Publications by authors named "Francesca Marchese"

20 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

A nationwide study on Sydenham's chorea: Clinical features, treatment and prognostic factors.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2021 Nov 6;36:1-6. Epub 2021 Nov 6.

Pediatric Rheumatology, Pediatric University Department, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Pisana, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Objectives: Sydenham's Chorea (SC) is a neuropsychiatric disorder and a major manifestation of acute rheumatic fever. The erroneous assumption that SC is a benign and self-limiting disease, has led to a lack of high-quality scientific evidence of the therapeutical and prognostic features of SC.

Study Design: We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of patients <18-years old with SC in 17 Italian pediatric centers. Recorded data included clinical, instrumental and laboratory parameters. Prognostic risk factors including treatment regimens were assessed with univariate and multivariate sub-analysis.

Results: We included 171 patients with SC. 66% had generalized chorea, and 34% hemichorea. 81% had carditis (subclinical in 65%). Additional neurological symptoms were reported in 60% of the patients, mainly dysarthria and dysgraphia. 51% had neuropsychiatric symptoms at onset, which persisted after 12 months in 10%. Among psychiatric manifestations, the most common was anxiety disorder/depression (77%). Neurological remission was reached by 93% of the patients at 6 months; 9% relapsed. Patients were treated as follows: 11% penicillin alone, 37% immunomodulatory therapy, 16% symptomatic drugs (i.e. anti-seizure medication, dopamine antagonists) and 37% both symptomatic and immunomodulatory treatment. Neurological outcome did not differ between groups. Patients receiving symptomatic drugs had a higher risk of relapse on multivariate analysis (p = 0.045).

Conclusions: Treatment of SC was largely heterogeneous. Based on our results, immunomodulatory therapy did not show higher efficacy at medium term, although it was associated to a slightly lower risk of relapse compared to symptomatic therapy. Longitudinal studies are needed to assess specific risk factors and best treatment options.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2021.11.002DOI Listing
November 2021

Complex Neurological Phenotype Associated with a De Novo Mutation in a Boy with Intellectual Disability, Refractory Epilepsy, and Movement Disorder.

J Pediatr Genet 2021 Sep 31;10(3):236-238. Epub 2020 Jul 31.

Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy.

Mutations in the gene (MIM: 617836), encoding a subunit of dehydrodolichyl diphosphate synthase complex, have been recently implicated in very rare neurodevelopmental diseases. In total, five individuals carrying two mutations in have been reported so far, but genotype-phenotype correlations remain elusive. We reported a boy with a mutation in (NM_205861.3: c.G632A; p.Arg211Gln) featuring a complex neurological phenotype, including mild intellectual disability, impaired speech, complex hyperkinetic movements, and refractory epilepsy. We defined the electroclinical and movement disorder phenotype associated with the monoallelic form of the -related neurodevelopmental disease and possible underlying dominant-negative mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1713159DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8416192PMC
September 2021

Increase in admissions for anorexia nervosa after lockdown measures: Focus on a children's neuropsychiatry unit.

Gen Hosp Psychiatry 2021 Sep-Oct;72:147-148. Epub 2021 Jun 17.

Child Neuropsychiatry Unit, P.O. Di Cristina- Arnas Civico, Via dei Benedettini 1, Palermo 90100, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2021.06.005DOI Listing
June 2021

Results From an Italian Expanded Access Program on Cannabidiol Treatment in Highly Refractory Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.

Front Neurol 2021 20;12:673135. Epub 2021 May 20.

Pediatric Neurology and Epileptology Unit, Brotzu Hospital Trust, Cagliari, Italy.

Purified cannabidiol (CBD) was administered to highly refractory patients with Dravet (DS) or Lennox-Gastaut (LGS) syndromes in an ongoing expanded access program (EAP). Herein, we report interim results on CBD safety and seizure outcomes in patients treated for a 12-month period. Thirty centers were enrolled from December 2018 to December 2019 within the open-label prospective EAP up to a maximum of 25 mg/kg per day. Adverse effects and liver function tests were assessed after 2 weeks; 1, 3, and 6 months of treatment; and periodically thereafter. Seizure endpoints were the percentage of patients with ≥50 and 100% reduction in seizures compared to baseline. A total of 93 patients were enrolled and included in the safety analysis. Eighty-two patients [27 (32.9%) DS, 55 (67.1%) LGS] with at least 3 months of treatment have been included in the effectiveness analysis; median previously failed antiseizure medications was eight. Pediatric and adult patients were uniformly represented in the cohort. At 3-month follow-up, compared to the 28-day baseline period, the percentage of patients with at least a 50% reduction in seizure frequency was 40.2% (plus 1.2% seizure-free). Retention rate was similar according to diagnosis, while we found an increased number of patients remaining under treatment in the adult group. CBD was mostly coadministered with valproic acid (62.2%) and clobazam (41.5%). In the safety dataset, 29 (31.2%) dropped out: reasons were lack of efficacy [16 (17.2%)] and adverse events (AEs) [12 (12.9%)], and one met withdrawal criteria (1.1%). Most reported AEs were somnolence (22.6%) and diarrhea (11.9%), followed by transaminase elevation and loss of appetite. CBD is associated with improved seizure control also in a considerable proportion of highly refractory patients with DS and LGS independently from clobazam use. Overall, CBD safety and effectiveness are not dose-related in this cohort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2021.673135DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8173151PMC
May 2021

An Open Retrospective Study of a Standardized Cannabidiol Based-Oil in Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy.

Cannabis Cannabinoid Res 2020 Jul 21. Epub 2020 Jul 21.

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

Cannabidiol (CBD) has antiseizure properties but no psychoactive effects. Randomized controlled trials of an oral, pharmaceutical formulation of highly purified CBD are promising; however, data regarding other formulations are sparse and anecdotal. We evaluated the effectiveness of add-on therapy with a standardized CBD-based oil in treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE) patients. An open retrospective study was carried out on patients with refractory epilepsy of different etiology. We reviewed clinical data from medical charts and caregiver's information. Participants received add-on with 24% CBD-based oil, sublingually administered, at the starting dose of 5-10 mg/[kg·day] up to the maximum dose of 50 mg/[kg·day], based on clinical efficacy. Efficacy was evaluated based on patients being seizure free or experiencing at ≥50% improvement on seizure frequency. Tolerability and suspected adverse drug reaction data were also analyzed. We included 37 patients (46% female) with a median age of 16.1 (range: 2-54) years. Twenty-two (60%) patients suffered from epileptic encephalopathy, 9 (24%) from focal epilepsy, and 6 (16%) from generalized epilepsy. Mean follow-up duration was 68 (range: 24-72) weeks. The average age at seizure onset was 3.8±2.1 years (range: 7 days-21 years). The median achieved CBD-based oil dose was 4.2±11.4 (range: 0.6-50) mg/[kg·day]. At 40-month follow-up, 7 (19%) patients were seizure free, 27 (73%) reported >50% improvement, 2 (5%) patients reported <50% improvement, and 1 patient discontinued therapy due to lack of efficacy. Weaning from concomitant antiepileptic drugs was obtained after 24 weeks from CBD introduction in 10 subjects. Mild and transitory adverse events, including somnolence or loss of appetite, occurred in nine (25%) patients. We showed the efficacy of a CBD-based oil formulation with few significant side effects in patients with TRE of various etiologies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/can.2019.0082DOI Listing
July 2020

Temporal-parietal-occipital epilepsy in GEFS+ associated with SCN1A mutation.

Epileptic Disord 2021 Apr;23(2):397-401

Department of Neuroscience, Reproductive and Odontostomatological Sciences, Federico II University, Napoli, Italy.

Most families with genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus show a mutation in the sodium channel alpha 1 subunit gene, however, but there is much phenotypic heterogeneity and focal epilepsy remains relatively rare. Here, we report a family with electroclinical features indicative of temporal-parietal-occipital carrefour epilepsy with common occurrence of post-ictal migraine. We studied a four-generation family including nine affected subjects by means of EEG and MRI. Genetic testing was performed by targeted re-sequencing (gene panel). In most patients, seizure semiology included cognitive, autonomic, and emotional symptoms, eventually evolving towards sensory visual phenomena. Focal sensory vestibular seizures and changes in body perception were also reported in some cases. Post-ictal migraine was common, occurring in five out of the six (83%) epilepsy patients. A missense mutation (c.1130 G>A; p.R377Q) affecting the S5-S6 segment (pore region) of the sodium channel alpha 1 subunit was identified in all affected and four unaffected subjects. Temporal-parietal-occipital carrefour epilepsy is part of the genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus spectrum. The electroclinical features in this family support the involvement of a genetically impaired neural network. High prevalence of post-ictal migraine suggests the role of posterior brain areas in the clinical expression of this gene defect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1684/epd.2021.1266DOI Listing
April 2021

Electroclinical features of MEF2C haploinsufficiency-related epilepsy: A multicenter European study.

Seizure 2021 May 30;88:60-72. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Maternal and Pediatric Department, Fondazione IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, Poliambulatorio "Giovanni Paolo II", Viale Padre Pio, snc, San Giovanni Rotondo (FG) 71013, Italy.

Purpose: Epilepsy is a main manifestation in the autosomal dominant mental retardation syndrome caused by heterozygous variants in MEF2C. We aimed to delineate the electro-clinical features and refine the genotype-phenotype correlations in patients with MEF2C haploinsufficiency.

Methods: We thoroughly investigated 25 patients with genetically confirmed MEF2C-syndrome across 12 different European Genetics and Epilepsy Centers, focusing on the epileptic phenotype. Clinical features (seizure types, onset, evolution, and response to therapy), EEG recordings during waking/sleep, and neuroimaging findings were analyzed. We also performed a detailed literature review using the terms "MEF2C", "seizures", and "epilepsy".

Results: Epilepsy was diagnosed in 19 out of 25 (~80%) subjects, with age at onset <30 months. Ten individuals (40%) presented with febrile seizures and myoclonic seizures occurred in ~50% of patients. Epileptiform abnormalities were observed in 20/25 patients (80%) and hypoplasia/partial agenesis of the corpus callosum was detected in 12/25 patients (~50%). Nine patients harbored a 5q14.3 deletion encompassing MEF2C and at least one other gene. In 7 out of 10 patients with myoclonic seizures, MIR9-2 and LINC00461 were also deleted, whereas ADGRV1 was involved in 3/4 patients with spasms.

Conclusion: The epileptic phenotype of MEF2C-syndrome is variable. Febrile and myoclonic seizures are the most frequent, usually associated with a slowing of the background activity and irregular diffuse discharges of frontally dominant, symmetric or asymmetric, slow theta waves with interposed spike-and-waves complexes. The haploinsufficiency of ADGRV1, MIR9-2, and LINC00461 likely contributes to myoclonic seizures and spasms in patients with MEF2C syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2021.03.025DOI Listing
May 2021

Genotype-phenotype correlations in patients with de novo pathogenic variants.

Neurol Genet 2020 Dec 30;6(6):e528. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Neurosciences (F. Malerba, G.B., E.A., A. Riva, V.S., L.N., C. Minetti, F.Z., P.S.), Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, Università degli Studi di Genova; Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit (F. Malerba, G.B., F. Marchese, E.A., A. Riva, M.S.V., V.S., C. Minetti, P.S.), IRCCS Istituto G. Gaslini; Center for Synaptic Neuroscience and Technology ([email protected]) (G.A., L.M., F.B.), Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia; Department of Experimental Medicine (G.A.), Università degli Studi di Genova; Laboratory of Human Genetics (E.G.); Unit of Medical Genetics (F. Madia, F.Z.), IRCCS Istituto G. Gaslini, Genova, Italy; Child Neurology and Neurorehabilitation Unit (M.A.), Department of Pediatrics, Central Hospital of Bolzano, Bolzano; Child Neurology and Psychiatry Unit (L.G., P.A., P.M.), ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia; Neurology Unit (M. Trivisano, N.S.), Department of Neuroscience, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Roma; Child Neurology Unit (A. Russo, G.G.), IRCCS, Institute of Neurological Sciences of Bologna; Child Neuropsychiatry Unit (F.R.), U.O.N.P.I.A. ASST-Rhodense, Rho, Milano; Neurology Unit and Laboratories (T.P.), A. Meyer Children's Hospital, Firenze; Child Neurology and Psychiatric Unit (C. Marini), Pediatric Hospital G. Salesi, United Hospital of Ancona; Child Neuropsychiatry Unit (M.M.M., L.N.), IRCCS Istituto G. Gaslini, Genova; Department of Pediatric Neuroscience (E.F.), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta; Unit of Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Diseases (B. Castellotti), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milano; Department of Child Neuropsychiatry (G.C.), Epilepsy Center, C. Poma Hospital, Mantova; Fondazione Poliambulanza Brescia (G.C.); Epilepsy Center (A.C.), Department of Neuroscience, Reproductive and Odontostomatological Sciences, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Napoli; Department of Pediatrics (A.V.), University of Perugia; Section of Pharmacology (F. Miceli, M. Taglialatela), Department of Neuroscience, Reproductive and Odontostomatological Sciences, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Napoli; IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino (L.M., F.B.), Genova, Italy; Division of Pediatric Neurology (M.R.C.), Saint-Luc University Hospital, and Institute of Experimental and Clinical Research (IREC), Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium; Department of Epilepsy Genetics and Personalized Treatment (K.M.J., R.S.M.), The Danish Epilepsy Center Filadelfia, Dianalund, Denmark; Institute for Regional Health Services (K.M.J., R.S.M.), University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark; Department of Neurology (B. Ceulemans, S.W.), University Hospital Antwerp; Applied & Translational Neurogenomics Group (S.W.), VIB-Center for Molecular Neurology; Laboratory of Neurogenetics (S.W.), Institute Born-Bunge, University of Antwerp, Belgium; and Department of Life and Environmental Sciences (L.M.), Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy.

Objective: Early identification of de novo variants in patients with epilepsy raises prognostic issues toward optimal management. We analyzed the clinical and genetic information from a cohort of patients with de novo pathogenic variants to dissect genotype-phenotype correlations.

Methods: Patients with de novo pathogenic variants were identified from Italy, Denmark, and Belgium. Atomic resolution Kv7.2 structures were also generated using homology modeling to map the variants.

Results: We included 34 patients with a mean age of 4.7 years. Median seizure onset was 2 days, mainly with focal seizures with autonomic signs. Twenty-two patients (65%) were seizure free at the mean age of 1.2 years. More than half of the patients (17/32) displayed severe/profound intellectual disability; however, 4 (13%) of them had a normal cognitive outcome.A total of 28 de novo pathogenic variants were identified, most missense (25/28), and clustered in conserved regions of the protein; 6 variants recurred, and 7 were novel. We did not identify a relationship between variant position and seizure offset or cognitive outcome in patients harboring missense variants. Besides, recurrent variants were associated with overlapping epilepsy features but also variable evolution regarding the intellectual outcome.

Conclusions: We highlight the complexity of variant interpretation to assess the impact of a class of de novo mutations. Genetic modifiers could be implicated, but the study paradigms to successfully address the impact of each single mutation need to be developed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXG.0000000000000528DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7803337PMC
December 2020

A Volumetric Absorptive Microsampling Technique to Monitor Cannabidiol Levels in Epilepsy Patients.

Front Pharmacol 2020 16;11:582286. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

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

Interest in cannabis-based therapies has recently increased, due to the availability of cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of epilepsy without psychoactive effects. Therapeutic drug monitoring can prevent drug interactions and minimize drug toxicity. We evaluated a volumetric absorptive microsampling (VAMS) method combined with LC-MS/MS (liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry) for the quantification of CBD blood levels in patients with refractory epilepsy. Prospective observation of patients with Dravet syndrome receiving open-label, add-on GW-purified CBD (Epidyolex) at different doses. CBD plasma samples were obtained from venipuncture and LC-MS/MS was used to measure CBD in venous and capillary blood samples collected by VAMS. We enrolled five patients with a mean age of 13 (range: 4-27) years. CBD levels measured by VAMS on capillary blood did not differ from CBD levels measured in plasma by venipuncture ( > 0.93). This proof-of-concept study suggests that VAMS allows monitoring of CBD plasma levels and can offer valuable support for personalized therapy in refractory epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.582286DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7751733PMC
November 2020

Cannabidiol Determination on Peripheral Capillary Blood Using a Microsampling Method and Ultra-High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry with On-Line Sample Preparation.

Molecules 2020 Aug 8;25(16). Epub 2020 Aug 8.

Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry Section, Central Laboratory of Analyses, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, 16147 Genoa, Italy.

The aim of this work is to evaluate volumetric absorptive microsampling (VAMS) from capillary blood as an alternative strategy for therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) in patients treated with the newly available GW-purified form of cannabidiol (Epidiolex). A fast ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) coupled to an online sample preparation system analysis was carried out on a Thermo Scientific Ultimate 3000 LC system coupled to a TSQ Quantiva triple quadrupole for the quantification of cannabidiol (CBD) and, in addition, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC). After validation using European Medicine Agency (EMA) guidelines the method was applied to samples obtained by finger prick of five pediatric patients treated with Epidiolex and the results were compared to those obtained from venous blood and plasma. The method is linear in the range of 1-800 µg/L for both CBD and THC with intra- and inter-day precisions ranging from 5% to 14% and accuracies from -13% to +14% starting from 30 µL of sample. Stability in VAMS is ensured for up to 4 weeks at 25 °C thus allowing simple delivery. There was no difference ( = 0.69) between concentrations of CBD measured from VAMS sampled from capillary or venous blood (range: 52.19-330.14 or 72.15-383.45 µg/L) and those obtained from plasma (range: 64.3-374.09 µg/L) The VAMS-LC-MS/MS method represents a valid alternative strategy for therapeutic drug monitoring of patients treated with Epidiolex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules25163608DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7464345PMC
August 2020

Clinical spectrum and genotype-phenotype correlations in PRRT2 Italian patients.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2020 Sep 23;28:193-197. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy; Center for Synaptic Neuroscience and Technology, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genoa, Italy.

Prrt2 is a neuron-specific protein expressed at axonal and pre-synaptic domains, involved in synaptic neurotransmitter release and modulation of intrinsic excitability. Mutations in PRRT2 cause a spectrum of autosomal dominant paroxysmal neurological disorders including epilepsy, movement disorders, and hemiplegic migraine and show incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity. We assessed the diagnostic rate of PRRT2 in a cohort of Italian patients with epilepsy and/or paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia (PKD) and evaluated genotype-phenotype correlations. Clinical data were collected using a structured questionnaire. Twenty-seven out of 55 (49.1%) probands carried PRRT2 heterozygous pathogenic variants, including six previously known genotypes and one novel missense mutation. A family history of epilepsy starting in the first year of life and/or PKD was strongly suggestive of a PRRT2 pathogenic variant. Epilepsy patients harbouring PRRT2 pathogenic variants showed earlier seizure onset and more frequent clusters compared with PRRT2-negative individuals with epilepsy. Moreover, we did also identify individuals with PRRT2 pathogenic variants with atypical age at onset, i.e. childhood-onset epilepsy and infantile-onset PKD. However, the lack of a clear correlation between specific PRRT2 genotypes and clinical manifestations and the high incidence of asymptomatic carriers suggest the involvement of additional factors in modulating expressivity of PRRT2-related disorders. Finally, our study supports the pleiotropic and multifaceted physiological role of PRRT2 gene which is emerging from experimental neuroscience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2020.06.005DOI Listing
September 2020

Targeted re-sequencing for early diagnosis of genetic causes of childhood epilepsy: the Italian experience from the 'beyond epilepsy' project.

Ital J Pediatr 2020 Jul 6;46(1):92. Epub 2020 Jul 6.

Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit, IRCCS 'G. Gaslini' Institute, 16147, Genoa, Italy.

Background: Childhood epilepsies are a heterogeneous group of conditions differing in diagnostic criteria, management, and outcome. Late-infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis type 2 (CLN2) is a neurodegenerative condition caused by biallelic TPP1 variants. This disorder presents with subtle and relatively non-specific symptoms, mimicking those observed in more common paediatric epilepsies and followed by rapid psychomotor deterioration and drug-resistant epilepsy. A prompt diagnosis is essential to adopt appropriate treatment and disease management strategies.

Methods: This is a prospective, multicentre study on the efficiency of targeted re-sequencing in the early identification of the genetic causes of childhood epilepsy, with particular regard to CLN2. After phenotypic characterization, a 283-gene Next Generation Sequencing panel was performed in 21 Italian children with neurodevelopmental abnormalities, aged between 24 and 60 months, experiencing first unprovoked seizure after 2 years of age.

Results: The average age at enrolment was 39.9 months, with a mean age at seizure onset of 30.9 months and a mean time interval between seizure onset and targeted resequencing of 9 months. Genetic confirmation was achieved in 4 out of 21 patients, with a diagnostic yield of 19%. In one case, the homozygous splice acceptor variant c.509-1G > C in TPP1 was identified, leading to a CLN2 diagnosis. Three pathogenic variants in MECP2 were also detected in three patients, including the frameshift variant c.1157_1186delinsA (p.Leu386Hisfs*9) in a girl with negative single gene sequencing. Variants of unknown significance (VUS) were found in 11 out of 21 (52.4%) individuals, whereas no clinically significant variants were observed in the remaining 6 subjects.

Conclusions: Our findings support the efficacy of target re-sequencing in the identification of the genetic causes of childhood epilepsy and suggest that this technique might prove successful in the early detection of CLN2 as well as other neurodevelopmental conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13052-020-00860-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7339579PMC
July 2020

A further contribution to the delineation of epileptic phenotype in PACS2-related syndrome.

Seizure 2020 07 11;79:53-55. Epub 2020 May 11.

Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit, Departments of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, "G. Gaslini" Institute, University of Genoa, Genova, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2020.05.001DOI Listing
July 2020

Migraine in children under 6 years of age: A long-term follow-up study.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2020 Jul 17;27:67-71. Epub 2020 Apr 17.

Child Neuropsychiatry Dept., P.O. Di Cristina, ARNAS Civico Palermo, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Early starting of migraine seems predictive for less favorable outcome in later ages, however follow-up investigations are very few and all with short-term prospective period. We report here the longest follow-up study in a population of children presenting with migraine under the age of 6.

Methods: We followed-up 74 children under 6 years of age, referred for headache to our department between 1997 and 2003. The study was carried out between October 2016 and March 2018. Headache diagnoses were made according to the IHS criteria.

Results: 23/74 patients, 31% of the original cohort, were found at follow-up in a period ranging between 15 to 21 years after the first visit. Seven of them were headache free. The remaining 16 patients had migraine. In the migraine group, the localization of pain changed in 75% of the subjects, 11/16 (68.7%) had allodynia and 9/16 (56.25%) had cranial autonomic symptoms.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that the onset of migraine at very young age represents unfavorable prognostic factor for persistence of the disease at later ages. Some clinical features may change during clinical course, and the active persistence of the disorder may lead to an increase in allodynia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2020.04.005DOI Listing
July 2020

Emerging treatments for progressive myoclonus epilepsies.

Expert Rev Neurother 2020 04 17;20(4):341-350. Epub 2020 Mar 17.

Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit, IRCCS 'G.Gaslini' Institute, Genoa, Italy.

: Progressive myoclonus epilepsies (PMEs) are a group of neurodegenerative diseases, invariably leading to severe disability or fatal outcome in a few years or decades. Nowadays, PMEs treatment remains challenging with a significant burden of disability for patients. Pharmacotherapy is primarily used to treat seizures, which impact patients' quality of life. However, new approaches have emerged in the last few years, which try to curb the neurological deterioration of PMEs through a better knowledge of the pathogenetic process. This is a review on the newest therapeutic options for the treatment of PMEs.: Experimental and clinical results on novel therapeutic approaches for the different forms of PME are reviewed and discussed. Special attention is primarily focused on the efficacy and tolerability outcomes, trying to infer the role novel approaches may have in the future.: The large heterogeneity of disease-causing mechanisms prevents researchers from identifying a single approach to treat PMEs. Understanding of pathophysiologic processes is leading the way to targeted therapies, which, through enzyme replacement or underlying gene defect correction have already proved to potentially strike on neurodegeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14737175.2020.1741350DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7288349PMC
April 2020

Adjunctive Rufinamide in Children with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome: A Literature Review.

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 2020 5;16:369-379. Epub 2020 Feb 5.

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

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) is a severe, childhood-onset, developmental epileptic encephalopathy, with different etiologies and co-morbidities. Seizure treatment in LGS represents a major challenge; new antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are developed to especially address seizures resulting in high morbidity and mortality, such as drop seizures. Rufinamide (RFN) is one of the latest AEDs licensed for patients with LGS. Its mechanism of action involves sodium channels in a way that is unrelated to other AEDs. Here we discuss the use of adjunctive RFN in children and adolescents with LGS and its efficacy and safety profile, based on a systematic literature review. RFN shows a very favorable profile in terms of adverse events and drug-interactions in children. It is particularly effective on tonic-atonic seizures and spasms, impacting on the quality of life of the patients. Further studies are needed to clarify the interaction profile with the newest AEDs for LGS and to assess correlations between the etiology of LGS and drug response to individualize treatment and maximize efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S185774DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7008198PMC
February 2020

Abnormal circadian rhythm in patients with GRIN1-related developmental epileptic encephalopathy.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2019 Jul 24;23(4):657-661. Epub 2019 May 24.

Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy.

GRIN1 encodes the obligate subunit (GluN1) of glutamate N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAr). Pathogenic variants in GRIN1 are a well-known cause of infantile encephalopathy characterized by profound developmental delay (DD), variable epileptic phenotypes, and distinctive behavioral abnormalities. Recently, GRIN1 has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of polymicrogyria (PMG). We investigated two patients presenting with severe intellectual disability (ID), epilepsy, stereotyped movements, and abnormal ocular movements. They showed distinctive circadian rhythm alterations and sleep-wake patterns anomalies characterized by recurrent cyclic crying or laughing spells. Genetic analysis led to the identification of two distinct de novo variants in GRIN1 affecting the same amino acid residue of an important functional protein domain. Recent advances in circadian rhythm and sleep regulation suggest that abnormal GluN1 function might play a relevant pathogenetic role for the peculiar behavioral abnormalities observed in GRIN1 patients. Our cases highlight the relevance of circadian rhythm abnormalities in epileptic children as a clue toward GRIN1 encephalopathy and expand the complex phenotypic spectrum of this severe genetic disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2019.05.011DOI Listing
July 2019

Migraine and cluster headache - the common link.

J Headache Pain 2018 Sep 21;19(1):89. Epub 2018 Sep 21.

Department of Neurogeriatric Medicine, Headache Medical Center Linz, Ordensklinikum Linz Barmherzige Schwestern, Seilerstaette 4, 4010, Linz, Austria.

Although clinically distinguishable, migraine and cluster headache share prominent features such as unilateral pain, common pharmacological triggers such glyceryl trinitrate, histamine, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and response to triptans and neuromodulation. Recent data also suggest efficacy of anti CGRP monoclonal antibodies in both migraine and cluster headache. While exact mechanisms behind both disorders remain to be fully understood, the trigeminovascular system represents one possible common pathophysiological pathway and network of both disorders. Here, we review past and current literature shedding light on similarities and differences in phenotype, heritability, pathophysiology, imaging findings and treatment options of migraine and cluster headache. A continued focus on their shared pathophysiological pathways may be important in paving future treatment avenues that could benefit both migraine and cluster headache patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s10194-018-0909-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6755613PMC
September 2018

Triptans and CGRP blockade - impact on the cranial vasculature.

J Headache Pain 2017 Oct 10;18(1):103. Epub 2017 Oct 10.

Danish Headache Center and Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet Glostrup, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The trigeminovascular system plays a key role in the pathophysiology of migraine. The activation of the trigeminovascular system causes release of various neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, including serotonin and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which modulate pain transmission and vascular tone. Thirty years after discovery of agonists for serotonin 5-HT and 5-HT receptors (triptans) and less than fifteen after the proof of concept of the gepant class of CGRP receptor antagonists, we are still a long way from understanding their precise site and mode of action in migraine. The effect on cranial vasculature is relevant, because all specific anti-migraine drugs and migraine pharmacological triggers may act in perivascular space. This review reports the effects of triptans and CGRP blocking molecules on cranial vasculature in humans, focusing on their specific relevance to migraine treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s10194-017-0811-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5635141PMC
October 2017

Catch-and-Release of Target Cells Using Aptamer-Conjugated Electroactive Zwitterionic Oligopeptide SAM.

Sci Rep 2017 03 7;7:43375. Epub 2017 Mar 7.

Graduate School of Engineering, Yokohama National University, Japan.

Nucleic acid aptamers possess attractive features such as specific molecular recognition, high-affinity binding, and rapid acquisition and replication, which could be feasible components for separating specific cells from other cell types. This study demonstrates that aptamers conjugated to an oligopeptide self-assembled monolayer (SAM) can be used to selectively trap human hepatic cancer cells from cell mixtures containing normal human hepatocytes or human fibroblasts. Molecular dynamics calculations have been performed to understand how the configurations of the aptamers are related to the experimental results of selective cell capture. We further demonstrate that the captured hepatic cancer cells can be detached and collected along with electrochemical desorption of the oligopeptide SAM, and by repeating these catch-and-release processes, target cells can be enriched. This combination of capture with aptamers and detachment with electrochemical reactions is a promising tool in various research fields ranging from basic cancer research to tissue engineering applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep43375DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5339905PMC
March 2017
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