveling after age 13 years. Lung and motor function correlated in both subtypes. Our data further define the milder SMA phenotypes and provide information to benchmark the long-term efficacy of new treatments for SMA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011051DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7905794PMC
January 2021

Creation and implementation of a European registry for patients with McArdle disease and other muscle glycogenoses (EUROMAC registry).

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2020 10 15;15(1):187. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Biomedical Network Research Centre on Rare Diseases (CIBERER), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, and Research Group on Neuromuscular and Mitochondrial Diseases, Vall d'Hebron Research Institute, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Pg. Vall d'Hebron 119, 08035, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Background: International patient registries are of particular importance for rare disorders, as they may contribute to overcome the lack of knowledge derived from low number of patients and limited awareness of these diseases, and help to learn more about their geographical or population-based specificities, which is relevant for research purposes and for promoting better standards of care and diagnosis. Our objective was to create and implement a European registry for patients with McArdle disease and other muscle glycogenoses (EUROMAC) and to disseminate the knowledge of these disorders.

Results: Teams from nine different countries (United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Turkey and USA) created a consortium that developed the first European registry dedicated to rare muscle glycogenoses. A work plan was implemented to design the database and platform that constitute the registry, by choosing clinical, genetics and molecular variables of interest, based on experience gained from previous national registries for similar metabolic disorders. Among dissemination activities, several teaching events were organized in different countries, especially those where the consortium considered the awareness of these diseases needs to be promoted among health professionals and patients.

Conclusion: EUROMAC represents a step forward in the knowledge of those disorders to which it is dedicated, and will have relevant clinical outcomes at the diagnostic, epidemiological, clinical and research level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-020-01455-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7558742PMC
October 2020

Synthesis and Evaluation of Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Blocking Pyrroline Derivatives Endowed with Both Antiarrhythmic and Antioxidant Activities.

ChemMedChem 2021 02 28;16(3):578-588. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

Department of Pharmacy - Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro, via E. Orabona n. 4, 70126, Bari, Italy.

Under the hypothesis that cardioprotective agents might benefit from synergism between antiarrhythmic activity and antioxidant properties, a small series of mexiletine analogues were coupled with the 2,2,5,5-tetramethylpyrroline moiety, known for its antioxidant effect, in order to obtain dual-acting drugs potentially useful in the protection of the heart against post-ischemic reperfusion injury. The pyrroline derivatives reported herein were found to be more potent as antiarrhythmic agents than mexiletine and displayed antioxidant activity. The most interesting tetramethylpyrroline congener, a tert-butyl-substituted analogue, was at least 100 times more active as an antiarrhythmic than mexiletine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cmdc.202000692DOI Listing
February 2021

Clinical Variability in Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type III.

Ann Neurol 2020 12 2;88(6):1109-1117. Epub 2020 Oct 2.

Department of Child Neurology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Objective: We report natural history data in a large cohort of 199 patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type III assessed using the Hammersmith Functional Motor Scale Expanded (HFMSE). The aim of the study was to establish the annual rate and possible patterns of progression according to a number of variables, such as age of onset, age at assessment, SMN2 copy number, and functional status.

Methods: HFMSE longitudinal changes were assessed using piecewise linear mixed-effects models. The dependency in the data due to repeated measures was accounted for by a random intercept per individual and an unstructured covariance R matrix was used as correlation structure. An additional descriptive analysis was performed for 123 patients, for a total of 375 12-month assessments.

Results: A break point at age 7 years was set for the whole cohort and for SMA IIIA and IIIB. Age, SMA type, and ambulatory status were significantly associated with changes in mean HFMSE score, whereas gender and SMN2 copy number were not. The increase in response before the break point of age 7 years is significant only for SMA IIIA (β = 1.79, p < 0.0001). After the break point, the change in the rate of HFMSE score significantly decrease for both SMA IIIA (β = -1.15, p < 0.0001) and IIIB (β = -0.69, p = 0.002).

Interpretation: Our findings contribute to the understanding of the natural history of SMA type III and will be helpful in the interpretation of the real-world data of patients treated with commercially available drugs. ANN NEUROL 2020;88:1109-1117.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25900DOI Listing
December 2020
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