Publications by authors named "Isabel Illa"

123 Publications

Comment to "Autoantibodies to cortactin and agrin in sera of patients with myasthenia gravis".

J Neuroimmunol 2021 Sep 13;358:577659. Epub 2021 Jul 13.

Neuromuscular Diseases Lab, Institut de Recerca Hospital de la Sta Creu i St Pau (IIB-Sant Pau), Barcelona, Spain; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneuroim.2021.577659DOI Listing
September 2021

Late onset Sandhoff disease presenting with lower motor neuron disease and stuttering.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 May 27. Epub 2021 May 27.

Neuromuscular Diseases Unit, Department of Neurology, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; The John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre, Translational and Clinical Research Institute Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red en Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER), Spain. Electronic address:

Defects in the HEXB gene which encodes the β-subunit of β-hexosaminidase A and B enzymes, cause a GM2 gangliosidosis, also known as Sandhoff disease, which is a rare lysosomal storage disorder. The most common form of the disease lead to quickly progressing mental and motor decline in infancy; however there are other less severe forms with later onset that can also involve lower motor neurons. The diagnosis of this disease is based on low serum β-hexosaminidases A and B levels and confirmed using genetic test. We report two siblings with compound heterozygous HEXB mutations whose phenotype was extremely mild consisting in stuttering in both cases associated to mild proximal weakness in one of the cases, broadening the clinical spectrum of late onset Sandhoff disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2021.04.011DOI Listing
May 2021

Platelet Derived Growth Factor-AA Correlates With Muscle Function Tests and Quantitative Muscle Magnetic Resonance in Dystrophinopathies.

Front Neurol 2021 11;12:659922. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Neuromuscular Disorders Unit, Neurology Department, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Departament de Medicina. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Duchenne (DMD) and Becker (BMD) muscular dystrophy are X-linked muscular disorders produced by mutations in the DMD gene which encodes the protein dystrophin. Both diseases are characterized by progressive involvement of skeletal, cardiac, and respiratory muscles. As new treatment strategies become available, reliable biomarkers and outcome measures that can monitor disease progression are needed for clinical trials. We collected clinical and functional data and blood samples from 19 DMD patients, 13 BMD patients, and 66 healthy controls (8 pediatric and 58 adult controls), and blood samples from 15 patients with dysferlinopathy (DYSF) and studied the serum concentration of 4 growth factors involved in the process of muscle fibrosis. We correlated the serum concentration of these growth factors with several muscle function tests, spirometry results and fat fraction identified by quantitative Dixon muscle MRI. We found significant differences in the serum concentration of Platelet Derived Growth Factor-AA (PDGF-AA) between DMD patients and pediatric controls, in Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF) between BMD patients and adult controls, and in and Transforming Growth Factor- β1 (TGF-β1) between BMD and DYSF patients. PDGF-AA showed a good correlation with several muscle function tests for both DMD and BMD patients and with thigh fat fraction in BMD patients. Moreover, PDGF-AA levels were increased in muscle biopsies of patients with DMD and BMD as was demonstrated by immunohistochemistry and Real-Time PCR studies. Our study suggests that PDGF-AA should be further investigated in a larger cohort of DMD and BMD patients because it might be a good biomarker candidate to monitor the progression of these diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2021.659922DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8226260PMC
June 2021

Antibodies to the Caspr1/contactin-1 complex in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy.

Brain 2021 May;144(4):1183-1196

Neuromuscular Diseases Unit, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.

Previous studies have described the clinical, serological and pathological features of patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) and antibodies directed against the paranodal proteins neurofascin-155, contactin-1 (CNTN1), contactin-associated protein-1 (Caspr1), or nodal forms of neurofascin. Such antibodies are useful for diagnosis and potentially treatment selection. However, antibodies targeting Caspr1 only or the Caspr1/CNTN1 complex have been reported in few patients with CIDP. Moreover, it is unclear if these patients belong to the same pathophysiological subgroup. Using cell-based assays in routine clinical testing, we identified sera from patients with CIDP showing strong membrane reactivity when both CNTN1 and Caspr1 were co-transfected (but not when CNTN1 was transfected alone). Fifteen patients (10 male; aged between 40 and 75) with antibodies targeting Caspr1/CNTN1 co-transfected cells were enrolled for characterization. The prevalence of anti-Caspr1/CNTN1 antibodies was 1.9% (1/52) in the Sant Pau CIDP cohort, and 4.3% (1/23) in a German cohort of acute-onset CIDP. All patients fulfilled European Federation of Neurological Societies/Peripheral Nerve Society (EFNS/PNS) definite diagnostic criteria for CIDP. Seven (47%) were initially diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome due to an acute-subacute onset. Six (40%) patients had cranial nerve involvement, eight (53%) reported neuropathic pain and 12 (80%) ataxia. Axonal involvement and acute denervation were frequent in electrophysiological studies. Complete response to intravenous immunoglobulin was not observed, while most (90%) responded well to rituximab. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and teased nerve fibre immunohistochemistry confirmed reactivity against the paranodal Caspr1/CNTN1 complex. Weaker reactivity against Caspr1 transfected alone was also detected in 10/15 (67%). Sera from 13 of these patients were available for testing by ELISA. All 13 samples reacted against Caspr1 by ELISA and this reactivity was enhanced when CNTN1 was added to the Caspr1 ELISA. IgG subclasses were also investigated by ELISA. IgG4 was the predominant subclass in 10 patients, while IgG3 was predominant in other three patients. In conclusion, patients with antibodies to the Caspr1/CNTN1 complex display similar serological and clinical features and constitute a single subgroup within the CIDP syndrome. These antibodies likely target Caspr1 primarily and are detected with Caspr1-only ELISA, but reactivity is optimal when CNTN1 is added to Caspr1 in cell-based assays and ELISA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab014DOI Listing
May 2021

Clinical characteristics and outcomes of thymoma-associated myasthenia gravis.

Eur J Neurol 2021 Jun 30;28(6):2083-2091. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Neuromuscular Diseases Unit, Department of Neurology, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain.

Background And Purpose: Prognosis of myasthenia gravis (MG) in patients with thymoma is not well established. Moreover, it is not clear whether thymoma recurrence or unresectable lesions entail a worse prognosis of MG.

Methods: This multicenter study was based on data from a Spanish neurologist-driven MG registry. All patients were aged >18 years at onset and had anti-acetylcholine receptor antibodies. We compared the clinical data of thymomatous and nonthymomatous patients. Prognosis of patients with recurrent or nonresectable thymomas was assessed.

Results: We included 964 patients from 15 hospitals; 148 (15.4%) had thymoma-associated MG. Median follow-up time was 4.6 years. At onset, thymoma-associated MG patients were younger (52.0 vs. 60.4 years, p < 0.001), had more generalized symptoms (odds ratio [OR]: 3.02, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.95-4.68, p < 0.001) and more severe clinical forms according to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA) scale (OR: 1.6, 95% CI: 1.15-2.21, p = 0.005). Disease severity based on MGFA postintervention status (MGFA-PIS) was higher in thymomatous patients at 1 year, 5 years, and the end of follow-up. Treatment refractoriness and mortality were also higher (OR: 2.28, 95% CI: 1.43-3.63, p = 0.001; hazard ratio: 2.46, 95% CI: 1.47-4.14, p = 0.001). Myasthenic symptoms worsened in 13 of 27 patients with recurrences, but differences in long-term severity were not significant. Fifteen thymomatous patients had nonresectable thymomas with worse MGFA-PIS and higher mortality at the end of follow-up.

Conclusions: Thymoma-associated MG patients had more severe myasthenic symptoms and worse prognosis. Thymoma recurrence was frequently associated with transient worsening of MG, but long-term prognosis did not differ from nonrecurrent thymoma. Patients with nonresectable thymoma tended to present severe forms of MG.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ene.14820DOI Listing
June 2021

Proteasome inhibitors reduce thrombospondin-1 release in human dysferlin-deficient myotubes.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2020 Nov 27;21(1):784. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Neuromuscular Diseases group. Institut de Recerca Hospital de Sant Pau, Biomedical Research Institute Sant Pau (IIB Sant Pau), Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, c/Sant Antoni Mª Claret 167, 08025, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Dysferlinopathies are a group of muscle disorders causing muscle weakness and absence or low levels of dysferlin, a type-II transmembrane protein and the causative gene of these dystrophies. Dysferlin is implicated in vesicle fusion, trafficking, and membrane repair. Muscle biopsy of patients with dysferlinopathy is characterized by the presence of inflammatory infiltrates. Studies in the muscle of both human and mouse models of dysferlinopathy suggest dysferlin deficient muscle plays a role in this inflammation by releasing thrombospondin-1. It has also been reported that vitamin D3 treatment enhances dysferlin expression. The ubiquitin-proteasome system recognizes and removes proteins that fail to fold or assemble properly and previous studies suggest that its inhibition could have a therapeutic effect in muscle dystrophies. Here we assessed whether inhibition of the ubiquitin proteasome system prevented degradation of dysferlin in immortalized myoblasts from a patients with two missense mutations in exon 44.

Methods: To assess proteasome inhibition we treated dysferlin deficient myotubes with EB1089, a vitamin D3 analog, oprozomib and ixazomib. Western blot was performed to analyze the effect of these treatments on the recovery of dysferlin and myogenin expression. TSP-1 was quantified using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to analyze the effect of these drugs on its release. A membrane repair assay was designed to assess the ability of treated myotubes to recover after membrane injury and fusion index was also measured with the different treatments. Data were analyzed using a one-way ANOVA test followed by Tukey post hoc test and analysis of variance. A p ≤ 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: Treatment with proteasome inhibitors and EB1089 resulted in a trend towards an increase in dysferlin and myogenin expression. Furthermore, EB1089 and proteasome inhibitors reduced the release of TSP-1 in myotubes. However, no effect was observed on the repair of muscle membrane after injury.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that the ubiquitin-proteasome system might not be the main mechanism of mutant dysferlin degradation. However, its inhibition could help to improve muscle inflammation by reducing TSP-1 release.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12891-020-03756-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7697384PMC
November 2020

Serum neurofilament light chain predicts long-term prognosis in Guillain-Barré syndrome patients.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2020 Nov 5. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

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

Objective: To study baseline serum neurofilament light chain (sNfL) levels as a prognostic biomarker in Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).

Methods: We measured NfL in serum (98 samples) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) (24 samples) of patients with GBS prospectively included in the International GBS Outcome Study (IGOS) in Spain using single-molecule array (SiMoA) and compared them with 53 healthy controls (HCs). We performed multivariable regression to analyse the association between sNfL levels and functional outcome at 1 year.

Results: Patients with GBS had higher NfL levels than HC in serum (55.49 pg/mL vs 9.83 pg/mL, p<0.0001) and CSF (1308.5 pg/mL vs 440.24 pg/mL, p=0.034). Patients with preceding diarrhoea had higher sNfL than patients with respiratory symptoms or no preceding infection (134.90 pg/mL vs 47.86 pg/mL vs 38.02 pg/mL, p=0.016). sNfL levels correlated with Guillain-Barré Syndrome Disability Score and Inflammatory Rasch-built Overall Disability Scale (I-RODS) at every timepoint. Patients with pure motor variant and Miller Fisher syndrome showed higher sNfL levels than patients with sensorimotor GBS (162.18 pg/mL vs 95.50 pg/mL vs 38.02 pg/mL, p=0.025). Patients with acute motor axonal neuropathy cute motor axonal neuropathy had higher sNfL levels than other variants (190.55 pg/mL vs 46.79 pg/mL, p=0.013). sNfL returned to normal levels at 1 year. High baseline sNfL levels were associated with inability to run (OR=1.65, 95% CI 1.14 to 2.40, p=0.009) and lower I-RODS (β -2.60, 95% CI -4.66 to -0.54, p=0.014) at 1 year. Cut-off points predicting clinically relevant outcomes at 1 year with high specificity were calculated: inability to walk independently (>319 pg/mL), inability to run (>248 pg/mL) and ability to run (<34 pg/mL).

Conclusion: Baseline sNfL levels are increased in patients with GBS, are associated with disease severity and axonal variants and have an independent prognostic value in patients with GBS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2020-323899DOI Listing
November 2020

International Consensus Guidance for Management of Myasthenia Gravis: 2020 Update.

Neurology 2021 01 3;96(3):114-122. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

From the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School (P.N.), Boston, MA; Department of Neurology (D.B.S., J.M.), Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; Department of Neurology (G.W.), Univ. at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY; Department of Neurology (M.B.), University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine. Miami, FL; Gabriel Cea (G.C.), Departamento de Ciencias Neurologicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile; Dipartimento di Neuroscienze (A.E.), Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italy; Department of Clinical Medicine (N.E.G.), University of Bergen, Norway; Isabel Illa (I.I.), Department of Neurology, Hospital Santa Creu i Sant Pau. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, ERN EURO-NMD and CIBERER U762, Spain; Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology (N.L.K.), Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL; Neurology (A.M.), University of Tübingen Medical Centre, Tübingen, Germany; Department of Neurology (H.M.), International University of Health and Welfare, Narita, Japan; Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences (M.N.), Western University, London, ON, Canada; Department of Clinical Neurology (J.P.), John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals Trust, Oxford, UK; Department of Neurology (D.R.), University of California, Davis, Davis, CA; and Department of Neurology (J.V.), Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands.

Objective: To update the 2016 formal consensus-based guidance for the management of myasthenia gravis (MG) based on the latest evidence in the literature.

Methods: In October 2013, the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America appointed a Task Force to develop treatment guidance for MG, and a panel of 15 international experts was convened. The RAND/UCLA appropriateness method was used to develop consensus recommendations pertaining to 7 treatment topics. In February 2019, the international panel was reconvened with the addition of one member to represent South America. All previous recommendations were reviewed for currency, and new consensus recommendations were developed on topics that required inclusion or updates based on the recent literature. Up to 3 rounds of anonymous e-mail votes were used to reach consensus, with modifications to recommendations between rounds based on the panel input. A simple majority vote (80% of panel members voting "yes") was used to approve minor changes in grammar and syntax to improve clarity.

Results: The previous recommendations for thymectomy were updated. New recommendations were developed for the use of rituximab, eculizumab, and methotrexate as well as for the following topics: early immunosuppression in ocular MG and MG associated with immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment.

Conclusion: This updated formal consensus guidance of international MG experts, based on new evidence, provides recommendations to clinicians caring for patients with MG worldwide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011124DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884987PMC
January 2021

New genotype-phenotype correlations in a large European cohort of patients with sarcoglycanopathy.

Brain 2020 09;143(9):2696-2708

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

Sarcoglycanopathies comprise 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. In 2016, several clinicians involved in the diagnosis, management and care of patients with LGMDR3-6 created a European Sarcoglycanopathy Consortium. The aim of the present study was to determine the clinical and genetic spectrum of a large cohort of patients with sarcoglycanopathy in Europe. This was an observational retrospective study. A total of 33 neuromuscular centres from 13 different European countries collected data of the genetically confirmed patients with sarcoglycanopathy followed-up at their centres. Demographic, genetic and clinical data were collected for this study. Data from 439 patients from 13 different countries were collected. Forty-three patients were not included in the analysis because of insufficient clinical information available. A total of 159 patients had a confirmed diagnosis of LGMDR3, 73 of LGMDR4, 157 of LGMDR5 and seven of LGMDR6. Patients with LGMDR3 had a later onset and slower progression of the disease. Cardiac involvement was most frequent in LGMDR4. Sixty per cent of LGMDR3 patients carried one of the following mutations, either in a homozygous or heterozygous state: c.229C>T, c.739G>A or c.850C>T. Similarly, the most common mutations in LMGDR5 patients were c.525delT or c.848G>A. In LGMDR4 patients the most frequent mutation was c.341C>T. We identified onset of symptoms before 10 years of age and residual protein expression lower than 30% as independent risk factors for losing ambulation before 18 years of age, in LGMDR3, LGMDR4 and LGMDR5 patients. This study reports clinical, genetic and protein data of a large European cohort of patients with sarcoglycanopathy. Improving our knowledge about these extremely rare autosomal recessive forms of LGMD was helped by a collaborative effort of neuromuscular centres across Europe. Our study provides important data on the genotype-phenotype correlation that is relevant for the design of natural history studies and upcoming interventional trials in sarcoglycanopathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa228DOI Listing
September 2020

Genotype-phenotype correlations in recessive titinopathies.

Genet Med 2020 12 11;22(12):2029-2040. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

Department of Neurosciences, Nerve-Muscle Unit, Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), 1011, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Purpose: High throughput sequencing analysis has facilitated the rapid analysis of the entire titin (TTN) coding sequence. This has resulted in the identification of a growing number of recessive titinopathy patients. The aim of this study was to (1) characterize the causative genetic variants and clinical features of the largest cohort of recessive titinopathy patients reported to date and (2) to evaluate genotype-phenotype correlations in this cohort.

Methods: We analyzed clinical and genetic data in a cohort of patients with biallelic pathogenic or likely pathogenic TTN variants. The cohort included both previously reported cases (100 patients from 81 unrelated families) and unreported cases (23 patients from 20 unrelated families).

Results: Overall, 132 causative variants were identified in cohort members. More than half of the cases had hypotonia at birth or muscle weakness and a delayed motor development within the first 12 months of life (congenital myopathy) with causative variants located along the entire gene. The remaining patients had a distal or proximal phenotype and a childhood or later (noncongenital) onset. All noncongenital cases had at least one pathogenic variant in one of the final three TTN exons (362-364).

Conclusion: Our findings suggest a novel association between the location of nonsense variants and the clinical severity of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-0914-2DOI Listing
December 2020

Downregulation of miR-335-5P in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Can Contribute to Neuronal Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Apoptosis.

Sci Rep 2020 03 9;10(1):4308. Epub 2020 Mar 9.

Neuromuscular Diseases Laboratory - Biomedical Research Institute SantPau, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease for which the pathophysiological mechanisms of motor neuron loss are not precisely clarified. Environmental and epigenetic mechanisms such as microRNAs (miRNAs) could have a role in disease progression. We studied the expression pattern of miRNAs in ALS serum from 60 patients and 29 healthy controls. We also analyzed how deregulated miRNAs found in serum affected cellular pathways such as apoptosis, autophagy and mitochondrial physiology in SH-SY5Y cells. We found that miR-335-5p was downregulated in ALS serum. SH-SY5Y cells were transfected with a specific inhibitor of miR-335-5p and showed abnormal mitochondrial morphology, with an increment of reactive species of oxygen and superoxide dismutase activity. Pro-apoptotic caspases-3 and 7 also showed an increased activity in transfected cells. The downregulation of miR-335-5p, which has an effect on mitophagy, autophagy and apoptosis in SH-SY5Y neuronal cells could have a role in the motor neuron loss observed in ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-61246-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7062873PMC
March 2020

Thrombospondin-1 mediates muscle damage in brachio-cervical inflammatory myopathy and systemic sclerosis.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2020 05 6;7(3). Epub 2020 Mar 6.

From the Neuromuscular Diseases Unit (X.S.-C., J.A.-P., A.C.-R., E.F.-S., A.A.-J., R.R.-G., J.T., L.Q., N.d.L., E.C.-V., I.I., E.G., J.D.-M.), Neurology Department, Hospital de la Santa CreuiSant Pau and Biomedical Research Institute Sant Pau (IIB Sant Pau), Barcelona; Centro de Investigaciones Biomédicas en Red en Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER) (X.S.-C., R.R.-G., L.Q., N.d.L., E.C.-V., I.I., E.G., J.D.-M.), Madrid; John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Center (J.D.-M), University of Newcastle, UK; Rheumatology Unit (I.C., A.M.-n.-M., H.C.), Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau; Laboratory of Experimental Immunology (C.Z.), Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Biomedical Research Institute Sant Pau (IIB Sant Pau); Servei Immunologia (L.M.-M.), Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Biomedical Research Institute Sant Pau (IIB Sant Pau); and Department of Respiratory Medicine (D.C.), Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: To describe the clinical, serologic and histologic features of a cohort of patients with brachio-cervical inflammatory myopathy (BCIM) associated with systemic sclerosis (SSc) and unravel disease-specific pathophysiologic mechanisms occurring in these patients.

Methods: We reviewed clinical, immunologic, muscle MRI, nailfold videocapillaroscopy, muscle biopsy, and response to treatment data from 8 patients with BCIM-SSc. We compared cytokine profiles between patients with BCIM-SSc and SSc without muscle involvement and controls. We analyzed the effect of the deregulated cytokines in vitro (fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and muscle cells) and in vivo.

Results: All patients with BCIM-SSc presented with muscle weakness involving cervical and proximal muscles of the upper limbs plus Raynaud syndrome, telangiectasia and/or sclerodactilia, hypotonia of the esophagus, and interstitial lung disease. Immunosuppressive treatment stopped the progression of the disease. Muscle biopsy showed pathologic changes including the presence of necrotic fibers, fibrosis, and reduced capillary number and size. Cytokines involved in inflammation, angiogenesis, and fibrosis were deregulated. Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), which participates in all these 3 processes, was upregulated in patients with BCIM-SSc. In vitro, TSP-1 and serum of patients with BCIM-SSc promoted proliferation and upregulation of collagen, fibronectin, and transforming growth factor beta in fibroblasts. TSP-1 disrupted vascular network, decreased muscle differentiation, and promoted hypotrophic myotubes. In vivo, TSP-1 increased fibrotic tissue and profibrotic macrophage infiltration in the muscle.

Conclusions: Patients with SSc may present with a clinically and pathologically distinct myopathy. A prompt and correct diagnosis has important implications for treatment. Finally, TSP-1 may participate in the pathologic changes observed in muscle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000694DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7136050PMC
May 2020

Follow-up of late-onset Pompe disease patients with muscle magnetic resonance imaging reveals increase in fat replacement in skeletal muscles.

J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle 2020 08 4;11(4):1032-1046. Epub 2020 Mar 4.

Neuromuscular Disorders Unit, Neurology Department, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Late-onset Pompe disease (LOPD) is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive degeneration of the skeletal muscles produced by a deficiency of the enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase. Enzymatic replacement therapy with recombinant human alpha-glucosidase seems to reduce the progression of the disease; although at the moment, it is not completely clear to what extent. Quantitative muscle magnetic resonance imaging (qMRI) is a good biomarker for the follow-up of fat replacement in neuromuscular disorders. The aim of this study was to describe the changes observed in fat replacement in skeletal muscles using qMRI in a cohort of LOPD patients followed prospectively.

Methods: A total of 36 LOPD patients were seen once every year for 4 years. qMRI, several muscle function tests, spirometry, activities of daily living scales, and quality-of-life scales were performed on each visit. Muscle MRI consisted of two-point Dixon studies of the trunk and thigh muscles. Computer analysis of the images provided the percentage of muscle degenerated and replaced by fat in every muscle (known as fat fraction). Longitudinal analysis of the measures was performed using linear mixed models applying the Greenhouse-Geisser test.

Results: We detected a statistically significant and continuous increase in mean thigh fat fraction both in treated (+5.8% in 3 years) and in pre-symptomatic patients (+2.6% in 3years) (Greenhouse-Geisser p < 0.05). As an average, fat fraction increased by 1.9% per year in treated patients, compared with 0.8% in pre-symptomatic patients. Fat fraction significantly increased in every muscle of the thighs. We observed a significant correlation between changes observed in fat fraction in qMRI and changes observed in the results of the muscle function tests performed. Moreover, we identified that muscle performance and mean thigh fat fraction at baseline visit were independent parameters influencing fat fraction progression over 4 years (analysis of covariance, p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Our study identifies that skeletal muscle fat fraction continues to increase in patients with LOPD despite the treatment with enzymatic replacement therapy. These results suggest that the process of muscle degeneration is not stopped by the treatment and could impact muscle function over the years. Hereby, we show that fat fraction along with muscle function tests can be considered a good outcome measures for clinical trials in LOPD patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcsm.12555DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7432562PMC
August 2020

Clinical and therapeutic features of myasthenia gravis in adults based on age at onset.

Neurology 2020 03 18;94(11):e1171-e1180. Epub 2020 Feb 18.

From the Neuromuscular Diseases Unit, Department of Neurology (E.C.-V., R.Á.-V., R.R.-G., J.D.-M., L.Q., E.G., I.I.), Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau; Department of Medicine (E.C.-V., R.Á.-V., I.I.), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER) (E.C.-V., R.Á.-V., S.S., C.C., T.S., R.R.-G., J.D.-M., L.Q., E.G., I.I.) and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED) (C.P., A.L.d.M., A.L.P.-N.), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid; Neurology Department (C.P., B.V.), Neuromuscular Disorders Unit, Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla, Hospital U. Virgen del Rocío, CSIC, Universidad de Sevilla; Unitat de Neuromuscular (C.C., M.A.A.), Neurology Department, Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge-IDIBELL, l'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona; Neuromuscular Diseases Unit (A.-G.S., L.G.), Department of Neurology, Institute of Neurosciences, Hospital Universitario Clínico San Carlos, Madrid; Neurology Department (J.P., T.G.-S.), Hospital Clínico, Santiago de Compostela; Neuromuscular Diseases Unit (A.R.-F., A.M.-P.), Department of Neurology, Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol; Department of Medicine (A.R.-F.), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Badalona; Neuromuscular Unit (T.S., A.L.-M.), Neurology Department, Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe; Department of Medicine (T.S.), Universitat de València; Neurology Department (A.L.d.M., A.F.-T.), Donostia University Hospital; Neurosciences Area (A.L.d.M.), Biodonostia Research Institute, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastián; Neurology Department (M.T.G.), Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía, Córdoba; Department of Neurology (I.J.), Complejo Hospitalario de Navarra, Pamplona; Neuromuscular Diseases Unit (G.G.-G.), Department of Neurology, Hospital Universitario Infanta Sofía, Universidad Europea de Madrid, San Sebastián de los Reyes, Madrid; Complejo asistencial hospitalario de Burgos (M.A.M.), Burgos; Hospital Universitario de Gran Canaria Doctor Negrín (M.D.M.), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; Hospital Central de Asturias (G.M.), Oviedo; and Service of Neurology (A.L.P.-N., Á.C.-A.), University Hospital "Marqués de Valdecilla (IDIVAL)," University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain.

Objective: To describe the characteristics of patients with very-late-onset myasthenia gravis (MG).

Methods: This observational cross-sectional multicenter study was based on information in the neurologist-driven Spanish Registry of Neuromuscular Diseases (NMD-ES). All patients were >18 years of age at onset of MG and onset occurred between 2000 and 2016 in all cases. Patients were classified into 3 age subgroups: early-onset MG (age at onset <50 years), late-onset MG (onset ≥50 and <65 years), and very-late-onset MG (onset ≥65 years). Demographic, immunologic, clinical, and therapeutic data were reviewed.

Results: A total of 939 patients from 15 hospitals were included: 288 (30.7%) had early-onset MG, 227 (24.2%) late-onset MG, and 424 (45.2%) very-late-onset MG. The mean follow-up was 9.1 years (SD 4.3). Patients with late onset and very late onset were more frequently men ( < 0.0001). Compared to the early-onset and late-onset groups, in the very-late-onset group, the presence of anti-acetylcholine receptor (anti-AChR) antibodies ( < 0.0001) was higher and fewer patients had thymoma ( < 0.0001). Late-onset MG and very-late-onset MG groups more frequently had ocular MG, both at onset (<0.0001) and at maximal worsening ( = 0.001). Although the very-late-onset group presented more life-threatening events (Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America IVB and V) at onset ( = 0.002), they required fewer drugs ( < 0.0001) and were less frequently drug-refractory ( < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Patients with MG are primarily ≥65 years of age with anti-AChR antibodies and no thymoma. Although patients with very-late-onset MG may present life-threatening events at onset, they achieve a good outcome with fewer immunosuppressants when diagnosed and treated properly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000008903DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7220233PMC
March 2020

Accuracy of a machine learning muscle MRI-based tool for the diagnosis of muscular dystrophies.

Neurology 2020 03 6;94(10):e1094-e1102. Epub 2020 Feb 6.

From the Neuromuscular Disorders Unit, Neurology Department (J.V.-D., J.A.-P., I.I., J.D.-M.), and Radiology Department (C.N.-P., J.L.), Hospital de la Santa Creu I Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain; UOC di Neurologia (G.T.), Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy; Copenhagen Neuromuscular Center, Department of Neurology (J.V.), Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre (V.S., J.D.-M.), University of Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK; Hospital Universitario Donostia (R.F.-T.); and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red en Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER) (I.I., J.D.-M.), Madrid, Spain.

Objective: Genetic diagnosis of muscular dystrophies (MDs) has classically been guided by clinical presentation, muscle biopsy, and muscle MRI data. Muscle MRI suggests diagnosis based on the pattern of muscle fatty replacement. However, patterns overlap between different disorders and knowledge about disease-specific patterns is limited. Our aim was to develop a software-based tool that can recognize muscle MRI patterns and thus aid diagnosis of MDs.

Methods: We collected 976 pelvic and lower limbs T1-weighted muscle MRIs from 10 different MDs. Fatty replacement was quantified using Mercuri score and files containing the numeric data were generated. Random forest supervised machine learning was applied to develop a model useful to identify the correct diagnosis. Two thousand different models were generated and the one with highest accuracy was selected. A new set of 20 MRIs was used to test the accuracy of the model, and the results were compared with diagnoses proposed by 4 specialists in the field.

Results: A total of 976 lower limbs MRIs from 10 different MDs were used. The best model obtained had 95.7% accuracy, with 92.1% sensitivity and 99.4% specificity. When compared with experts on the field, the diagnostic accuracy of the model generated was significantly higher in a new set of 20 MRIs.

Conclusion: Machine learning can help doctors in the diagnosis of muscle dystrophies by analyzing patterns of muscle fatty replacement in muscle MRI. This tool can be helpful in daily clinics and in the interpretation of the results of next-generation sequencing tests.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class II evidence that a muscle MRI-based artificial intelligence tool accurately diagnoses muscular dystrophies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000009068DOI Listing
March 2020

Study of the effect of anti-rhGAA antibodies at low and intermediate titers in late onset Pompe patients treated with ERT.

Mol Genet Metab 2019 Sep - Oct;128(1-2):129-136. Epub 2019 Jul 23.

Hospital Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain.

Late onset Pompe disease (LOPD) is a genetic disorder characterized by slowly progressive skeletal and respiratory muscle weakness. Symptomatic patients are treated with enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with alglucosidase alpha (rhGAA). Although most of ERT treated patients develop antibodies against rhGAA, their influence on clinical progression is not completely known. We studied the impact of anti-rhGAA antibodies on clinical progression of 25 ERT treated patients. We evaluated patients at visit 0 and, after 1 year, at visit 1. We performed several muscle function tests, conventional spirometry and quantitative muscle MRI (qMRI) using 3-point Dixon analysis of thigh muscles at both visits. We also obtained serum samples at both visits and anti-rhGAA antibodies were quantified using ELISA. Antibody titers higher than 1:200 were identified in 18 patients (72%) of our cohort. Seven patients (28%) did not develop antibodies (0 to <1:200), 17 patients (68%) developed low to intermediate titers (1:200 to <1:31,200) and 1 patient (4%) developed high titers (>1:31,200). We analyzed the effect of low and intermediate antibody titers in clinical and radiological progression. There were no differences between the results of muscle function tests, spirometry or fat fraction analyzed using qMRI between patients with and without antibodies groups at baseline. Moreover, antibody titers did not influence muscle function test, spirometry results or qMRI results at year 1 visit. Most of the LOPD patients developed antibodies against ERT that persisted over time at low or intermediate levels. However, antibodies at these low and intermediate titers might not influence clinical response to the drug.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgme.2019.07.013DOI Listing
April 2020

Identification of serum microRNAs as potential biomarkers in Pompe disease.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2019 07 12;6(7):1214-1224. Epub 2019 Jun 12.

Neuromuscular Disorders Unit, Neurology Department, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: To analyze the microRNA profile in serum of patients with Adult Onset Pompe disease (AOPD).

Methods: We analyzed the expression of 185 microRNAs in serum of 15 AOPD patients and five controls using microRNA PCR Panels. The expression levels of microRNAs that were deregulated were further studied in 35 AOPD patients and 10 controls using Real-Time PCR. Additionally, the skeletal muscle expression of microRNAs which showed significant increase levels in serum samples was also studied. Correlations between microRNA serum levels and muscle function test, spirometry, and quantitative muscle MRI were performed (these data correspond to the study NCT01914536 at ClinicalTrials.gov).

Results: We identified 14 microRNAs that showed different expression levels in serum samples of AOPD patients compared to controls. We validated these results in a larger cohort of patients and we found increased levels of three microRNAs, the so called dystromirs: miR-1-3p, miR-133a-3p, and miR-206. These microRNAs are involved in muscle regeneration and the expression of these was increased in patients' muscle biopsies. Significant correlations between microRNA levels and muscle function test were found.

Interpretation: Serum expression levels of dystromirs may represent additional biomarkers for the follow-up of AOPD patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.50800DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6649638PMC
July 2019

Spanish Pompe registry: Baseline characteristics of first 49 patients with adult onset of Pompe disease.

Med Clin (Barc) 2020 02 26;154(3):80-85. Epub 2019 Jun 26.

Unidad de Patología Neuromuscular, Departamento de Neurología, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, España; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red en Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER). Electronic address:

Introduction And Objectives: Pompe disease is a rare autosomal recessive disorder produced by a deficiency of acid maltase. This deficit produces an accumulation of glycogen in tissues. Clinically it is mainly characterized by limb girdle and respiratory muscle weakness. In 2013, we developed the Spanish Pompe Registry. The objective of this article was to analyse the characteristics of the first 49 patients and disclose the existence of this registry within the medical community.

Material And Methods: An observational retrospective study was undertaken. We analysed the 49 patients included in the Spanish Registry of Pompe Disease from May 2013 to October 2018.

Results: Patients were visited at 7 different Spanish hospitals. Twenty-six patients were women and 23 were men. The average age at the time of the analysis was 47.2 years. Ten patients were asymptomatic. The mean age of onset of symptoms was 29, and low limb girdle weakness was the most frequent initial symptom. Of the patients, 49% had respiratory involvement, and 70.8% of them required non-invasive mechanical ventilation. The most common mutation found was IVS1-13T>G in 85.3% of the patients. All symptomatic patients received treatment with ERT.

Conclusions: This registry allows us to know the clinical and genetic characteristics of adult patients with Pompe disease in Spain. Moreover, it can be the basis for future studies of natural history to understand the impact of ERT in the course of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.medcli.2019.03.036DOI Listing
February 2020

Caveats and Pitfalls of SOX1 Autoantibody Testing With a Commercial Line Blot Assay in Paraneoplastic Neurological Investigations.

Front Immunol 2019 12;10:769. Epub 2019 Apr 12.

Neuroimmunology Program, Institut d'Investigacions Biomédiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain.

SOX1 autoantibodies are considered markers of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS) and are usually determined by commercial line blot in many clinical services. Recent studies suggested that SOX1 autoantibodies also occur in patients with neuropathies unrelated to SCLC, questioning the value of SOX1 autoantibodies as paraneoplastic biomarkers. Here, we compared the specificity and sensitivity of a commercial line blot (Euroimmun, Lübeck, Germany) with those of an in house cell-based assay (CBA) with HEK293 cells transfected with SOX1. Overall, 210 patients were included in the study, 139 patients with polyneuropathies without SCLC, and 71 with disorders associated with SOX1 autoantibodies detected with the in-house CBA. Forty one of these 71 cases had been referred to our laboratory for onconeuronal antibody assessment and 30/71 were patients with known PNS and SCLC. None of the patients with polyneuropathies had SOX1 autoantibodies by either line blot or CBA (specificity of the immunoblot: 100%; 95%C.I.: 97.8-100). Among the 71 patients with CBA SOX1 autoantibodies, only 53 were positive by line blot (sensitivity: 74.6%; 95%C.I.: 62.9-84.2). Lung cancer was detected in 37/41 (90%; 34 with SCLC) patients referred for onconeuronal antibody assessment and 34 of them also had a PNS. Our study confirms the association of SOX1 autoantibodies with SCLC and PNS. The line blot test misses 25% of the cases; therefore, to minimize the frequency of false negative results we recommend the use of a confirmatory test, such as CBA, in patients suspected to have a SCLC-related PNS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.00769DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6473043PMC
August 2020

Clinical and laboratory features of anti-MAG neuropathy without monoclonal gammopathy.

Sci Rep 2019 04 16;9(1):6155. Epub 2019 Apr 16.

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

Antibodies against myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG) almost invariably appear in the context of an IgM monoclonal gammopathy associated neuropathy. Very few cases of anti-MAG neuropathy lacking IgM-monoclonal gammopathy have been reported. We investigated the presence of anti-MAG antibodies in 69 patients fulfilling diagnostic criteria for CIDP. Anti-MAG antibodies were tested by ELISA and confirmed by immunohistochemistry. We identified four (5.8%) anti-MAG positive patients without detectable IgM-monoclonal gammopathy. In two of them, IgM-monoclonal gammopathy was detected at 3 and 4-year follow-up coinciding with an increase in anti-MAG antibodies titers. In conclusion, anti-MAG antibody testing should be considered in chronic demyelinating neuropathies, even if IgM-monoclonal gammopathy is not detectable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-42545-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6468000PMC
April 2019

Anti-Neurofascin-155 IgG4 antibodies prevent paranodal complex formation in vivo.

J Clin Invest 2019 03 14;129(6):2222-2236. Epub 2019 Mar 14.

Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, CRN2M-UMR7286, Marseille, France.

Neurofascin-155 (Nfasc155) is an essential glial cell adhesion molecule expressed in paranodal septate-like junctions of peripheral and central myelinated axons. The genetic deletion of Nfasc155 results in the loss of septate-like junctions and in conduction slowing. In humans, IgG4 antibodies against Nfasc155 are implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). These antibodies are associated with an aggressive onset, a refractoriness to intravenous immunoglobulin, and tremor of possible cerebellar origin. Here, we examined the pathogenic effects of patient-derived anti-Nfasc155 IgG4. These antibodies did not inhibit the ability of Nfasc155 to complex with its axonal partners contactin-1/CASPR1 or induce target internalization. Passive transfer experiments revealed that IgG4 antibodies target Nfasc155 on Schwann cell surface, and diminished Nfasc155 protein levels and prevented paranodal complex formation in neonatal animals. In adult animals, chronic intrathecal infusions of antibodies also induced the loss of Nfasc155 and of paranodal specialization and resulted in conduction alterations in motor nerves. These results indicate that anti-Nfasc155 IgG4 perturb conduction in absence of demyelination, validating the existence of paranodopathy. These results also shed light on the mechanisms regulating protein insertion at paranodes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI124694DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6546478PMC
March 2019

Absence of pathogenic mutations in CD59 in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy.

PLoS One 2019 22;14(2):e0212647. Epub 2019 Feb 22.

Neuromuscular Diseases Unit, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: Mutations in CD59 cause CIDP-like polyneuropathy in children with inherited chronic hemolysis. We hypothesized that mutations in CD59 might be found in a subset of sporadic CIDP patients.

Methods: 35 patients from two centers, fulfilling the EFNS/PNS diagnostic criteria for CIDP were included. CD59 coding region was amplified by PCR and Sanger sequenced.

Results: One rare variant was detected in a patient which resulted in a synonymous change and predicted to be neutral. Pathogenic variants were absent in our cohort.

Interpretation: Our pilot study suggests that mutations in CD59 are absent in adult-onset sporadic CIDP.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0212647PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6386293PMC
November 2019

Long-term safety and efficacy of eculizumab in generalized myasthenia gravis.

Muscle Nerve 2019 07 8;60(1):14-24. Epub 2019 Mar 8.

Department of Neurology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Introduction: Eculizumab is effective and well tolerated in patients with antiacetylcholine receptor antibody-positive refractory generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG; REGAIN; NCT01997229). We report an interim analysis of an open-label extension of REGAIN, evaluating eculizumab's long-term safety and efficacy.

Methods: Eculizumab (1,200 mg every 2 weeks for 22.7 months [median]) was administered to 117 patients.

Results: The safety profile of eculizumab was consistent with REGAIN; no cases of meningococcal infection were reported during the interim analysis period. Myasthenia gravis exacerbation rate was reduced by 75% from the year before REGAIN (P < 0.0001). Improvements with eculizumab in activities of daily living, muscle strength, functional ability, and quality of life in REGAIN were maintained through 3 years; 56% of patients achieved minimal manifestations or pharmacological remission. Patients who had received placebo during REGAIN experienced rapid and sustained improvements during open-label eculizumab (P < 0.0001).

Discussion: These findings provide evidence for the long-term safety and sustained efficacy of eculizumab for refractory gMG. Muscle Nerve 2019.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mus.26447DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6619057PMC
July 2019

PDGF-BB serum levels are decreased in adult onset Pompe patients.

Sci Rep 2019 02 14;9(1):2139. Epub 2019 Feb 14.

Neuromuscular Disorders Unit. Neurology Department Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Adult onset Pompe disease is a genetic disorder characterized by slowly progressive skeletal and respiratory muscle weakness. Symptomatic patients are treated with enzymatic replacement therapy with human recombinant alfa glucosidase. Motor functional tests and spirometry are commonly used to follow patients up. However, a serological biomarker that correlates with the progression of the disease could improve follow-up. We studied serum concentrations of TGFβ, PDGF-BB, PDGF-AA and CTGF growth factors in 37 adult onset Pompe patients and 45 controls. Moreover, all patients performed several muscle function tests, conventional spirometry, and quantitative muscle MRI using 3-point Dixon. We observed a statistically significant change in the serum concentration of each growth factor in patients compared to controls. However, only PDGF-BB levels were able to differentiate between asymptomatic and symptomatic patients, suggesting its potential role in the follow-up of asymptomatic patients. Moreover, our results point to a dysregulation of muscle regeneration as an additional pathomechanism of Pompe disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-38025-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6375999PMC
February 2019

Muscle MRI in a large cohort of patients with oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2019 05 8;90(5):576-585. Epub 2018 Dec 8.

Departamento de Neurología y Neurocirugía, Hospital Clínico Universidad de Chile, Programa de Anatomía y Medicina Legal, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

Background And Objective: Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) is a genetic disorder caused by an abnormal expansion of GCN triplets within the gene. Previous descriptions have focused on lower limb muscles in small cohorts of patients with OPMD, but larger imaging studies have not been performed. Previous imaging studies have been too small to be able to correlate imaging findings to genetic and clinical data.

Methods: We present cross-sectional, T1-weighted muscle MRI and CT-scan data from 168 patients with genetically confirmed OPMD. We have analysed the pattern of muscle involvement in the disease using hierarchical analysis and presented it as heatmaps. Results of the scans were correlated with genetic and clinical data.

Results: Fatty replacement was identified in 96.7% of all symptomatic patients. The tongue, the and the were the most commonly affected muscles. Muscle pathology on MRI correlated positively with disease duration and functional impairment.

Conclusions: We have described a pattern that can be considered characteristic of OPMD. An early combination of fat replacement in the tongue, and can be helpful for differential diagnosis. The findings suggest the natural history of the disease from a radiological point of view. The information generated by this study is of high diagnostic value and important for clinical trial development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2018-319578DOI Listing
May 2019

Regional variation of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Brain 2018 10;141(10):2866-2877

Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Cologne, Kerpenerstrasse 62, 50937, Cologne, Germany.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a heterogeneous disorder regarding the clinical presentation, electrophysiological subtype and outcome. Previous single country reports indicate that Guillain-Barré syndrome may differ among regions, but no systematic comparative studies have been conducted. Comparative studies are required to identify factors determining disease susceptibility, variation and prognosis, and to improve diagnostic criteria. The International Guillain-Barré Syndrome Outcome Study is a prospective, observational cohort study including all patients within the diagnostic spectrum, aiming to describe the heterogeneity of Guillain-Barré syndrome worldwide. The current study was based on the first 1000 inclusions with a follow-up of at least 1 year and confirmed the variation in clinical presentation, course and outcome between patients. The full clinical spectrum of Guillain-Barré syndrome was observed in patients from all countries participating in the International Guillain-Barré Syndrome Outcome Study, but the frequency of variants differed between regions. We compared three regions based on geography, income and previous reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome subtypes: 'Europe/Americas', 'Asia' (without Bangladesh), and 'Bangladesh'. We excluded 75 (8%) patients because of alternative diagnoses, protocol violations, or missing data. The predominant clinical variant was sensorimotor in Europe/Americas (n = 387/562, 69%) and Asia (n = 27/63, 43%), and pure motor in Bangladesh (n = 74/107, 69%). Miller Fisher syndrome and Miller Fisher-Guillain-Barré overlap syndrome were more common in Asia (n = 14/63, 22%) than in the other two regions (Europe/Americas: n = 64/562, 11%; Bangladesh: n = 1/107, 1%) (P < 0.001). The predominant electrophysiological subtype was demyelinating in all regions (Europe/Americas: n = 312/573, 55%; Asia: n = 29/65, 45%; Bangladesh: n = 38/94, 40%). The axonal subtype occurred more often in Bangladesh (n = 34/94, 36%) than in Europe/Americas (n = 33/573, 6%) and other Asian countries (n = 4/65, 6%) (P < 0.001). In all regions, patients with the axonal subtype were younger, had fewer sensory deficits, and showed a trend towards poorer recovery compared to patients with the demyelinating subtype. The proportion of patients able to walk unaided after 1 year varied between Asia (n = 31/34, 91%), Europe/Americas (n = 334/404, 83%) and Bangladesh (n = 67/97, 69%) (P = 0.003). A similar variation was seen for mortality, being higher in Bangladesh (n = 19/114, 17%) than in Europe/Americas (n = 23/486, 5%) and Asia (n = 1/45, 2%) (P < 0.001). This study showed that factors related to geography have a major influence on clinical phenotype, disease severity, electrophysiological subtype, and outcome of Guillain-Barré syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awy232DOI Listing
October 2018
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