Publications by authors named "Massimiliano Filosto"

147 Publications

Electrophysiological features of acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Neurophysiol Clin 2021 Mar 18;51(2):183-191. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Statistics Unit, Department of Economics, University "G. d'Annunzio", Pescara, Italy.

Objective: To assess whether patients with acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (AIDP) associated with SARS-CoV-2 show characteristic electrophysiological features.

Methods: Clinical and electrophysiological findings of 24 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection and AIDP (S-AIDP) and of 48 control AIDP (C-AIDP) without SARS-CoV-2 infection were compared.

Results: S-AIDP patients more frequently developed respiratory failure (83.3% vs. 25%, P=0.000) and required intensive care unit (ICU) hospitalization (58.3% vs. 31.3%, P=0.000). In C-AIDP, distal motor latencies (DMLs) were more frequently prolonged (70.9% vs. 26.2%, P=0.000) whereas in S-AIDP distal compound muscle action potential (dCMAP) durations were more frequently increased (49.5% vs. 32.4%, P=0.002) and F waves were more often absent (45.6% vs. 31.8%, P=0.011). Presence of nerves with increased dCMAP duration and normal or slightly prolonged DML was elevenfold higher in S-AIDP (31.1% vs. 2.8%, P=0.000);11 S-AIDP patients showed this pattern in 2 nerves.

Conclusion: Increased dCMAP duration, thought to be a marker of acquired demyelination, can also be oserved in critical illness myopathy. In S-AIDP patients, an increased dCMAP duration dissociated from prolonged DML, suggests additional muscle fiber conduction slowing, possibly due to a COVID-19-related hyperinflammatory state. Absent F waves, at least in some S-AIDP patients, may reflect α-motor neuron hypoexcitability because of immobilization during the ICU stay. These features should be considered in the electrodiagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 patients with weakness, to avoid misdiagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neucli.2021.02.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7891083PMC
March 2021

Efficacy and Safety of Bimagrumab in Sporadic Inclusion Body Myositis: Long-term Extension of RESILIENT.

Neurology 2021 03 17;96(12):e1595-e1607. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

From the Department of Neurology (A.A.A.), Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Medical Research Council Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases (M.G.H., P.M.M.) and Institute of Neurology, Department of Neuromuscular Diseases & Centre for Rheumatology (P.M.M.), University College London; Department of Rheumatology & Queen Square Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases (P.M.M.), University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Department of Rheumatology (P.M.M.), Northwick Park Hospital, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, UK; Department of Neurology (U.A.B.), Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands; National Institute for Health Research Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (H.C.), Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, The University of Manchester, UK; Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology (O.B.), Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Sorbonne Université, Paris, France; Novartis Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. (K.A.K), Hyderabad, India; Novartis Pharmaceuticals (M.W., D.A.P.), East Hanover, NJ; Novartis Pharma AG (L.B.T., A.A.S-T.), Basel, Switzerland; Department of Neurology (T.E.L.), The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD; Institute for Immunology & Infectious Diseases (M.N.), Fiona Stanley Hospital, Murdoch University and Notre Dame University, Perth; Department of Neurology (C.L.), Royal North Shore Hospital, New South Wales; Calvary Health Care Bethlehem (K.A.R.), Caulfield South, Australia; Department of Neurology (M.d.V), Amsterdam University Medical Centre, the Netherlands; Department of Medicine (D.P.A.), University of Miami, FL; Department of Neurology (R.J.B., M.M.D.), University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City; Department of Neurology (J.A.L.M.), Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK; Department of Neurology (J.T.K.), The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus; Neuromuscular Research Center (B.O., N.C.J.), UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA; Department of Neurology (P.V.d.B.), University Hospital Saint-Luc, University of Louvain, Brussels; Neuromuscular Reference Centre, Department of Neurology (J.B.), Antwerp University Hospital; Institute Born-Bunge (J.B.), University of Antwerp; Department of Neurology (J.L.d.B.), Ghent University Hospital, Belgium; Department of Neurology (C.K.), Oregon Health & Science University, Portland; Department of Neurology (W.S.D.), Massachusetts General Hospital, Neuromuscular Diagnostic Center and Electromyography Laboratory, Boston; Department of Neurology (M.M.), Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS; Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (M.M.), Rome, Italy; Department of Neurology (S.P.N.), University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Department of Neurology (H.H.J.), University Hospital and University of Zurich, Switzerland; Department of Neurosciences (E.P.), University of Padova School of Medicine; Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta (L.M.), Milan; Unit of Neurology and Neuromuscular Disorders (C.R.), Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Policlinico G Martino, University of Messina; Center for Neuromuscular Diseases (M.F.), Unit of Neurology, ASST Spedali Civili and University of Brescia, Italy; Nerve and Muscle Center of Texas (A.I.S.), Houston; Neuromuscular Research Center (K.S.), Phoenix, AZ; Department of Neurology (N.A.G.), ALS & Neuromuscular Center, University of California Irvine, Orange; Department of Neurology (M.M.-Y.), National Center Hospital, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo; Department of Neurology (S.Y.), Kumamoto University Hospital; Department of Neurology (N.S.), Tohoku University Hospital, Miyagi; Department of Neurology (M.A.), Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai; Department of Neurology (M.K.), Nagoya University Hospital, Aichi; Department of Neurology (H.M.), Osaka City General Hospital; Wakayama Medical University Hospital (K.M.); Tokushima University Hospital (H.N.); Department of Neuromuscular Research (I.N.), National Institute of Neuroscience, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan; RTI Health Solutions (C.D.R., V.S.L.W.), Research Triangle Park, NC; Copenhagen Neuromuscular Center (J.V.), Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; and UCB (L.Z.A.), Bulle, Switzerland. H.N. is currently affiliated with the Department of Neurology, Kanazawa Medical University, Ishikawa, Japan. B.O. is currently affiliated with the Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL.

Objective: To assess long-term (2 years) effects of bimagrumab in participants with sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM).

Methods: Participants (aged 36-85 years) who completed the core study (RESILIENT [Efficacy and Safety of Bimagrumab/BYM338 at 52 Weeks on Physical Function, Muscle Strength, Mobility in sIBM Patients]) were invited to join an extension study. Individuals continued on the same treatment as in the core study (10 mg/kg, 3 mg/kg, 1 mg/kg bimagrumab or matching placebo administered as IV infusions every 4 weeks). The co-primary outcome measures were 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) and safety.

Results: Between November 2015 and February 2017, 211 participants entered double-blind placebo-controlled period of the extension study. Mean change in 6MWD from baseline was highly variable across treatment groups, but indicated progressive deterioration from weeks 24-104 in all treatment groups. Overall, 91.0% (n = 142) of participants in the pooled bimagrumab group and 89.1% (n = 49) in the placebo group had ≥1 treatment-emergent adverse event (AE). Falls were slightly higher in the bimagrumab 3 mg/kg group vs 10 mg/kg, 1 mg/kg, and placebo groups (69.2% [n = 36 of 52] vs 56.6% [n = 30 of 53], 58.8% [n = 30 of 51], and 61.8% [n = 34 of 55], respectively). The most frequently reported AEs in the pooled bimagrumab group were diarrhea 14.7% (n = 23), involuntary muscle contractions 9.6% (n = 15), and rash 5.1% (n = 8). Incidence of serious AEs was comparable between the pooled bimagrumab and the placebo group (18.6% [n = 29] vs 14.5% [n = 8], respectively).

Conclusion: Extended treatment with bimagrumab up to 2 years produced a good safety profile and was well-tolerated, but did not provide clinical benefits in terms of improvement in mobility. The extension study was terminated early due to core study not meeting its primary endpoint.

Clinical Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02573467.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that for patients with sIBM, long-term treatment with bimagrumab was safe, well-tolerated, and did not provide meaningful functional benefit. The study is rated Class IV because of the open-label design of extension treatment period 2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011626DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8032371PMC
March 2021

Next-generation sequencing application to investigate skeletal muscle channelopathies in a large cohort of Italian patients.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 Apr 14;31(4):336-347. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Neurology IV Unit, Neuroimmunology and Neuromuscular Diseases, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy.

Non-dystrophic myotonias and periodic paralyses are a heterogeneous group of disabling diseases classified as skeletal muscle channelopathies. Their genetic characterization is essential for prognostic and therapeutic purposes; however, several genes are involved. Sanger-based sequencing of a single gene is time-consuming, often expensive; thus, we designed a next-generation sequencing panel of 56 putative candidate genes for skeletal muscle channelopathies, codifying for proteins involved in excitability, excitation-contraction coupling, and metabolism of muscle fibres. We analyzed a large cohort of 109 Italian patients with a suspect of NDM or PP by next-generation sequencing. We identified 24 patients mutated in CLCN1 gene, 15 in SCN4A, 3 in both CLCN1 and SCN4A, 1 in ATP2A1, 1 in KCNA1 and 1 in CASQ1. Eight were novel mutations: p.G395Cfs*32, p.L843P, p.V829M, p.E258E and c.1471+4delTCAAGAC in CLCN1, p.K1302R in SCN4A, p.L208P in ATP2A1 and c.280-1G>C in CASQ1 genes. This study demonstrated the utility of targeted next generation sequencing approach in molecular diagnosis of skeletal muscle channelopathies and the importance of the collaboration between clinicians and molecular geneticists and additional methods for unclear variants to make a conclusive diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2020.12.003DOI Listing
April 2021

Large genotype-phenotype study in carriers of D4Z4 borderline alleles provides guidance for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy diagnosis.

Sci Rep 2020 12 10;10(1):21648. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is a myopathy with prevalence of 1 in 20,000. Almost all patients affected by FSHD carry deletions of an integral number of tandem 3.3 kilobase repeats, termed D4Z4, located on chromosome 4q35. Assessment of size of D4Z4 alleles is commonly used for FSHD diagnosis. However, the extended molecular testing has expanded the spectrum of clinical phenotypes. In particular, D4Z4 alleles with 9-10 repeat have been found in healthy individuals, in subjects with FSHD or affected by other myopathies. These findings weakened the strict relationship between observed phenotypes and their underlying genotypes, complicating the interpretation of molecular findings for diagnosis and genetic counseling. In light of the wide clinical variability detected in carriers of D4Z4 alleles with 9-10 repeats, we applied a standardized methodology, the Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Form (CCEF), to describe and characterize the phenotype of 244 individuals carrying D4Z4 alleles with 9-10 repeats (134 index cases and 110 relatives). The study shows that 54.5% of index cases display a classical FSHD phenotype with typical facial and scapular muscle weakness, whereas 20.1% present incomplete phenotype with facial weakness or scapular girdle weakness, 6.7% display minor signs such as winged scapula or hyperCKemia, without functional motor impairment, and 18.7% of index cases show more complex phenotypes with atypical clinical features. Family studies revealed that 70.9% of relatives carrying 9-10 D4Z4 reduced alleles has no motor impairment, whereas a few relatives (10.0%) display a classical FSHD phenotype. Importantly all relatives of index cases with no FSHD phenotype were healthy carriers. These data establish the low penetrance of D4Z4 alleles with 9-10 repeats. We recommend the use of CCEF for the standardized clinical assessment integrated by family studies and further molecular investigation for appropriate diagnosis and genetic counseling. Especially in presence of atypical phenotypes and/or sporadic cases with all healthy relatives is not possible to perform conclusive diagnosis of FSHD, but all these cases need further studies for a proper diagnosis, to search novel causative genetic defects or investigate environmental factors or co-morbidities that may trigger the pathogenic process. These evidences are also fundamental for the stratification of patients eligible for clinical trials. Our work reinforces the value of large genotype-phenotype studies to define criteria for clinical practice and genetic counseling in rare diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-78578-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7730397PMC
December 2020

Primary mitochondrial myopathy: Clinical features and outcome measures in 118 cases from Italy.

Neurol Genet 2020 Dec 20;6(6):e519. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (V.M., F.G., G.S., M.M.), Neurological Clinic, University of Pisa, Italy; IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna (V.C., M.L.V.), UOC Clinica Neurologica, Bologna, Italy; Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences (DIBINEM) (V.C., M.L.V.), University of Bologna, Italy; Dino Ferrari Centre (G.P.C.), Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation (DEPT), University of Milan, Italy; Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico (G.P.C., M.M.), Neuromuscular and Rare Disease Unit; Unit of Neurology (M.F.), ASST "Spedali Civili" and University of Brescia, Italy; UO Medical Genetics and Neurogenetics (C.L., S.M.), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico C.Besta, Milan, Italy; Neuromuscular Unit (M.T., S.B.), Department of Neurosciences, University of Torino, Italy; Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (O.M., A.T., G.T.), UOC Neurologia e Malattie Neuromuscolari, University of Messina, Italy; UOC Neurofisiopatologia Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS (S.S., G.P.), Roma, Italy; Dipartimento Universitario di Neuroscienze, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (S.S., G.P.), Roma, Italy; Department of Neurosciences (P.T.), Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, Section of Clinical Neurology, University of Verona, Italy; Neurorehabilitation Unit (A.M.), Department of Neurosciences, University Hospital of Verona, Italy; Neuromuscular Unit (S.B.), Department of Neurosciences, University of Torino, Italy.

Objective: To determine whether a set of functional tests, clinical scales, patient-reported questionnaires, and specific biomarkers can be considered reliable outcome measures in patients with primary mitochondrial myopathy (PMM), we analyzed a cohort of Italian patients.

Methods: Baseline data were collected from 118 patients with PMM, followed by centers of the Italian network for mitochondrial diseases. We used the 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT), Timed Up-and-Go Test (x3) (3TUG), Five-Times Sit-To-Stand Test (5XSST), Timed Water Swallow Test (TWST), and Test of Masticating and Swallowing Solids (TOMASS) as functional outcome measures; the Fatigue Severity Scale and West Haven-Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory as patient-reported outcome measures; and FGF21, GDF15, lactate, and creatine kinase (CK) as biomarkers.

Results: A total of 118 PMM cases were included. Functional outcome measures (6MWT, 3TUG, 5XSST, TWST, and TOMASS) and biomarkers significantly differed from healthy reference values and controls. Moreover, functional measures correlated with patients' perceived fatigue and pain severity. Patients with either mitochondrial or nuclear DNA point mutations performed worse in functional measures than patients harboring single deletion, even if the latter had an earlier age at onset but similar disease duration. Both the biomarkers FGF21 and GDF15 were significantly higher in the patients compared with a matched control population; however, there was no relation with severity of disease.

Conclusions: We characterized a large cohort of PMM by evaluating baseline mitochondrial biomarkers and functional scales that represent potential outcome measures to monitor the efficacy of treatment in clinical trials; these outcome measures will be further reinvestigated longitudinally to define the natural history of PMM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXG.0000000000000519DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7670572PMC
December 2020

Guillain-Barré syndrome and COVID-19: an observational multicentre study from two Italian hotspot regions.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2020 Nov 6. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, University "G. d'Annunzio", Chieti-Pescara, Italy.

Objective: Single cases and small series of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) have been reported during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak worldwide. We evaluated incidence and clinical features of GBS in a cohort of patients from two regions of northern Italy with the highest number of patients with COVID-19.

Methods: GBS cases diagnosed in 12 referral hospitals from Lombardy and Veneto in March and April 2020 were retrospectively collected. As a control population, GBS diagnosed in March and April 2019 in the same hospitals were considered.

Results: Incidence of GBS in March and April 2020 was 0.202/100 000/month (estimated rate 2.43/100 000/year) vs 0.077/100 000/month (estimated rate 0.93/100 000/year) in the same months of 2019 with a 2.6-fold increase. Estimated incidence of GBS in COVID-19-positive patients was 47.9/100 000 and in the COVID-19-positive hospitalised patients was 236/100 000. COVID-19-positive patients with GBS, when compared with COVID-19-negative subjects, showed lower MRC sum score (26.3±18.3 vs 41.4±14.8, p=0.006), higher frequency of demyelinating subtype (76.6% vs 35.3%, p=0.011), more frequent low blood pressure (50% vs 11.8%, p=0.017) and higher rate of admission to intensive care unit (66.6% vs 17.6%, p=0.002).

Conclusions: This study shows an increased incidence of GBS during the COVID-19 outbreak in northern Italy, supporting a pathogenic link. COVID-19-associated GBS is predominantly demyelinating and seems to be more severe than non-COVID-19 GBS, although it is likely that in some patients the systemic impairment due to COVID-19 might have contributed to the severity of the whole clinical picture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2020-324837DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7650204PMC
November 2020

Nusinersen safety and effects on motor function in adult spinal muscular atrophy type 2 and 3.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2020 11 11;91(11):1166-1174. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Department of Neurosciences, University of Padua, Padova, Veneto, Italy.

Objective: To retrospectively investigate safety and efficacy of nusinersen in a large cohort of adult Italian patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Methods: Inclusion criteria were: (1) clinical and molecular diagnosis of SMA2 or SMA3; (2) nusinersen treatment started in adult age (>18 years); (3) clinical data available at least at baseline (T0-beginning of treatment) and 6 months (T6).

Results: We included 116 patients (13 SMA2 and 103 SMA3) with median age at first administration of 34 years (range 18-72). The Hammersmith Functional Rating Scale Expanded (HFMSE) in patients with SMA3 increased significantly from baseline to T6 (median change +1 point, p<0.0001), T10 (+2, p<0.0001) and T14 (+3, p<0.0001). HFMSE changes were independently significant in SMA3 sitter and walker subgroups. The Revised Upper Limb Module (RULM) in SMA3 significantly improved between T0 and T14 (median +0.5, p=0.012), with most of the benefit observed in sitters (+2, p=0.018). Conversely, patients with SMA2 had no significant changes of median HFMSE and RULM between T0 and the following time points, although a trend for improvement of RULM was observed in those with some residual baseline function. The rate of patients showing clinically meaningful improvements (as defined during clinical trials) increased from 53% to 69% from T6 to T14.

Conclusions: Our data provide further evidence of nusinersen safety and efficacy in adult SMA2 and SMA3, with the latter appearing to be cumulative over time. In patients with extremely advanced disease, effects on residual motor function are less clear.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2020-323822DOI Listing
November 2020

Estimating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on services provided by Italian Neuromuscular Centers: an Italian Association of Myology survey of the acute phase.

Acta Myol 2020 Jun 1;39(2):57-66. Epub 2020 Jun 1.

Dino Ferrari Centre, Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation (DEPT), Neuroscience Section, University of Milan, Italy.

Introduction: Since February 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy has forced the health care system to undergo profound rearrangements in its services and facilities, especially in the worst-hit areas in Northern Italy. In this setting, inpatient and outpatient services had to rethink and reorganize their activities to meet the needs of patients during the "lockdown". The Italian Association of Myology developed a survey to estimate the impact of these changes on patients affected by neuromuscular disorders and on specialized neuromuscular centers during the acute phase of COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: We developed an electronic survey that was sent to neuromuscular centers affiliated with the Italian Association of Myology, assessing changes in pharmacological therapies provision, outpatient clinical and instrumental services, support services (physiotherapy, nursing care, psychological support) and clinical trials.

Results: 40% of surveyed neuromuscular centers reported a reduction in outpatient visit and examinations (44.5% of centers in Northern regions; 25% of centers in Central regions; 50% of centers in Southern regions). Twenty-two% of centers postponed in-hospital administration of therapies for neuromuscular diseases (23.4% in Northern regions; 13.0% in Central regions; 20% in Southern regions). Diagnostic and support services (physiotherapy, nursing care, psychological support) were suspended in 57% of centers (66/43/44% in Northern, Central and Southern centers respectively) Overall, the most affected services were rehabilitative services and on-site outpatient visits, which were suspended in 93% of centers. Strategies adopted by neuromuscular centers to overcome these changes included maintaining urgent on-site visits, addressing patients to available services and promoting remote contact and telemedicine.

Conclusions: Overall, COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant disruption of clinical and support services for patients with neuromuscular diseases. Despite the efforts to provide telemedicine consults to patients, this option could be promoted and improved further. A close collaboration between the different neuromuscular centers and service providers as well as further implementation of telehealth platforms are necessary to ensure quality care to NMD patients in the near future and in case of recurrent pandemic waves.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.36185/2532-1900-008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7460733PMC
June 2020

Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE): Position paper on diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment by the MNGIE International Network.

J Inherit Metab Dis 2021 Mar 8;44(2):376-387. Epub 2020 Sep 8.

Department of Neurosciences, Veneto Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is a rare autosomal recessive disease caused by TYMP mutations and thymidine phosphorylase (TP) deficiency. Thymidine and deoxyuridine accumulate impairing the mitochondrial DNA maintenance and integrity. Clinically, patients show severe and progressive gastrointestinal and neurological manifestations. The onset typically occurs in the second decade of life and mean age at death is 37 years. Signs and symptoms of MNGIE are heterogeneous and confirmatory diagnostic tests are not routinely performed by most laboratories, accounting for common misdiagnosis. Factors predictive of progression and appropriate tests for monitoring are still undefined. Several treatment options showed promising results in restoring the biochemical imbalance of MNGIE. The lack of controlled studies with appropriate follow-up accounts for the limited evidence informing diagnostic and therapeutic choices. The International Consensus Conference (ICC) on MNGIE, held in Bologna, Italy, on 30 March to 31 March 2019, aimed at an evidence-based consensus on diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of MNGIE among experts, patients, caregivers and other stakeholders involved in caring the condition. The conference was conducted according to the National Institute of Health Consensus Conference methodology. A consensus development panel formulated a set of statements and proposed a research agenda. Specifically, the ICC produced recommendations on: (a) diagnostic pathway; (b) prognosis and the main predictors of disease progression; (c) efficacy and safety of treatments; and (f) research priorities on diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. The Bologna ICC on diagnosis, management and treatment of MNGIE provided evidence-based guidance for clinicians incorporating patients' values and preferences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jimd.12300DOI Listing
March 2021

Frequency of diabetes and other comorbidities in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy and their impact on clinical presentation and response to therapy.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2020 10 31;91(10):1092-1099. Epub 2020 Aug 31.

Neuromuscular and Neuroimmunology Service, Humanitas Clinical and Research Center - IRCCS, Rozzano, Italy

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of different comorbidities in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP), and their impact on outcome, treatment choice and response.

Methods: Using a structured questionnaire, we collected information on comorbidities from 393 patients with CIDP fulfilling the European Federation of Neurological Societies and Peripheral Nerve Society criteria included in the Italian CIDP database.

Results: One or more comorbidities were reported by 294 patients (75%) and potentially influenced treatment choice in 192 (49%) leading to a less frequent use of corticosteroids. Response to treatment did not differ, however, from that in patients without comorbidities. Diabetes (14%), monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) (12%) and other immune disorders (16%) were significantly more frequent in patients with CIDP than expected in the general European population. Patients with diabetes had higher disability scores, worse quality of life and a less frequent treatment response compared with patients without diabetes. Patients with IgG-IgA or IgM MGUS had an older age at CIDP onset while patients with other immune disorders had a younger age at onset and were more frequently females. IgM MGUS was more frequent in patients with motor CIDP than in patients with typical CIDP.

Conclusions: Comorbidities are frequent in patients with CIDP and in almost 50% of them have an impact on treatment choice. Diabetes, MGUS and other immune diseases are more frequent in patients with CIDP than in the general population. Only diabetes seems, however, to have an impact on disease severity and treatment response possibly reflecting in some patients a coexisting diabetic neuropathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2020-323615DOI Listing
October 2020

Clinical and Molecular Spectrum of Myotonia and Periodic Paralyses Associated With Mutations in in a Large Cohort of Italian Patients.

Front Neurol 2020 29;11:646. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Neuroimmunology and Neuromuscular Diseases, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy.

Four main clinical phenotypes have been traditionally described in patients mutated in SCN4A, including sodium-channel myotonia (SCM), paramyotonia congenita (PMC), Hypokaliemic type II (HypoPP2), and Hyperkaliemic/Normokaliemic periodic paralysis (HyperPP/NormoPP); in addition, rare phenotypes associated with mutations in SCN4A are congenital myasthenic syndrome and congenital myopathy. However, only scarce data have been reported in literature on large patient cohorts including phenotypes characterized by myotonia and episodes of paralysis. We retrospectively investigated clinical and molecular features of 80 patients fulfilling the following criteria: (1) clinical and neurophysiological diagnosis of myotonia, or clinical diagnosis of PP, and (2) presence of a pathogenic SCN4A gene variant. Patients presenting at birth with episodic laryngospasm or congenital myopathy-like phenotype with later onset of myotonia were considered as neonatal SCN4A. PMC was observed in 36 (45%) patients, SCM in 30 (37.5%), Hyper/NormoPP in 7 (8.7%), HypoPP2 in 3 (3.7%), and neonatal SCN4A in 4 (5%). The median age at onset was significantly earlier in PMC than in SCM ( < 0.01) and in Hyper/NormoPP than in HypoPP2 ( = 0.02). Cold-induced myotonia was more frequently observed in PMC ( = 34) than in SCM ( = 23) ( = 0.04). No significant difference was found in age at onset of episodes of paralysis among PMC and PP or in frequency of permanent weakness between PP ( = 4), SCM ( = 5), and PMC ( = 10). PP was more frequently associated with mutations in the S4 region of the NaV1.4 channel protein compared to SCM and PMC ( < 0.01); mutations causing PMC were concentrated in the C-terminal region of the protein, while SCM-associated mutations were detected in all the protein domains. Our data suggest that skeletal muscle channelopathies associated with mutations in SCN4A represent a continuum in the clinical spectrum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.00646DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7403394PMC
July 2020

A 5-year clinical follow-up study from the Italian National Registry for FSHD.

J Neurol 2021 Jan 19;268(1):356-366. Epub 2020 Aug 19.

Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, via G. Campi 287, 41125, Modena, Italy.

Background: The natural history of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is undefined.

Methods: An observational cohort study was conducted in 246 FSHD1 patients. We split the analysis between index cases and carrier relatives and we classified all patients using the Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Form (CCEF). The disease progression was measured as a variation of the FSHD score performed at baseline and at the end of 5-year follow-up (ΔFSHD score).

Findings: Disease worsened in 79.4% (112/141) of index cases versus 38.1% (40/105) of carrier relatives and advanced more rapidly in index cases (ΔFSHD score 2.3 versus 1.2). The 79.1% (38/48) of asymptomatic carriers remained asymptomatic. The highest ΔFSHD score (1.7) was found in subject with facial and scapular weakness at baseline (category A), whereas in subjects with incomplete phenotype (facial or scapular weakness, category B) had lower ΔFSHD score (0.6) p < 0.0001.

Conclusions: The progression of disease is different between index cases and carrier relatives and the assessment of the CCEF categories has strong prognostic effect in FSHD1 patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-020-10144-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7815626PMC
January 2021

Liver transplantation in mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE): clinical long-term follow-up and pathogenic implications.

J Neurol 2020 Dec 18;267(12):3702-3710. Epub 2020 Jul 18.

IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, UOC Interaziendale Clinica Neurologica Rete Metropolitana (NeuroMet), Neurologia AOU S. Orsola-Malpighi, Policlinico Sant'Orsola-Malpighi, Building #2, Via Albertoni, 15, 40138, Bologna, Italy.

We report the longest follow-up of clinical and biochemical features of two previously reported adult mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) patients treated with liver transplantation (LT), adding information on a third, recently transplanted, patient. All three patients overcame the early post-operative period and tolerated immunosuppressive therapy. Plasma nucleoside levels dramatically decreased, with evidence of clinical improvement of ambulation and neuropathy. Conversely, other features of MNGIE, as gastrointestinal dysmotility, low weight, ophthalmoparesis, and leukoencephalopathy were essentially unchanged. A similar picture characterized two patients treated with allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT). In conclusion, LT promptly and stably normalizes nucleoside imbalance in MNGIE, stabilizing or improving some clinical parameters with marginal periprocedural mortality rate as compared to AHSCT. Nevertheless, restoring thymidine phosphorylase (TP) activity, achieved by both LT and AHSCT, does not allow a full clinical recovery, probably due to consolidated cellular damage and/or incomplete enzymatic tissue replacement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-020-10051-xDOI Listing
December 2020

Snake-Eye Myelopathy and Surgical Prognosis: Case Series and Systematic Literature Review.

J Clin Med 2020 Jul 12;9(7). Epub 2020 Jul 12.

Neurosurgery Unit, Department of Biotechnology and Life Sciences (DBSV), University of Insubria, Ospedale di Circolo e Fondazione Macchi, 21100 Varese, Italy.

The prognostic value of "snake-eyes" sign in spinal cord magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is unclear and the correlation with different pathological conditions has not been completely elucidated. In addition, its influence on surgical outcome has not been investigated in depth. A literature review according to PRISMA (Preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols) guidelines on the prognostic significance of "snake-eyes" sign in operated patients was performed. Clinical, neuroradiological, and surgical data of three institutional patients, were also retrospectively collected. The three patients, with radiological evidence of "snake-eyes" myelopathy, underwent appropriate surgical treatment for their condition, with no new post-operative neurological deficits and good outcome at follow-up. The literature review, however, reported conflicting results: the presence of "snake-eyes" sign seems a poor prognostic factor in degenerative cervical myelopathy, even if some cases can improve after surgery. "Snake-eyes" myelopathy represents a rare form of myelopathy; pathophysiology is still unclear. The frequency of this myelopathy may be greater than previously thought and according to our literature review it is mostly a negative prognostic factor. However, from our experience, prognosis might not be so dire, especially when tailored surgical intervention is performed; therefore, surgery should always be considered and based on the complete clinical, neurophysiological, and radiological data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072197DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7408892PMC
July 2020

Sensitivity and specificity of a commercial ELISA test for anti-MAG antibodies in patients with neuropathy.

J Neuroimmunol 2020 08 8;345:577288. Epub 2020 Jun 8.

Neuromuscular and Neuroimmunology Service, Humanitas Clinical and Research Institute, Rozzano, Milan, Italy; Department of Medical Biotechnology and Translational Medicine, Milan University, Milan, Italy.

For the diagnosis of anti-MAG polyneuropathy the commercial ELISA manufacturer currently recommends a cut-off of 1000 Bühlmann Titer Units (BTU). We analyzed sera from 80 anti-MAG neuropathy patients and 383 controls (with other neuropathies or healthy controls) to assess the ELISA sensitivity and specificity at different thresholds. A better combination of sensitivity/specificity was found at a threshold >1500 BTU than at >1000 BTU. The best value of specificity was obtained at threshold >7000 BTU. There was a diagnostic grey area between 1500 and 7000 BTU in which the clinical phenotypes as well as electrophysiological studies need to be carefully assessed particularly to differentiate CIDP and anti-MAG neuropathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneuroim.2020.577288DOI Listing
August 2020

Sural nerve biopsy: current role and comparison with serum neurofilament light chain levels.

J Neurol 2020 Oct 27;267(10):2881-2887. Epub 2020 May 27.

Neurology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Policlinico GB Rossi, P.le LA Scuro 10, 37134, Verona, Italy.

The diagnosis of peripheral neuropathies can be challenging with consequent difficulties in patients' management. The aim of this study was to explore the current diagnostic role of sural nerve biopsy and to compare pathological findings with serum neurofilament light chain levels (NfL) as biomarkers of axonal damage. We collected demographic, clinical, and paraclinical data of patients referred over 1 year to the Neurology Unit, University of Verona, Italy, to perform nerve biopsy for diagnostic purposes, and we analyzed NfL levels in available paired sera using a high sensitive technique (Quanterix, Simoa). Eighty-two patients were identified (37.8% females, median age 65.5 years). Neuropathy onset was frequently insidious (68.3%) with a slowly progressive course (76.8%). Lower limbs were usually involved (81.7%), with a predominance of sensory over motor symptoms (74.4% vs 42.7%). The most common neuropathological findings were a demyelinating pattern (76.8%), clusters of regenerations (58.5%), and unmyelinated fibers involvement on ultrastructural evaluation (52.4%). A definite pathological diagnosis was achieved in 29 cases, and in 20.7% of patients, the referral clinical diagnosis was modified. Coexistent hematological conditions and hepatitis were diagnostic confounding factors (p = 0.012 and 0.034, respectively). In the analyzed paired sera (n = 37), an inverse despite not significant relationship between NfL values and fiber density was observed (Spearman's rho - 0.312, p = 0.056). In addition, we noted increased serum NfL values of patients with active axonal degeneration. Nerve biopsy remains a useful diagnostic investigation to achieve a correct diagnosis and guide patients' management in selected cases of peripheral neuropathy. Serum NfL is an accessible and potential valuable marker of axonal damage in these conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-020-09949-3DOI Listing
October 2020

Clinical characteristics and outcomes of inpatients with neurologic disease and COVID-19 in Brescia, Lombardy, Italy.

Neurology 2020 08 22;95(7):e910-e920. Epub 2020 May 22.

From the Neurology Unit (A.B., A. Pilotto, I.L., M.G., E.B., S.B., M.C., S.C.P., V.C., A.I., M. Locatelli, S.M., B.R., L.R., A.S., F.S.d.C., N.Z., B.B., A. Pezzini, A. Padovani), Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia; Neurology Unit (A.B., A. Pilotto, C.A., A.A., S.C., E.C., M.F., S. Gipponi, P.L., L.P., R.R., L.R., I.V., B.B., A. Pezzini, A. Padovani), Vascular Neurology Unit (E.P., A.C., I.D., M.G., N.G., R.S., V.V., M.M.), and Neurophysiology Unit (S. Gazzina, U.L.), Department of Neurological and Vision Sciences, ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia; Neurology Unit (M.B.), University of Bologna; Department of Neuroimmunology and Neuromuscular Diseases (L.B.) and Neurology (M. Leonardi), Public Health and Disability Unit, Foundation IRCCS Neurological Institute Carlo Besta, Milan; and Neurology Unit (P.I.), Fondazione Poliambulanza Hospital, Brescia, Italy.

Objective: To report clinical and laboratory characteristics, treatment, and clinical outcomes of patients admitted for neurologic diseases with and without coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Methods: In this retrospective, single-center cohort study, we included all adult inpatients with confirmed COVID-19 admitted to a neuro-COVID unit beginning February 21, 2020, who had been discharged or died by April 5, 2020. Demographic, clinical, treatment, and laboratory data were extracted from medical records and compared (false discovery rate corrected) to those of neurologic patients without COVID-19 admitted in the same period.

Results: One hundred seventy-three patients were included in this study, of whom 56 were positive and 117 were negative for COVID-19. Patients with COVID-19 were older (77.0 years, interquartile range [IQR] 67.0-83.8 years vs 70.1 years, IQR 52.9-78.6 years, = 0.006), had a different distribution regarding admission diagnoses, including cerebrovascular disorders (n = 43, 76.8% vs n = 68, 58.1%), and had a higher quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) score on admission (0.9, IQR 0.7-1.1 vs 0.5, IQR 0.4-0.6, = 0.006). In-hospital mortality rates (n = 21, 37.5% vs n = 5, 4.3%, < 0.001) and incident delirium (n = 15, 26.8% vs n = 9, 7.7%, = 0.003) were significantly higher in the COVID-19 group. Patients with COVID-19 and without COVID with stroke had similar baseline characteristics, but patients with COVID-19 had higher modified Rankin Scale scores at discharge (5.0, IQR 2.0-6.0 vs 2.0, IQR 1.0-3.0, < 0.001), with a significantly lower number of patients with a good outcome (n = 11, 25.6% vs n = 48, 70.6%, < 0.001). In patients with COVID-19, multivariable regressions showed increasing odds of in-hospital death associated with higher qSOFA scores (odds ratio [OR] 4.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.21-16.5, = 0.025), lower platelet count (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97-0.99, = 0.005), and higher lactate dehydrogenase (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.03, = 0.009) on admission.

Conclusions: Patients with COVID-19 admitted with neurologic disease, including stroke, have a significantly higher in-hospital mortality and incident delirium and higher disability than patients without COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000009848DOI Listing
August 2020

Impact of environmental factors and physical activity on disability and quality of life in CIDP.

J Neurol 2020 Sep 19;267(9):2683-2691. Epub 2020 May 19.

Neuromuscular and Neuroimmunology Service, Humanitas Clinical and Research Center-IRCCS, Rozzano, Milan, Italy.

A few observational studies and randomized trials suggest that exercise and rehabilitation may improve activity limitation and quality of life (QoL) in patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP), but the impact of other modifiable factors on the severity of the disease is not well understood. Using a structured questionnaire, we collected data on lifestyle and dietary habits of the patients included in the Italian CIDP database to investigate the possible influence of modifiable lifestyle factors on disability and QoL. Questionnaire data were available for 323 patients. The effect of lifestyle and dietary exposures on impairment, disability and QoL was evaluated using logistic regression models, adjusting for age, sex, disease duration, physical activity and smoking. Physical activity was associated with lower sensory impairment by the ISS scale, less disability by the INCAT and RODS scale and a better QoL in all the domains of EURO-QoL scale with the exception of anxiety/depression. None of the other parameters had an impact on these scales. This study adds evidence to the possible role of physical activity in improving symptom severity, disability and QoL in patients with CIDP. None of the other environmental factors investigated appeared to have an impact on the severity and health perception of CIDP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-020-09916-yDOI Listing
September 2020

Phenotypic Variability Among Patients With D4Z4 Reduced Allele Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 05 1;3(5):e204040. Epub 2020 May 1.

Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

Importance: Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is considered an autosomal dominant disorder, associated with the deletion of tandemly arrayed D4Z4 repetitive elements. The extensive use of molecular analysis of the D4Z4 locus for FSHD diagnosis has revealed wide clinical variability, suggesting that subgroups of patients exist among carriers of the D4Z4 reduced allele (DRA).

Objective: To investigate the clinical expression of FSHD in the genetic subgroup of carriers of a DRA with 7 to 8 repeat units (RUs).

Design, Setting, And Participants: This multicenter cross-sectional study included 422 carriers of DRA with 7 to 8 RUs (187 unrelated probands and 235 relatives) from a consecutive sample of 280 probands and 306 relatives from the Italian National Registry for FSHD collected between 2008 and 2016. Participants were evaluated by the Italian Clinical Network for FSHD, and all clinical and molecular data were collected in the Italian National Registry for FSHD database. Data analysis was conducted from January 2017 to June 2018.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The phenotypic classification of probands and relatives was obtained by applying the Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Form which classifies patients in the 4 following categories: (1) participants presenting facial and scapular girdle muscle weakness typical of FSHD (category A, subcategories A1-A3), (2) participants with muscle weakness limited to scapular girdle or facial muscles (category B, subcategories B1 and B2), (3) asymptomatic or healthy participants (category C, subcategories C1 and C2), and (4) participants with myopathic phenotypes presenting clinical features not consistent with FSHD canonical phenotype (category D, subcategories D1 and D2).

Results: A total of 187 probands (mean [SD] age at last neurological examination, 53.5 [15.2] years; 103 [55.1%] men) and 235 relatives (mean [SD] age at last neurologic examination, 45.1 [17.0] years; 104 [44.7%] men) with a DRA with 7 to 8 RUs and a molecular diagnosis of FSHD were evaluated. Of 187 probands, 99 (52.9%; 95% CI, 45.7%-60.1%) displayed the classic FSHD phenotype, whereas 86 (47.1%; 95% CI, 39.8%-54.3%) presented incomplete or atypical phenotypes. Of 235 carrier relatives from 106 unrelated families, 124 (52.8%; 95% CI, 46.4%-59.7%) had no motor impairment, whereas a small number (38 [16.2%; 95% CI, 9.8%-23.1%]) displayed the classic FSHD phenotype, and 73 (31.0%; 95% CI, 24.7%-38.0%) presented with incomplete or atypical phenotypes. In 37 of 106 families (34.9%; 95% CI, 25.9%-44.8%), the proband was the only participant presenting with a myopathic phenotype, while only 20 families (18.9%; 95% CI, 11.9%-27.6%) had a member with autosomal dominant FSHD.

Conclusions And Relevance: This study found large phenotypic variability associated with individuals carrying a DRA with 7 to 8 RUs, in contrast to the indication that a positive molecular test is the only determining aspect for FSHD diagnosis. These findings suggest that carriers of a DRA with 7 to 8 RUs constitute a genetic subgroup different from classic FSHD. Based on these results, it is recommended that clinicians use the Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Form for clinical classification and, whenever possible, study the extended family to provide the most adequate clinical management and genetic counseling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.4040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7195625PMC
May 2020

RELEVANCE OF DIAGNOSTIC INVESTIGATIONS IN CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DEMYELINATING POLIRADICULONEUROPATHY: DATA FROM THE ITALIAN CIDP DATABASE.

J Peripher Nerv Syst 2020 04 28. Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Neuromuscular and Neuroimmunology Service, Humanitas Clinical and Research Institute, Rozzano, Milan, Italy.

Background and aims to report the clinical features and the relevance of diagnostic investigations in patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP). We retrospectively reviewed data from patients with a clinical diagnosis of CIDP included in a national database. Among the 500 included patients with a clinical diagnosis of CIDP, 437 patients (87%) fulfilled the EFNS/PNS criteria for CIDP (definite in 407, probable in 26, possible in four). In 352 patients (86%) motor nerve conduction abnormalities consistent with demyelination were sufficient for the diagnosis of definite CIDP. In 55 patients this diagnosis required the addition of one or two (from probable or from possible CIDP, respectively) supportive tests, while in 20 cases they improved the diagnosis from possible to probable CIDP, seven patients did not change diagnosis. Considering these 85 patients, CSF studies were performed in 79 cases (93%) upgrading the certainty of diagnosis in 59% of examined patients. Sensory nerve conduction studies were performed in 85% of patients with an improvement of diagnosis in 32% of cases. Nerve biopsy and US/MRI exams resulted positive in about 40% of examined patients, but they were performed in few patients (7 patients and 16 patients, respectively). A response to therapy was present in 84% of treated patients (n = 77), contributing to support the diagnosis in 40 patients in whom the other supportive criteria were not sufficient. In most patients with CIDP the diagnosis is possible solely with motor nerve conduction studies while other investigations may help improving the diagnosis in a minority of patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jns.12378DOI Listing
April 2020

Interpretation of the Epigenetic Signature of Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy in Light of Genotype-Phenotype Studies.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Apr 10;21(7). Epub 2020 Apr 10.

Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41125 Modena, Italy.

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is characterized by incomplete penetrance and intra-familial clinical variability. The disease has been associated with the genetic and epigenetic features of the D4Z4 repetitive elements at 4q35. Recently, D4Z4 hypomethylation has been proposed as a reliable marker in the FSHD diagnosis. We exploited the Italian Registry for FSHD, in which FSHD families are classified using the Clinical Comprehensive Evaluation Form (CCEF). A total of 122 index cases showing a classical FSHD phenotype (CCEF, category A) and 110 relatives were selected to test with the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, the diagnostic and predictive value of D4Z4 methylation. Moreover, we performed DNA methylation analysis in selected large families with reduced penetrance characterized by the co-presence of subjects carriers of one D4Z4 reduced allele with no signs of disease or presenting the classic FSHD clinical phenotype. We observed a wide variability in the D4Z4 methylation levels among index cases revealing no association with clinical manifestation or disease severity. By extending the analysis to family members, we revealed the low predictive value of D4Z4 methylation in detecting the affected condition. In view of the variability in D4Z4 methylation profiles observed in our large cohort, we conclude that D4Z4 methylation does not mirror the clinical expression of FSHD. We recommend that measurement of this epigenetic mark must be interpreted with caution in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21072635DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7178248PMC
April 2020

Psychosocial impact of sport activity in neuromuscular disorders.

Neurol Sci 2020 Sep 4;41(9):2561-2567. Epub 2020 Apr 4.

Nemo Sud Clinical Centre for Neuromuscular Disorders, Messina, Italy.

Previous studies demonstrated the benefits of motor exercise and physical activity in neuromuscular disorders. However, very few papers assessed the effects of sport practise. The aim of this multicentre study was to assess the impact of sport activity on self-esteem and emotional regulation in a cohort of athletes with neuromuscular disorders. The 38 patients with Duchenne, Becker or other types of muscular dystrophy or spinal muscular atrophy practising sport (aged 13-49 years) and 39 age-, gender-, disability- and disease-matched patients not practising sport were enrolled. Testing procedures to assess self-esteem, anxiety and depression disorder, personality trait and quality of life (QoL) were used. Patients practising sport had a significantly higher self-esteem, lower level of depression, greater social own identity and adherence and QoL. Frequency of sport activity may represent a complementary therapy in neuromuscular disorders to improve mental and social well-being.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10072-020-04345-1DOI Listing
September 2020

The Genetic Landscape of Dystrophin Mutations in Italy: A Nationwide Study.

Front Genet 2020 3;11:131. Epub 2020 Mar 3.

Unit of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.

Dystrophinopathies are inherited diseases caused by mutations in the dystrophin () gene for which testing is mandatory for genetic diagnosis, reproductive choices and eligibility for personalized trials. We genotyped the gene in our Italian cohort of 1902 patients (BMD n = 740, 39%; DMD n =1162, 61%) within a nationwide study involving 11 diagnostic centers in a 10-year window (2008-2017). In DMD patients, we found deletions in 57%, duplications in 11% and small mutations in 32%. In BMD, we found deletions in 78%, duplications in 9% and small mutations in 13%. In BMD, there are a higher number of deletions, and small mutations are more frequent than duplications. Among small mutations that are generally frequent in both phenotypes, 44% of DMD and 36% of BMD are nonsense, thus, eligible for stop codon read-through therapy; 63% of all out-of-frame deletions are eligible for single exon skipping. Patients were also assigned to Italian regions and showed interesting regional differences in mutation distribution. The full genetic characterization in this large, nationwide cohort has allowed us to draw several correlations between DMD/BMD genotype landscapes and mutation frequency, mutation types, mutation locations along the gene, exon/intron architecture, and relevant protein domain, with effects on population genetic characteristics and new personalized therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2020.00131DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7063120PMC
March 2020

Molecular Genetics of Niemann-Pick Type C Disease in Italy: An Update on 105 Patients and Description of 18 Novel Variants.

J Clin Med 2020 Mar 3;9(3). Epub 2020 Mar 3.

Regional Coordinator Centre for Rare Diseases, University Hospital of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy.

Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease is an autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disorder caused by mutations in or genes. In 2009, the molecular characterization of 44 NPC Italian patients has been published. Here, we present an update of the genetic findings in 105 Italian NPC patients belonging to 83 unrelated families (77 NPC1 and 6 NPC2). and genes were studied following an algorithm recently published. Eighty-four different and five alleles were identified. Only two alleles remained non detected. Sixty-two percent of alleles were due to missense variants. The most frequent mutation was the p.F284Lfs*26 (5.8% of the alleles). All mutations were found in the homozygous state, and all but one was severe. Among newly diagnosed patients, 18 novel mutations were identified. The pathogenic nature of 7/9 missense alleles and 3/4 intronic variants was confirmed by filipin staining and NPC1 protein analysis or mRNA expression in patient's fibroblasts. Taken together, our previous published data and new results provide an overall picture of the molecular characteristics of NPC patients diagnosed so far in Italy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9030679DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7141276PMC
March 2020

Awareness of rare and genetic neurological diseases among italian neurologist. A national survey.

Neurol Sci 2020 Jun 27;41(6):1567-1570. Epub 2020 Jan 27.

Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neurosciences, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.

Rare neurological diseases (RNDs) are a heterogeneous group of disorders mainly affecting the central and peripheral nervous systems, representing almost 50% of all rare diseases; this explains why neurologists are very often involved in their diagnosis, treatment and research. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively describe the awareness of RNDs among the neurological community of the Italian Society of Neurology (SIN). A survey of the Italian Neurogenetics and Rare diseases group of the SIN, similar to what was submitted to the members of the EAN Task Force on Rare Neurologic Diseases and to EAN Panels Scientific Committee Management Groups, was launched in January 2019 in order to verify the specific Italian situations and possibly the regional differences. Answers were collected online. We observed that Italian Members of the SIN Neurogenetics and Rare Neurologic Diseases Scientific Group are well aware of the burden posed by RNDs but at the national and regional level, the relative awareness is sketchy and disparate. Although many national initiatives have been undertaken to facilitate the diagnosis and management in Italy, our survey reveals that much works has to be done in supporting RNDs patients, including a deeper collaboration between politics, universities and all stakeholders in the field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10072-020-04271-2DOI Listing
June 2020

Editorial: Iron and Neurodegeneration.

Front Neurosci 2019 20;13:1382. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.01382DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6933611PMC
December 2019

Mitochondrial epilepsy: a cross-sectional nationwide Italian survey.

Neurogenetics 2020 04 3;21(2):87-96. Epub 2020 Jan 3.

IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris, Pisa, Italy.

Many aspects of epilepsy in mitochondrial disorders (MDs) need to be further clarified. To this aim, we explored retrospectively a cohort of individuals with MDs querying the "Nationwide Italian Collaborative Network of Mitochondrial Diseases" (NICNMD) database (1467 patients included since 2010 to December 2016). We collected information on age at epilepsy onset, seizure type and frequency, genetic findings, and antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). At the time of our survey, 147/1467 (10%) patients in the NICNMD database had epilepsy. Complete information was available only for 98 patients, 52 males and 46 females, aged 5-92 years (mean age 40.4 ± 18.4; 14/98 children/teenagers and 84 adults). Epilepsy was the presenting feature of MD in 46/98 (47%) individuals, with onset at a median age of 19 years (range, 0.2-68; < 3 years in 14/97 (14%), 3-19 years in 36/97 (37%), > 19 years in 47/97 (49%)). Moreover, 91/98 patients (93%) displayed multiple seizures, with daily or weekly frequency in 25/91 (28%). Interictal EEG was abnormal in 70/78 (90%) patients, displaying abnormal background (47/70; 67%) and/or interictal paroxysms (53/70; 76%). Eighty of 90 patients (89%) displayed a 50-100% reduction of seizures on AEDs; levetiracetam was the most commonly used. Forty-one patients (42%) carried the m.3243A>G mutation, 16 (16%) the m.8344A>G, and 9 (9%) nuclear DNA (nDNA) mutations. Individuals with early-onset seizures mainly carried nDNA mutations and had a more severe epilepsy phenotype, higher seizure frequency, and disorganized background EEG activity. A better definition of epilepsy in MDs may foster the diagnostic workup, management, and treatment of affected patients, and allow more homogeneous patient stratification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10048-019-00601-5DOI Listing
April 2020

Human leukocyte antigens class II in CIDP spectrum neuropathies.

J Neurol Sci 2019 Dec 23;407:116533. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Center for Neuromuscular Diseases, Unit of Neurology, ASST "Spedali Civili" and University of Brescia, Italy. Electronic address:

CIDP spectrum encompasses several clinical variants and the reasons of the heterogeneous clinical expression and the variable response to therapy are scarcely known. HLA associations are common in dysimmune conditions. In CIDP, few studies reported no associations or HLA-DR13/DQ6 association in some populations but, to date, a clear confirmed association is lacking. We analyzed expression of HLA-DR and DQ haplotypes in 24 CIDP patients and 216 healthy subject. HLA-DR3 and DR3/DQ2 were significantly more frequent in CIDP patients than in the control group. The DR3 and DR3/DQ2 positive patients present with more frequent relapsing course, worse response to IVIg, higher inflammatory neuropathy sensory sumscore (ISS) and Rotterdam Inflammatory Neuropathy Cause and Treatment Scale (INCAT) than negative patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2019.116533DOI Listing
December 2019

Autosomal recessive Bethlem myopathy: A clinical, genetic and functional study.

Neuromuscul Disord 2019 09 30;29(9):657-663. Epub 2019 Jul 30.

Center for Neuromuscular Diseases, Unit of Neurology, ASST "Spedali Civili", Brescia, Italy. Electronic address:

Bethlem myopathy represents the milder form of the spectrum of Collagen VI-related dystrophies, which are characterized by a clinical continuum between the two extremities, the Bethlem myopathy and the Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy, and include less defined intermediate phenotypes. Bethlem myopathy is mainly an autosomal dominant disorder and the causing mutations occur in the COL6A genes encoding for the α1 (COL6A1), α2 (COL6A2) and α3 (COL6A3) chains. However, few cases of recessive inheritance have been also reported. We here describe clinical, genetic and functional findings in a recessive Bethlem myopathy family harbouring two novel pathogenic mutations in the COL6A2 gene. Two adult siblings presented with muscle weakness and wasting, elbows and Achilles tendon retractions, lumbar hyperlordosis, waddling gait and positive Gowers' sign. Muscle biopsy showed a dystrophic pattern. Molecular analysis of the COL6A2 gene revealed the novel paternally-inherited nonsense p.Gln889* mutation and the maternally-inherited p.Pro260_Lys261insProPro small insertion. Fibroblast studies in both affected patients showed the concomitant reduction in the amount of normal Collagen VI (p.Gln889*) and impairment of Collagen VI secretion and assembly (p.Pro260_Lys261insProPro). Each of the two variants behave as a recessive mutation as shown by the asymptomatic heterozygous parents, while their concomitant effects determined a relatively mild Bethlem myopathy phenotype. This study confirms the occurrence of recessive inherited Bethlem myopathy and expands the genetic heterogeneity of this group of muscle diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2019.07.007DOI Listing
September 2019