Publications by authors named "Loren D M Pena"

25 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Defining the genotypic and phenotypic spectrum of X-linked MSL3-related disorder.

Genet Med 2021 Feb 11;23(2):384-395. Epub 2020 Nov 11.

Institute of Human Genetics, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany.

Purpose: We sought to delineate the genotypic and phenotypic spectrum of female and male individuals with X-linked, MSL3-related disorder (Basilicata-Akhtar syndrome).

Methods: Twenty-five individuals (15 males, 10 females) with causative variants in MSL3 were ascertained through exome or genome sequencing at ten different sequencing centers.

Results: We identified multiple variant types in MSL3 (ten nonsense, six frameshift, four splice site, three missense, one in-frame-deletion, one multi-exon deletion), most proven to be de novo, and clustering in the terminal eight exons suggesting that truncating variants in the first five exons might be compensated by an alternative MSL3 transcript. Three-dimensional modeling of missense and splice variants indicated that these have a deleterious effect. The main clinical findings comprised developmental delay and intellectual disability ranging from mild to severe. Autism spectrum disorder, muscle tone abnormalities, and macrocephaly were common as well as hearing impairment and gastrointestinal problems. Hypoplasia of the cerebellar vermis emerged as a consistent magnetic resonance image (MRI) finding. Females and males were equally affected. Using facial analysis technology, a recognizable facial gestalt was determined.

Conclusion: Our aggregated data illustrate the genotypic and phenotypic spectrum of X-linked, MSL3-related disorder (Basilicata-Akhtar syndrome). Our cohort improves the understanding of disease related morbidity and allows us to propose detailed surveillance guidelines for affected individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-00993-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7862064PMC
February 2021

Early infantile epileptic encephalopathy due to biallelic pathogenic variants in PIGQ: Report of seven new subjects and review of the literature.

J Inherit Metab Dis 2020 11 3;43(6):1321-1332. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

Research Center, CHU Sainte Justine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

We investigated seven children from six families to expand the phenotypic spectrum associated with an early infantile epileptic encephalopathy caused by biallelic pathogenic variants in the phosphatidylinositol glycan anchor biosynthesis class Q (PIGQ) gene. The affected children were all identified by clinical or research exome sequencing. Clinical data, including EEGs and MRIs, was comprehensively reviewed and flow cytometry and transfection experiments were performed to investigate PIGQ function. Pathogenic biallelic PIGQ variants were associated with increased mortality. Epileptic seizures, axial hypotonia, developmental delay and multiple congenital anomalies were consistently observed. Seizure onset occurred between 2.5 months and 7 months of age and varied from treatable seizures to recurrent episodes of status epilepticus. Gastrointestinal issues were common and severe, two affected individuals had midgut volvulus requiring surgical correction. Cardiac anomalies including arrythmias were observed. Flow cytometry using granulocytes and fibroblasts from affected individuals showed reduced expression of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins. Transfection of wildtype PIGQ cDNA into patient fibroblasts rescued this phenotype. We expand the phenotypic spectrum of PIGQ-related disease and provide the first functional evidence in human cells of defective GPI-anchoring due to pathogenic variants in PIGQ.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jimd.12278DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7689772PMC
November 2020

GATAD2B-associated neurodevelopmental disorder (GAND): clinical and molecular insights into a NuRD-related disorder.

Genet Med 2020 05 17;22(5):878-888. Epub 2020 Jan 17.

Department of Pediatrics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Purpose: Determination of genotypic/phenotypic features of GATAD2B-associated neurodevelopmental disorder (GAND).

Methods: Fifty GAND subjects were evaluated to determine consistent genotypic/phenotypic features. Immunoprecipitation assays utilizing in vitro transcription-translation products were used to evaluate GATAD2B missense variants' ability to interact with binding partners within the nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex.

Results: Subjects had clinical findings that included macrocephaly, hypotonia, intellectual disability, neonatal feeding issues, polyhydramnios, apraxia of speech, epilepsy, and bicuspid aortic valves. Forty-one novelGATAD2B variants were identified with multiple variant types (nonsense, truncating frameshift, splice-site variants, deletions, and missense). Seven subjects were identified with missense variants that localized within two conserved region domains (CR1 or CR2) of the GATAD2B protein. Immunoprecipitation assays revealed several of these missense variants disrupted GATAD2B interactions with its NuRD complex binding partners.

Conclusions: A consistent GAND phenotype was caused by a range of genetic variants in GATAD2B that include loss-of-function and missense subtypes. Missense variants were present in conserved region domains that disrupted assembly of NuRD complex proteins. GAND's clinical phenotype had substantial clinical overlap with other disorders associated with the NuRD complex that involve CHD3 and CHD4, with clinical features of hypotonia, intellectual disability, cardiac defects, childhood apraxia of speech, and macrocephaly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-019-0747-zDOI Listing
May 2020

Clinical characteristics and genotypes in the ADVANCE baseline data set, a comprehensive cohort of US children and adolescents with Pompe disease.

Genet Med 2019 11 14;21(11):2543-2551. Epub 2019 May 14.

Seattle Children's Hospital/University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

Purpose: To characterize clinical characteristics and genotypes of patients in the ADVANCE study of 4000 L-scale alglucosidase alfa (NCT01526785), the largest prospective United States Pompe disease cohort to date.

Methods: Patients aged ≥1 year with confirmed Pompe disease previously receiving 160 L alglucosidase alfa were eligible. GAA genotypes were determined before/at enrollment. Baseline assessments included histories/physical exams, Gross Motor Function Measure-88 (GMFM-88), pulmonary function tests, and cardiac assessments.

Results: Of 113 enrollees (60 male/53 female) aged 1-18 years, 87 had infantile-onset Pompe disease (IOPD) and 26 late-onset (LOPD). One hundred eight enrollees with GAA genotypes had 215 pathogenic variants (220 including combinations): 118 missense (4 combinations), 23 splice, 35 nonsense, 34 insertions/deletions, 9 duplications (1 combination), 6 other; c.2560C>T (n = 23), c.-32-13T>G (n = 13), and c.525delT (n = 12) were most common. Four patients had previously unpublished variants, and 14/83 (17%) genotyped IOPD patients were cross-reactive immunological material-negative. All IOPD and 6/26 LOPD patients had cardiac involvement, all without c.-32-13T>G. Thirty-two (26 IOPD, 6 LOPD) were invasively ventilated. GMFM-88 total %scores (mean ± SD, median, range): overall 46.3 ± 33.0% (47.9%, 0.0-100.0%), IOPD 41.6 ± 31.64% (38.9%, 0.0-99.7%), LOPD: 61.8 ± 33.2 (70.9%, 0.0-100.0%).

Conclusion: ADVANCE, a uniformly assessed cohort comprising most US children and adolescents with treated Pompe disease, expands understanding of the phenotype and observed variants in the United States.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-019-0527-9DOI Listing
November 2019

Biomarkers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular dysfunction in inherited cystathionine β-synthase deficient homocystinuria and the impact of taurine treatment in a phase 1/2 human clinical trial.

J Inherit Metab Dis 2019 05 11;42(3):424-437. Epub 2019 Apr 11.

Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado.

Study Objective: A phase 1/2 clinical trial was performed in individuals with cystathionine β synthase (CBS) deficient homocystinuria with aims to: (a) assess pharmacokinetics and safety of taurine therapy, (b) evaluate oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular function in CBS deficiency, and (c) evaluate the impact of short-term taurine treatment.

Methods: Individuals with pyridoxine-nonresponsive CBS deficiency with homocysteine >50 μM, without inflammatory disorder or on antioxidant therapy were enrolled. Biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation, endothelial function (brachial artery flow-mediated dilation [FMD]), and disease-related metabolites obtained at baseline were compared to normal values. While maintaining current treatment, patients were treated with 75 mg/kg taurine twice daily, and treatment response assessed after 4 hours and 4 days.

Results: Fourteen patients (8-35 years; 8 males, 6 females) were enrolled with baseline homocysteine levels 161 ± 67 μM. The study found high-dose taurine to be safe when excluding preexisting hypertriglyceridemia. Taurine pharmacokinetics showed a rapid peak level returning to near normal levels at 12 hours, but had slow accumulation and elevated predosing levels after 4 days of treatment. Only a single parameter of oxidative stress, 2,3-dinor-8-isoprostaglandin-F2α, was elevated at baseline, with no elevated inflammatory parameters, and no change in FMD values overall. Taurine had no effect on any of these parameters. However, the effect of taurine was strongly related to pretreatment FMD values; and taurine significantly improved FMD in the subset of individuals with pretreatment FMD values <10% and in individuals with homocysteine levels >125 μM, pertinent to endothelial function.

Conclusion: Taurine improves endothelial function in CBS-deficient homocystinuria in patients with preexisting reduced function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jimd.12085DOI Listing
May 2019

Safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and exploratory efficacy of the novel enzyme replacement therapy avalglucosidase alfa (neoGAA) in treatment-naïve and alglucosidase alfa-treated patients with late-onset Pompe disease: A phase 1, open-label, multicenter, multinational, ascending dose study.

Neuromuscul Disord 2019 03 17;29(3):167-186. Epub 2018 Dec 17.

Erasmus Medical Center, Pompe Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

This multicenter/multinational, open-label, ascending-dose study (NCT01898364) evaluated safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and exploratory efficacy of repeat-dose avalglucosidase alfa (neoGAA), a second-generation, recombinant acid α-glucosidase replacement therapy, in late-onset Pompe disease (LOPD). Patients ≥18 years, alglucosidase alfa naïve (Naïve) or previously receiving alglucosidase alfa for ≥9 months (Switch), with baseline FVC ≥50% predicted and independently ambulatory, received every-other-week avalglucosidase alfa 5, 10, or 20 mg/kg over 24 weeks. 9/10 Naïve and 12/14 Switch patients completed the study. Avalglucosidase alfa was well-tolerated; no deaths/life-threatening serious adverse events (SAEs). One Naïve patient withdrew for study drug-related SAEs (respiratory distress/chest discomfort). Infusion-associated reactions (IARs) affected 8 patients. Most treatment-emergent AEs/IARs were non-serious with mild-to-moderate intensity. At screening, 5 Switch patients tested positive for anti-avalglucosidase alfa antibodies; on-treatment, 2 Switch and 9 Naïve patients seroconverted. Post-infusion, avalglucosidase alfa plasma concentrations declined monoexponentially (t∼1.0 h). AUC was 5-6 × higher in the 20 vs 5 mg/kg group. Pharmacokinetics were similar between Switch and Naïve groups and over time. Baseline quadriceps muscle glycogen was low (∼6%) in most patients, generally remaining unchanged thereafter. Exploratory efficacy parameters (pulmonary function/functional capacity) generally remained stable or improved. Avalglucosidase alfa's well-tolerated safety profile and exploratory efficacy results support further avalglucosidase alfa development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2018.12.004DOI Listing
March 2019

Characteristics of undiagnosed diseases network applicants: implications for referring providers.

BMC Health Serv Res 2018 Aug 22;18(1):652. Epub 2018 Aug 22.

Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Duke Health, Box 103857, Durham, NC, 27710, USA.

Background: The majority of undiagnosed diseases manifest with objective findings that warrant further investigation. The Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) receives applications from patients whose symptoms and signs have been intractable to diagnosis; however, many UDN applicants are affected primarily by subjective symptoms such as pain and fatigue. We sought to characterize presenting symptoms, referral sources, and demographic factors of applicants to the UDN to identify factors that may determine application outcome and potentially differentiate between those with undiagnosed diseases (with more objective findings) and those who are less likely to have an undiagnosed disease (more subjective symptoms).

Methods: We used a systematic retrospective review of 151 consecutive Not Accepted and 50 randomly selected Accepted UDN applications. The primary outcome was whether an applicant was Accepted, or Not Accepted, and, if accepted, whether or not a diagnosis was made. Objective and subjective symptoms and information on prior specialty consultations were collected from provider referral letters. Demographic data and decision data on network acceptance were gathered from the UDN online portal.

Results: Fewer objective findings and more subjective symptoms were found in the Not Accepted applications. Not Accepted referrals also were from older individuals, reported a shorter period of illness, and were referred to the UDN by their primary care physicians. All of these differences reached statistical significance in comparison with Accepted applications. The frequency of subspecialty consults for diagnostic purposes prior to UDN application was similar in both groups.

Conclusions: The preponderance of subjective and lack of objective findings in the Not Accepted applications distinguish these from applicants that are accepted for evaluation and diagnostic efforts through the UDN. Not Accepted applicants are referred primarily by their primary care providers after multiple specialist consultations fail to yield answers. Distinguishing between patients with undiagnosed diseases with objective findings and those with primarily subjective findings can delineate patients who would benefit from further diagnostic processes from those who may have functional disorders and need alternative pathways for management of their symptoms.

Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov NCT02450851 , posted May 21st 2015.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-018-3458-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6106923PMC
August 2018

IRF2BPL Is Associated with Neurological Phenotypes.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 08 26;103(2):245-260. Epub 2018 Jul 26.

Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC 27710, USA. Electronic address:

Interferon regulatory factor 2 binding protein-like (IRF2BPL) encodes a member of the IRF2BP family of transcriptional regulators. Currently the biological function of this gene is obscure, and the gene has not been associated with a Mendelian disease. Here we describe seven individuals who carry damaging heterozygous variants in IRF2BPL and are affected with neurological symptoms. Five individuals who carry IRF2BPL nonsense variants resulting in a premature stop codon display severe neurodevelopmental regression, hypotonia, progressive ataxia, seizures, and a lack of coordination. Two additional individuals, both with missense variants, display global developmental delay and seizures and a relatively milder phenotype than those with nonsense alleles. The IRF2BPL bioinformatics signature based on population genomics is consistent with a gene that is intolerant to variation. We show that the fruit-fly IRF2BPL ortholog, called pits (protein interacting with Ttk69 and Sin3A), is broadly detected, including in the nervous system. Complete loss of pits is lethal early in development, whereas partial knockdown with RNA interference in neurons leads to neurodegeneration, revealing a requirement for this gene in proper neuronal function and maintenance. The identified IRF2BPL nonsense variants behave as severe loss-of-function alleles in this model organism, and ectopic expression of the missense variants leads to a range of phenotypes. Taken together, our results show that IRF2BPL and pits are required in the nervous system in humans and flies, and their loss leads to a range of neurological phenotypes in both species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.07.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6081494PMC
August 2018

Further evidence for the involvement of in a Shwachman-Diamond-like syndrome and expansion of the phenotypic features.

Cold Spring Harb Mol Case Stud 2018 10 1;4(5). Epub 2018 Oct 1.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Division of Human Genetics, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229, USA.

Recent evidence has implicated in a phenotype overlapping Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), with the functional interplay between and the previously known causative gene accounting for the similarity in clinical features. Relatively little is known about the phenotypes associated with pathogenic variants in the gene, but the initial indication was that phenotypes may be more severe, when compared with SDS. We report a pediatric patient who presented with a metaphyseal dysplasia and was found to have biallelic variants in on reanalysis of trio whole-exome sequencing data. The variant had not been initially reported because of the research laboratory's focus on de novo variants. Subsequent phenotyping revealed variability in her manifestations. Although her metaphyseal abnormalities were more severe than in the original reported cohort with variants, the bone marrow abnormalities were generally mild, and there was equivocal evidence for pancreatic insufficiency. Despite the limited number of reported patients, variants in appear to cause a broader spectrum of symptoms that overlap with those seen in SDS. Our report adds to the evidence of being associated with an SDS-like phenotype and provides information adding to our understanding of the phenotypic variability of this disorder. Our report also highlights the value of exome data reanalysis when a diagnosis is not initially apparent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/mcs.a003046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6169826PMC
October 2018

Functional variants in TBX2 are associated with a syndromic cardiovascular and skeletal developmental disorder.

Hum Mol Genet 2018 07;27(14):2454-2465

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.

The 17 genes of the T-box family are transcriptional regulators that are involved in all stages of embryonic development, including craniofacial, brain, heart, skeleton and immune system. Malformation syndromes have been linked to many of the T-box genes. For example, haploinsufficiency of TBX1 is responsible for many structural malformations in DiGeorge syndrome caused by a chromosome 22q11.2 deletion. We report four individuals with an overlapping spectrum of craniofacial dysmorphisms, cardiac anomalies, skeletal malformations, immune deficiency, endocrine abnormalities and developmental impairments, reminiscent of DiGeorge syndrome, who are heterozygotes for TBX2 variants. The p.R20Q variant is shared by three affected family members in an autosomal dominant manner; the fourth unrelated individual has a de novo p.R305H mutation. Bioinformatics analyses indicate that these variants are rare and predict them to be damaging. In vitro transcriptional assays in cultured cells show that both variants result in reduced transcriptional repressor activity of TBX2. We also show that the variants result in reduced protein levels of TBX2. Heterologous over-expression studies in Drosophila demonstrate that both p.R20Q and p.R305H function as partial loss-of-function alleles. Hence, these and other data suggest that TBX2 is a novel candidate gene for a new multisystem malformation disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddy146DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6030957PMC
July 2018

Efficacy, safety profile, and immunogenicity of alglucosidase alfa produced at the 4,000-liter scale in US children and adolescents with Pompe disease: ADVANCE, a phase IV, open-label, prospective study.

Genet Med 2018 10 22;20(10):1284-1294. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

Purpose: Pompe disease results from lysosomal acid α-glucosidase (GAA) deficiency and its associated glycogen accumulation and muscle damage. Alglucosidase alfa (recombinant human GAA (rhGAA)) received approval in 2006 as a treatment for Pompe disease at the 160 L production scale. In 2010, larger-scale rhGAA was approved for patients up to 8 years old without cardiomyopathy. NCT01526785 evaluated 4,000 L rhGAA efficacy/safety in US infantile- or late-onset Pompe disease (IOPD, LOPD) patients up to 1 year old transitioned from 160 L rhGAA.

Methods: A total of 113 patients (87 with IOPD; 26 with LOPD) received 4,000 L rhGAA for 52 weeks dosed the same as previous 160 L rhGAA. Efficacy was calculated as the percentage of patients stable/improved at week 52 (without death, new requirement for invasive ventilation, left ventricular mass z-score increase >1 if baseline was >2, upright forced vital capacity decrease ≥15% predicted, or Gross Motor Function Measure-88 decrease ≥8 percentage points). Safety evaluation included an extension ≤20 months.

Results: Week 52 data was available for 104 patients, 100 of whom entered the extension. At week 52, 87/104 (83.7%) were stable/improved. Overall survival was 98.1% overall, 97.6% IOPD, 100% LOPD; 92.4% remained invasive ventilator-free (93.4% IOPD, 88.7% LOPD). Thirty-five patients had infusion-associated reactions. Eight IOPD patients died of drug-unrelated causes.

Conclusions: Most Pompe disease patients were clinically stable/improved after transitioning to 4,000 L rhGAA. Safety profiles of both rhGAA forms were consistent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/gim.2018.2DOI Listing
October 2018

Psychosocial Profiles of Parents of Children with Undiagnosed Diseases: Managing Well or Just Managing?

J Genet Couns 2018 08 2;27(4):935-946. Epub 2018 Jan 2.

Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.

Little is known about the psychosocial profiles of parents who have a child with an undiagnosed chronic illness. The National Institutes of Health Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) evaluates individuals with intractable medical findings, with the objective of discovering the underlying diagnosis. We report on the psychosocial profiles of 50 parents whose children were accepted to one of the network's clinical sites. Parents completed questionnaires assessing anxiety, depression, coping self-efficacy, and health care empowerment at the beginning of their child's UDN clinical evaluation. Parents of undiagnosed children had high rates of anxiety and depression (~ 40%), which were significantly inversely correlated with coping self-efficacy, but not with health care empowerment. Coping self-efficacy, depressive, and anxiety symptoms were better in parents with older children and with longer duration of illness. Gender differences were identified, with mothers reporting greater health care engagement than fathers. Overall, our findings suggest that parents of children with undiagnosed diseases maintain positive coping self-efficacy and remain actively engaged in health care and to a lesser degree tolerance for uncertainty, but these come with a high emotional cost to the parents. As the parents' psychological needs may not be obvious, these should be ascertained and the requisite support provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-017-0193-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6028305PMC
August 2018

Looking beyond the exome: a phenotype-first approach to molecular diagnostic resolution in rare and undiagnosed diseases.

Genet Med 2018 04 14;20(4):464-469. Epub 2017 Sep 14.

Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

PurposeTo describe examples of missed pathogenic variants on whole-exome sequencing (WES) and the importance of deep phenotyping for further diagnostic testing.MethodsGuided by phenotypic information, three children with negative WES underwent targeted single-gene testing.ResultsIndividual 1 had a clinical diagnosis consistent with infantile systemic hyalinosis, although WES and a next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based ANTXR2 test were negative. Sanger sequencing of ANTXR2 revealed a homozygous single base pair insertion, previously missed by the WES variant caller software. Individual 2 had neurodevelopmental regression and cerebellar atrophy, with no diagnosis on WES. New clinical findings prompted Sanger sequencing and copy number testing of PLA2G6. A novel homozygous deletion of the noncoding exon 1 (not included in the WES capture kit) was detected, with extension into the promoter, confirming the clinical suspicion of infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy. Individual 3 had progressive ataxia, spasticity, and magnetic resonance image changes of vanishing white matter leukoencephalopathy. An NGS leukodystrophy gene panel and WES showed a heterozygous pathogenic variant in EIF2B5; no deletions/duplications were detected. Sanger sequencing of EIF2B5 showed a frameshift indel, probably missed owing to failure of alignment.ConclusionThese cases illustrate potential pitfalls of WES/NGS testing and the importance of phenotype-guided molecular testing in yielding diagnoses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/gim.2017.128DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5851806PMC
April 2018

Comparison of Methods of Initial Ascertainment in 58 Cases of Propionic Acidemia Enrolled in the Inborn Errors of Metabolism Information System Reveals Significant Differences in Time to Evaluation and Symptoms at Presentation.

J Pediatr 2017 01 21;180:200-205.e8. Epub 2016 Oct 21.

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Medical Genetics, Duke University, Durham, NC. Electronic address:

Objectives: To compare time to evaluation and symptoms at diagnosis of propionic acidemia (PA) by method of ascertainment, and to explore correlations between genotype and biochemical variables.

Study Design: Clinical symptoms, genotype, and biochemical findings were analyzed retrospectively in 58 individuals with PA enrolled in the Inborn Errors of Metabolism Information System (IBEM-IS) based on the type of initial ascertainment: abnormal newborn screening (NBS), clinical presentation (symptomatic), or family history.

Results: The average age at initial evaluation and treatment was significantly younger in patients ascertained via abnormal NBS compared with those referred for clinical symptoms. Furthermore, the majority of individuals ascertained because of abnormal NBS were asymptomatic at diagnosis, compared with a minority of clinical presentations. A notable difference in the frequency of metabolic acidosis at initial presentation was observed between those with abnormal NBS (12.5%; 2 of 16) and those with an abnormal clinical presentation (79%; 19 of 24). The frequency of hyperammonemia was similar in the 2 groups.

Conclusion: Our data support the continued value of NBS to identify individuals with PA, who are diagnosed and treated earlier than for other modes of ascertainment. There were no statistically significant correlations between genotype and NBS for C3 acylcarnitines. Although expanded use of NBS has allowed for early diagnosis and treatment, long-term outcomes of individuals with PA, especially with respect to mode of ascertainment, remain unclear and would benefit from a longitudinal study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.09.050DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5183466PMC
January 2017

De Novo Truncating Variants in ASXL2 Are Associated with a Unique and Recognizable Clinical Phenotype.

Am J Hum Genet 2016 Oct 29;99(4):991-999. Epub 2016 Sep 29.

Institute of Human Genetics, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20246 Hamburg, Germany.

The ASXL genes (ASXL1, ASXL2, and ASXL3) participate in body patterning during embryogenesis and encode proteins involved in epigenetic regulation and assembly of transcription factors to specific genomic loci. Germline de novo truncating variants in ASXL1 and ASXL3 have been respectively implicated in causing Bohring-Opitz and Bainbridge-Ropers syndromes, which result in overlapping features of severe intellectual disability and dysmorphic features. ASXL2 has not yet been associated with a human Mendelian disorder. In this study, we performed whole-exome sequencing in six unrelated probands with developmental delay, macrocephaly, and dysmorphic features. All six had de novo truncating variants in ASXL2. A careful review enabled the recognition of a specific phenotype consisting of macrocephaly, prominent eyes, arched eyebrows, hypertelorism, a glabellar nevus flammeus, neonatal feeding difficulties, hypotonia, and developmental disabilities. Although overlapping features with Bohring-Opitz and Bainbridge-Ropers syndromes exist, features that distinguish the ASXL2-associated condition from ASXL1- and ASXL3-related disorders are macrocephaly, absence of growth retardation, and more variability in the degree of intellectual disabilities. We were also able to demonstrate with mRNA studies that these variants are likely to exert a dominant-negative effect, given that both alleles are expressed in blood and the mutated ASXL2 transcripts escape nonsense-mediated decay. In conclusion, de novo truncating variants in ASXL2 underlie a neurodevelopmental syndrome with a clinically recognizable phenotype. This report expands the germline disorders that are linked to the ASXL genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.08.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5065681PMC
October 2016

Prospective exploratory muscle biopsy, imaging, and functional assessment in patients with late-onset Pompe disease treated with alglucosidase alfa: The EMBASSY Study.

Mol Genet Metab 2016 09 19;119(1-2):115-23. Epub 2016 May 19.

Sanofi Genzyme, Cambridge, MA, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Late-onset Pompe disease is characterized by progressive skeletal myopathy followed by respiratory muscle weakness, typically leading to loss of ambulation and respiratory failure. In this population, enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with alglucosidase alfa has been shown to stabilize respiratory function and improve mobility and muscle strength. Muscle pathology and glycogen clearance from skeletal muscle in treatment-naïve adults after ERT have not been extensively examined.

Methods: This exploratory, open-label, multicenter study evaluated glycogen clearance in muscle tissue samples collected pre- and post- alglucosidase alfa treatment in treatment-naïve adults with late-onset Pompe disease. The primary endpoint was the quantitative reduction in percent tissue area occupied by glycogen in muscle biopsies from baseline to 6months. Secondary endpoints included qualitative histologic assessment of tissue glycogen distribution, secondary pathology changes, assessment of magnetic resonance images (MRIs) for intact muscle and fatty replacement, and functional assessments.

Results: Sixteen patients completed the study. After 6months of ERT, the percent tissue area occupied by glycogen in quadriceps and deltoid muscles decreased in 10 and 8 patients, respectively. No changes were detected on MRI from baseline to 6months. A majority of patients showed improvements on functional assessments after 6months of treatment. All treatment-related adverse events were mild or moderate.

Conclusions: This exploratory study provides novel insights into the histopathologic effects of ERT in late-onset Pompe disease patients. Ultrastructural examination of muscle biopsies demonstrated reduced lysosomal glycogen after ERT. Findings are consistent with stabilization of disease by ERT in treatment-naïve patients with late-onset Pompe disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgme.2016.05.013DOI Listing
September 2016

Outcomes and genotype-phenotype correlations in 52 individuals with VLCAD deficiency diagnosed by NBS and enrolled in the IBEM-IS database.

Mol Genet Metab 2016 08 13;118(4):272-81. Epub 2016 May 13.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, USA.

Very long chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD) deficiency can present at various ages from the neonatal period to adulthood, and poses the greatest risk of complications during intercurrent illness or after prolonged fasting. Early diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance can reduce mortality; hence, the disorder is included in the newborn Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP) in the United States. The Inborn Errors of Metabolism Information System (IBEM-IS) was established in 2007 to collect longitudinal information on individuals with inborn errors of metabolism included in newborn screening (NBS) programs, including VLCAD deficiency. We retrospectively analyzed early outcomes for individuals who were diagnosed with VLCAD deficiency by NBS and describe initial presentations, diagnosis, clinical outcomes and treatment in a cohort of 52 individuals ages 1-18years. Maternal prenatal symptoms were not reported, and most newborns remained asymptomatic. Cardiomyopathy was uncommon in the cohort, diagnosed in 2/52 cases. Elevations in creatine kinase were a common finding, and usually first occurred during the toddler period (1-3years of age). Diagnostic evaluations required several testing modalities, most commonly plasma acylcarnitine profiles and molecular testing. Functional testing, including fibroblast acylcarnitine profiling and white blood cell or fibroblast enzyme assay, is a useful diagnostic adjunct if uncharacterized mutations are identified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgme.2016.05.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4970910PMC
August 2016

Not the End of the Odyssey: Parental Perceptions of Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) in Pediatric Undiagnosed Disorders.

J Genet Couns 2016 10 12;25(5):1019-31. Epub 2016 Feb 12.

Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Box 103757, Durham, NC, 27710, USA.

Due to the lack of empirical information on parental perceptions of primary results of whole exome sequencing (WES), we conducted a retrospective semi-structured interview with 19 parents of children who had undergone WES. Perceptions explored during the interview included factors that would contribute to parental empowerment such as: parental expectations, understanding of the WES and results, utilization of the WES information, and communication of findings to health/educational professionals and family members. Results of the WES had previously been communicated to families within a novel framework of clinical diagnostic categories: 5/19 had Definite diagnoses, 6/19 had Likely diagnoses, 3/19 had Possible diagnosis and 5/19 had No diagnosis. All parents interviewed expressed a sense of duty to pursue the WES in search of a diagnosis; however, their expectations were tempered by previous experiences with negative genetic testing results. Approximately half the parents worried that a primary diagnosis that would be lethal might be identified; however, the hope of a diagnosis outweighed this concern. Parents were accurately able to summarize their child's WES findings, understood the implications for recurrence risks, and were able to communicate these findings to family and medical/educational providers. The majority of those with a Definite/Likely diagnosis felt that their child's medical care was more focused, or there was a reduction in worry, despite the lack of a specific treatment. Irrespective of diagnostic outcome, parents recommended that follow-up visits be built into the process. Several parents expressed a desire to have all variants of unknown significance (VUS) reported to them so that they could investigate these themselves. Finally, for some families whose children had a Definite/Likely diagnosis, there was remaining frustration and a sense of isolation, due to the limited information that was available about the diagnosed rare disorders and the inability to connect to other families, suggesting that for families with rare genetic disorders, the diagnostic odyssey does not necessarily end with a diagnosis. Qualitative interviewing served a meaningful role in eliciting new information about parental motivations, expectations, and knowledge of WES. Our findings highlight a need for continued communication with families as we navigate the new landscape of genomic sequencing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-016-9933-1DOI Listing
October 2016

Postmortem Findings and Clinical Correlates in Individuals with Infantile-Onset Pompe Disease.

JIMD Rep 2015 13;23:45-54. Epub 2015 Mar 13.

Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Duke Medicine, 905 S. LaSalle St., GSRB1, Box 103856, Durham, NC, 27710, USA,

Pompe disease (OMIM 232300), a glycogen storage disorder caused by deficiency in the lysosomal enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase (EC 3.2.1.20), results in weakness and cardiomyopathy in infants affected with the classic form. Although the primary disease manifestations are due to glycogen accumulation in skeletal and cardiac muscle, glycogen also accumulates in a variety of additional tissues. To improve our understanding of disease pathogenesis in long-term survivors, we reviewed postmortem results for three infants with the classic form of Pompe disease. We have observed a number of new complications in long-term survivors of infantile-onset Pompe disease, and we focused this postmortem study on pathological correlates. Findings in survivors include cardiac arrhythmias, which may be related to glycogen accumulation in cardiac conduction tissue; urinary incontinence, likely due to glycogen accumulation in smooth muscle; and refractory errors, possibly related to accumulation in ocular structures. These observations provide potential pathophysiologic correlates for complications in long-term survivors of infantile Pompe disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/8904_2015_426DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4484900PMC
June 2015

Premature pubarche in children with Pompe disease.

J Pediatr 2015 Apr 14;166(4):1075-8.e1. Epub 2015 Feb 14.

Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Electronic address:

Pompe disease (PD), or glycogen storage disease type II, results from deficiency of acid α-glucosidase. Patients with infantile-onset PD die by early childhood if untreated. Patient survival has improved with enzyme replacement therapy. We report a case series of 8 patients with infantile-onset PD on enzyme replacement therapy with premature pubarche.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.12.074DOI Listing
April 2015

A Phase 4 Prospective Study in Patients with Adult Pompe Disease Treated with Alglucosidase Alfa.

J Neuromuscul Dis 2015;2(s1):S72-S73

Center for Lysosomal and Metabolic Diseases, Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

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January 2015

Clinical delineation and natural history of the PIK3CA-related overgrowth spectrum.

Am J Med Genet A 2014 Jul 29;164A(7):1713-33. Epub 2014 Apr 29.

National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

Somatic mutations in the phosphatidylinositol/AKT/mTOR pathway cause segmental overgrowth disorders. Diagnostic descriptors associated with PIK3CA mutations include fibroadipose overgrowth (FAO), Hemihyperplasia multiple Lipomatosis (HHML), Congenital Lipomatous Overgrowth, Vascular malformations, Epidermal nevi, Scoliosis/skeletal and spinal (CLOVES) syndrome, macrodactyly, and the megalencephaly syndrome, Megalencephaly-Capillary malformation (MCAP) syndrome. We set out to refine the understanding of the clinical spectrum and natural history of these phenotypes, and now describe 35 patients with segmental overgrowth and somatic PIK3CA mutations. The phenotypic data show that these previously described disease entities have considerable overlap, and represent a spectrum. While this spectrum overlaps with Proteus syndrome (sporadic, mosaic, and progressive) it can be distinguished by the absence of cerebriform connective tissue nevi and a distinct natural history. Vascular malformations were found in 15/35 (43%) and epidermal nevi in 4/35 (11%) patients, lower than in Proteus syndrome. Unlike Proteus syndrome, 31/35 (89%) patients with PIK3CA mutations had congenital overgrowth, and in 35/35 patients this was asymmetric and disproportionate. Overgrowth was mild with little postnatal progression in most, while in others it was severe and progressive requiring multiple surgeries. Novel findings include: adipose dysregulation present in all patients, unilateral overgrowth that is predominantly left-sided, overgrowth that affects the lower extremities more than the upper extremities and progresses in a distal to proximal pattern, and in the most severely affected patients is associated with marked paucity of adipose tissue in unaffected areas. While the current data are consistent with some genotype-phenotype correlation, this cannot yet be confirmed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.36552DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4320693PMC
July 2014