Publications by authors named "Sarah Dyack"

35 Publications

Leukoencephalopathy with calcifications and cysts: Genetic and phenotypic spectrum.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 01 7;185(1):15-25. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Biallelic mutations in SNORD118, encoding the small nucleolar RNA U8, cause leukoencephalopathy with calcifications and cysts (LCC). Given the difficulty in interpreting the functional consequences of variants in nonprotein encoding genes, and the high allelic polymorphism across SNORD118 in controls, we set out to provide a description of the molecular pathology and clinical spectrum observed in a cohort of patients with LCC. We identified 64 affected individuals from 56 families. Age at presentation varied from 3 weeks to 67 years, with disease onset after age 40 years in eight patients. Ten patients had died. We recorded 44 distinct, likely pathogenic, variants in SNORD118. Fifty two of 56 probands were compound heterozygotes, with parental consanguinity reported in only three families. Forty nine of 56 probands were either heterozygous (46) or homozygous (three) for a mutation involving one of seven nucleotides that facilitate a novel intramolecular interaction between the 5' end and 3' extension of precursor-U8. There was no obvious genotype-phenotype correlation to explain the marked variability in age at onset. Complementing recently published functional analyses in a zebrafish model, these data suggest that LCC most often occurs due to combinatorial severe and milder mutations, with the latter mostly affecting 3' end processing of precursor-U8.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.61907DOI Listing
January 2021

Evaluation of the quality of clinical data collection for a pan-Canadian cohort of children affected by inherited metabolic diseases: lessons learned from the Canadian Inherited Metabolic Diseases Research Network.

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2020 04 10;15(1):89. Epub 2020 Apr 10.

University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Background: The Canadian Inherited Metabolic Diseases Research Network (CIMDRN) is a pan-Canadian practice-based research network of 14 Hereditary Metabolic Disease Treatment Centres and over 50 investigators. CIMDRN aims to develop evidence to improve health outcomes for children with inherited metabolic diseases (IMD). We describe the development of our clinical data collection platform, discuss our data quality management plan, and present the findings to date from our data quality assessment, highlighting key lessons that can serve as a resource for future clinical research initiatives relating to rare diseases.

Methods: At participating centres, children born from 2006 to 2015 who were diagnosed with one of 31 targeted IMD were eligible to participate in CIMDRN's clinical research stream. For all participants, we collected a minimum data set that includes information about demographics and diagnosis. For children with five prioritized IMD, we collected longitudinal data including interventions, clinical outcomes, and indicators of disease management. The data quality management plan included: design of user-friendly and intuitive clinical data collection forms; validation measures at point of data entry, designed to minimize data entry errors; regular communications with each CIMDRN site; and routine review of aggregate data.

Results: As of June 2019, CIMDRN has enrolled 798 participants of whom 764 (96%) have complete minimum data set information. Results from our data quality assessment revealed that potential data quality issues were related to interpretation of definitions of some variables, participants who transferred care across institutions, and the organization of information within the patient charts (e.g., neuropsychological test results). Little information was missing regarding disease ascertainment and diagnosis (e.g., ascertainment method - 0% missing).

Discussion: Using several data quality management strategies, we have established a comprehensive clinical database that provides information about care and outcomes for Canadian children affected by IMD. We describe quality issues and lessons for consideration in future clinical research initiatives for rare diseases, including accurately accommodating different clinic workflows and balancing comprehensiveness of data collection with available resources. Integrating data collection within clinical care, leveraging electronic medical records, and implementing core outcome sets will be essential for achieving sustainability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-020-01358-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7149838PMC
April 2020

Outcomes in pediatric studies of medium-chain acyl-coA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency and phenylketonuria (PKU): a review.

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2020 01 14;15(1):12. Epub 2020 Jan 14.

School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Inherited metabolic diseases (IMDs) are a group of individually rare single-gene diseases. For many IMDs, there is a paucity of high-quality evidence that evaluates the effectiveness of clinical interventions. Clinical effectiveness trials of IMD interventions could be supported through the development of core outcome sets (COSs), a recommended minimum set of standardized, high-quality outcomes and associated outcome measurement instruments to be incorporated by all trials in an area of study. We began the process of establishing pediatric COSs for two IMDs, medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency and phenylketonuria (PKU), by reviewing published literature to describe outcomes reported by authors, identify heterogeneity in outcomes across studies, and assemble a candidate list of outcomes.

Methods: We used a comprehensive search strategy to identify primary studies and guidelines relevant to children with MCAD deficiency and PKU, extracting study characteristics and outcome information from eligible studies including outcome measurement instruments for select outcomes. Informed by an established framework and a previously published pediatric COS, outcomes were grouped into five, mutually-exclusive, a priori core areas: growth and development, life impact, pathophysiological manifestations, resource use, and death.

Results: For MCAD deficiency, we identified 83 outcomes from 52 articles. The most frequently represented core area was pathophysiological manifestations, with 33 outcomes reported in 29/52 articles (56%). Death was the most frequently reported outcome. One-third of outcomes were reported by a single study. The most diversely measured outcome was cognition and intelligence/IQ for which eight unique measurement instruments were reported among 14 articles. For PKU, we identified 97 outcomes from 343 articles. The most frequently represented core area was pathophysiological manifestations with 31 outcomes reported in 281/343 articles (82%). Phenylalanine concentration was the most frequently reported outcome. Sixteen percent of outcomes were reported by a single study. Similar to MCAD deficiency, the most diversely measured PKU outcome was cognition and intelligence/IQ with 39 different instruments reported among 82 articles.

Conclusions: Heterogeneity of reported outcomes and outcome measurement instruments across published studies for both MCAD deficiency and PKU highlights the need for COSs for these diseases, to promote the use of meaningful outcomes and facilitate comparisons across studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-019-1276-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6961328PMC
January 2020

High diagnostic yield of direct Sanger sequencing in the diagnosis of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses.

JIMD Rep 2019 Nov 3;50(1):20-30. Epub 2019 Sep 3.

Division of Clinical and Metabolic Genetics, Department of Paediatrics University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children Toronto Ontario Canada.

Background: Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses are neurodegenerative disorders. To investigate the diagnostic yield of direct Sanger sequencing of the genes, we reviewed Molecular Genetics Laboratory Database for molecular genetic test results of the genes from a single clinical molecular diagnostic laboratory.

Methods: We reviewed electronic patient charts. We used consent forms and Research Electronic Data Capture questionnaires for the patients from outside of our Institution. We reclassified all variants in the genes.

Results: Six hundred and ninety three individuals underwent the direct Sanger sequencing of the genes for the diagnosis of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses. There were 343 symptomatic patients and 350 family members. Ninety-one symptomatic patients had molecular genetic diagnosis of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses including (n = 10), () (n = 33), (n = 17), (n = 7), (n = 10), () (n = 10), and (n = 4) diseases. The diagnostic yield of direct Sanger sequencing of genes was 27% in symptomatic patients. We report detailed clinical and investigation results of 33 NCL patients. Juvenile onset () and adult onset diseases were nonclassical phenotypes.

Conclusion: In our study, the diagnostic yield of direct Sanger sequencing was close to diagnostic yield of whole exome sequencing. Developmental regression, cognitive decline, visual impairment and cerebral and/or cerebellar atrophy in brain MRI are significant clinical and neuroimaging denominators to include NCL in the differential diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmd2.12057DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6850977PMC
November 2019

p21 protein-activated kinase 1 is associated with severe regressive autism, and epilepsy.

Clin Genet 2019 11 13;96(5):449-455. Epub 2019 Aug 13.

Department of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University and IWK Health Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The p21-activated kinase (PAK) family of proteins function as key effectors of RHO family GTPases in mammalian cells to regulate many pathways including Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK and Wnt/β-catenin, amongst others. Here we report an individual with a novel autosomal dominant disorder characterized by severe regressive autism, intellectual disability, and epilepsy. Exome sequencing of the proband and her parents revealed a de novo variant in the PAK1 gene ([NM_001128620] c.362C>T/p.Pro121Leu). Studies in patient cells showed a clear effect on PAK1 protein function, including altered phosphorylation of targets (JNK and ERK), decreased abundance of β-catenin, and concomitant altered expression downstream of these key regulators. Our findings add PAK1 to the list of PAK proteins and kinases which when mutated cause rare genetic diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cge.13618DOI Listing
November 2019

Health Care for Mitochondrial Disorders in Canada: A Survey of Physicians.

Can J Neurol Sci 2019 11;46(6):717-726

School of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Background: An improved understanding of diagnostic and treatment practices for patients with rare primary mitochondrial disorders can support benchmarking against guidelines and establish priorities for evaluative research. We aimed to describe physician care for patients with mitochondrial diseases in Canada, including variation in care.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of Canadian physicians involved in the diagnosis and/or ongoing care of patients with mitochondrial diseases. We used snowball sampling to identify potentially eligible participants, who were contacted by mail up to five times and invited to complete a questionnaire by mail or internet. The questionnaire addressed: personal experience in providing care for mitochondrial disorders; diagnostic and treatment practices; challenges in accessing tests or treatments; and views regarding research priorities.

Results: We received 58 survey responses (52% response rate). Most respondents (83%) reported spending 20% or less of their clinical practice time caring for patients with mitochondrial disorders. We identified important variation in diagnostic care, although assessments frequently reported as diagnostically helpful (e.g., brain magnetic resonance imaging, MRI/MR spectroscopy) were also recommended in published guidelines. Approximately half (49%) of participants would recommend "mitochondrial cocktails" for all or most patients, but we identified variation in responses regarding specific vitamins and cofactors. A majority of physicians recommended studies on the development of effective therapies as the top research priority.

Conclusions: While Canadian physicians' views about diagnostic care and disease management are aligned with published recommendations, important variations in care reflect persistent areas of uncertainty and a need for empirical evidence to support and update standard protocols.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/cjn.2019.240DOI Listing
November 2019

pathogenic variants: risk for thoracic aortic disease and associated complications from the Montalcino Aortic Consortium.

J Med Genet 2019 04 19;56(4):252-260. Epub 2019 Jan 19.

Department of Internal Medicine, McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas, USA.

Background: Pathogenic variants in cause thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections, along with aneurysms and rupture of other arteries. Here, we examined differences in clinical presentation of aortic events (dissection or surgical repair of an aneurysm) with respect to age and variant type in an international cohort of individuals with variants.

Methods: Aortic status and events, vital status and clinical features were abstracted through retrospective review of medical records of 212 individuals with 51 unique variants, including haploinsufficiency (HI) and missense substitutions in the MH2 domain, as well as novel in-frame deletions and missense variants in the MH1 domain.

Results: Aortic events were documented in 37% of cases, with dissections accounting for 70% of events. The median age at first aortic event was significantly lower in individuals with MH2 missense variants than those with HI variants (42years vs 49 years; p=0.003), but there was no difference in frequency of aortic events by variant type. The cumulative risk of an aortic event was 50% at 54 years of age. No aortic events in childhood were observed.

Conclusions: pathogenic variants cause thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections in the majority of individuals with variable age of onset and reduced penetrance. Of the covariates examined, the type of underlying variant was responsible for some of this variation. Later onset of aortic events and the absence of aortic events in children associated with variants support gene-specific management of this disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmedgenet-2018-105583DOI Listing
April 2019

De Novo Truncating Mutations in WASF1 Cause Intellectual Disability with Seizures.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 07 28;103(1):144-153. Epub 2018 Jun 28.

NIHR BioResource, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK; Department of Medical Genetics, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 0XY, UK. Electronic address:

Next-generation sequencing has been invaluable in the elucidation of the genetic etiology of many subtypes of intellectual disability in recent years. Here, using exome sequencing and whole-genome sequencing, we identified three de novo truncating mutations in WAS protein family member 1 (WASF1) in five unrelated individuals with moderate to profound intellectual disability with autistic features and seizures. WASF1, also known as WAVE1, is part of the WAVE complex and acts as a mediator between Rac-GTPase and actin to induce actin polymerization. The three mutations connected by Matchmaker Exchange were c.1516C>T (p.Arg506Ter), which occurs in three unrelated individuals, c.1558C>T (p.Gln520Ter), and c.1482delinsGCCAGG (p.Ile494MetfsTer23). All three variants are predicted to partially or fully disrupt the C-terminal actin-binding WCA domain. Functional studies using fibroblast cells from two affected individuals with the c.1516C>T mutation showed a truncated WASF1 and a defect in actin remodeling. This study provides evidence that de novo heterozygous mutations in WASF1 cause a rare form of intellectual disability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.06.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6037130PMC
July 2018

Variants in EXOSC9 Disrupt the RNA Exosome and Result in Cerebellar Atrophy with Spinal Motor Neuronopathy.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 05;102(5):858-873

Neuromuscular and Neurogenetic Disorders of Childhood Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

The exosome is a conserved multi-protein complex that is essential for correct RNA processing. Recessive variants in exosome components EXOSC3, EXOSC8, and RBM7 cause various constellations of pontocerebellar hypoplasia (PCH), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), and central nervous system demyelination. Here, we report on four unrelated affected individuals with recessive variants in EXOSC9 and the effect of the variants on the function of the RNA exosome in vitro in affected individuals' fibroblasts and skeletal muscle and in vivo in zebrafish. The clinical presentation was severe, early-onset, progressive SMA-like motor neuronopathy, cerebellar atrophy, and in one affected individual, congenital fractures of the long bones. Three affected individuals of different ethnicity carried the homozygous c.41T>C (p.Leu14Pro) variant, whereas one affected individual was compound heterozygous for c.41T>C (p.Leu14Pro) and c.481C>T (p.Arg161). We detected reduced EXOSC9 in fibroblasts and skeletal muscle and observed a reduction of the whole multi-subunit exosome complex on blue-native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. RNA sequencing of fibroblasts and skeletal muscle detected significant >2-fold changes in genes involved in neuronal development and cerebellar and motor neuron degeneration, demonstrating the widespread effect of the variants. Morpholino oligonucleotide knockdown and CRISPR/Cas9-mediated mutagenesis of exosc9 in zebrafish recapitulated aspects of the human phenotype, as they have in other zebrafish models of exosomal disease. Specifically, portions of the cerebellum and hindbrain were absent, and motor neurons failed to develop and migrate properly. In summary, we show that variants in EXOSC9 result in a neurological syndrome combining cerebellar atrophy and spinal motoneuronopathy, thus expanding the list of human exosomopathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.03.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986733PMC
May 2018

Evidence for Cholinergic Dysfunction in Autosomal Dominant Kufs Disease.

Can J Neurol Sci 2018 03;45(2):150-157

3Department of Medicine (Geriatric Medicine and Neurology),Dalhousie University,Halifax,Nova Scotia,Canada.

Objective: Neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinoses are a heterogeneous group of inherited disorders in which abnormal lipopigments form lysosomal inclusion bodies in neurons. Kufs disease is rare, and clinical symptoms include seizures, progressive cognitive impairment, and myoclonus. Most cases of Kufs disease are autosomal recessive; however, there have been a few case reports of an autosomal dominant form linked to mutations within the DNAJC5 gene.

Methods: We describe a family with Kufs disease in which the proband and three of her four children presented with cognitive impairment, seizures, and myoclonus.

Results: Genetic testing of all four children was positive for a c.346_348delCTC(p.L116del) mutation in the DNAJC5 gene. The proband brain had an abundance of neuronal lipofuscin in the cerebral cortex, striatum, amygdala, hippocampus, substantia nigra, and cerebellum. There were no amyloid plaques or neurofibrillary tangles. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that the cholinergic neurons and cholinergic projection fibers were spared, but there was a profound loss of choline acetyltransferase within the caudate, putamen, and basal forebrain. This suggests a loss of choline acetyltransferase as opposed to a loss of the neurons.

Conclusions: This report describes the clinical history of autosomal dominant Kufs disease, the genetic mutation within the DNAJC5 gene, and the neuropathological findings demonstrating depletion of choline acetyltransferase in the brain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/cjn.2017.261DOI Listing
March 2018

Genotype and phenotype spectrum of NRAS germline variants.

Eur J Hum Genet 2017 06 3;25(7):823-831. Epub 2017 May 3.

Institute of Human Genetics, University Hospital Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany.

RASopathies comprise a group of disorders clinically characterized by short stature, heart defects, facial dysmorphism, and varying degrees of intellectual disability and cancer predisposition. They are caused by germline variants in genes encoding key components or modulators of the highly conserved RAS-MAPK signalling pathway that lead to dysregulation of cell signal transmission. Germline changes in the genes encoding members of the RAS subfamily of GTPases are rare and associated with variable phenotypes of the RASopathy spectrum, ranging from Costello syndrome (HRAS variants) to Noonan and Cardiofaciocutaneous syndromes (KRAS variants). A small number of RASopathy cases with disease-causing germline NRAS alterations have been reported. Affected individuals exhibited features fitting Noonan syndrome, and the observed germline variants differed from the typical oncogenic NRAS changes occurring as somatic events in tumours. Here we describe 19 new cases with RASopathy due to disease-causing variants in NRAS. Importantly, four of them harbored missense changes affecting Gly12, which was previously described to occur exclusively in cancer. The phenotype in our cohort was variable but well within the RASopathy spectrum. Further, one of the patients (c.35G>A; p.(Gly12Asp)) had a myeloproliferative disorder, and one subject (c.34G>C; p.(Gly12Arg)) exhibited an uncharacterized brain tumour. With this report, we expand the genotype and phenotype spectrum of RASopathy-associated germline NRAS variants and provide evidence that NRAS variants do not spare the cancer-associated mutation hotspots.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2017.65DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5520077PMC
June 2017

Experiences of caregivers of children with inherited metabolic diseases: a qualitative study.

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2016 12 7;11(1):168. Epub 2016 Dec 7.

Faculty of Medicine, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8M5, Canada.

Background: We sought to understand the experiences of parents/caregivers of children with inherited metabolic diseases (IMD) in order to inform strategies for supporting patients and their families. We investigated their experiences regarding the management of disease, its impact on child and family life, and interactions with the health care system.

Methods: From four Canadian centres, we conducted semi-structured telephone interviews with parents/caregivers of children with an IMD who were born between 2006 and 2015 and who were participating in a larger cohort study. Participants were selected with the aim of achieving a diverse sample with respect to treatment centre, IMD, and age of the child. Interviews emphasized the impacts of the disease and its treatment on the child and family and explicitly queried perceptions of interactions with the health care system. We identified emergent themes from the interview data.

Results: We completed interviews with 21 parents/caregivers. The 21 children were aged <1 to 7 years old with IMD that included amino acid disorders, urea cycle disorders, fatty acid oxidation disorders, and organic acid disorders or 'other' IMD. Most parents reported that they and their families had adapted well to their child's diagnosis. Parents used proactive coping strategies to integrate complex disease management protocols into routine family life. An important source of stress was concern about the social challenges faced by their children. Participants reported positive interactions with their most involved health care providers within the metabolic clinic. However, they reported challenges associated with the health care system outside of disease-specific metabolic care, when encountering systems and providers unfamiliar with the child's disease.

Conclusions: The successful use of proactive coping strategies among parents of children with IMD in this study suggests the potential value of promoting positive coping and is an important direction for future study. Parents' social concerns for their children were important stressors that warrant consideration by health care providers positioned to support families. Our results with respect to experiences with care highlight the important role of specialized metabolic clinics and point to a need for better coordination of the care that takes place outside the disease-specific management of IMD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-016-0548-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5142351PMC
December 2016

Neurodevelopmental Outcome and Treatment Efficacy of Benzoate and Dextromethorphan in Siblings with Attenuated Nonketotic Hyperglycinemia.

J Pediatr 2016 Mar 1;170:234-9. Epub 2016 Jan 1.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO. Electronic address:

Objective: To evaluate the impact of sodium benzoate and dextromethorphan treatment on patients with the attenuated form of nonketotic hyperglycinemia.

Study Design: Families were recruited with 2 siblings both affected with attenuated nonketotic hyperglycinemia. Genetic mutations were expressed to identify residual activity. The outcome on developmental progress and seizures was compared between the first child diagnosed and treated late with the second child diagnosed at birth and treated aggressively from the newborn period using dextromethorphan and benzoate at dosing sufficient to normalize plasma glycine levels. Both siblings were evaluated with similar standardized neurodevelopmental measures.

Results: In each sibling set, the second sibling treated from the neonatal period achieved earlier and more developmental milestones, and had a higher developmental quotient. In 3 of the 4 sibling pairs, the younger sibling had no seizures whereas the first child had a seizure disorder. The adaptive behavior subdomains of socialization and daily living skills improved more than motor skills and communication.

Conclusions: Early treatment with dextromethorphan and sodium benzoate sufficient to normalize plasma glycine levels is effective at improving outcome if used in children with attenuated disease with mutations providing residual activity and when started from the neonatal period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.12.027DOI Listing
March 2016

Metabolic Clinic Atlas: Organization of Care for Children with Inherited Metabolic Disease in Canada.

JIMD Rep 2015 26;21:15-22. Epub 2015 Feb 26.

Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1H 8L1.

Introduction: Nearly all children in Canada with an inherited metabolic disease (IMD) are treated at one of the country's Hereditary Metabolic Disease Treatment Centres. We sought to understand the system of care for paediatric IMD patients in Canada in order to identify sources of variation and inform future research priorities.

Methods: Treatment centres were contacted by email and invited to complete a web-based survey. The questionnaire addressed, for each centre, the population size served and scope of practice, available human resources and clinic services and research capacity. Survey responses were analyzed descriptively.

Results: We received responses from 13 of the 14 treatment centres invited to participate. These centres represent at least 85% of the Canadian population, with over half of the centres located in southern Ontario and Quebec. All centres reported paediatric patients with IMDs as their main patient population. A variety of dedicated staff was identified; every centre reported having at least one physician and one dietician. The most common ancillary services available included telehealth (11/12 respondents) and biochemical genetic laboratory testing (10/12), with a high variability of access to on-site laboratory tests. A majority of centres indicated access to additional off-site services, but barriers to these were reported. All but one centre indicated previous experience with research.

Conclusions: The variation we identified in the organization of care highlights the need to investigate the association between practice differences and health outcomes for paediatric IMD patients to inform policies that establish equitable access to services that are beneficial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/8904_2014_347DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4470950PMC
June 2015

Germline mutations in MAP3K6 are associated with familial gastric cancer.

PLoS Genet 2014 Oct 23;10(10):e1004669. Epub 2014 Oct 23.

Department of Pathology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Gastric cancer is among the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. While heritable forms of gastric cancer are relatively rare, identifying the genes responsible for such cases can inform diagnosis and treatment for both hereditary and sporadic cases of gastric cancer. Mutations in the E-cadherin gene, CDH1, account for 40% of the most common form of familial gastric cancer (FGC), hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC). The genes responsible for the remaining forms of FGC are currently unknown. Here we examined a large family from Maritime Canada with FGC without CDH1 mutations, and identified a germline coding variant (p.P946L) in mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase 6 (MAP3K6). Based on conservation, predicted pathogenicity and a known role of the gene in cancer predisposition, MAP3K6 was considered a strong candidate and was investigated further. Screening of an additional 115 unrelated individuals with non-CDH1 FGC identified the p.P946L MAP3K6 variant, as well as four additional coding variants in MAP3K6 (p.F849Sfs*142, p.P958T, p.D200Y and p.V207G). A somatic second-hit variant (p.H506Y) was present in DNA obtained from one of the tumor specimens, and evidence of DNA hypermethylation within the MAP3K6 gene was observed in DNA from the tumor of another affected individual. These findings, together with previous evidence from mouse models that MAP3K6 acts as a tumor suppressor, and studies showing the presence of somatic mutations in MAP3K6 in non-hereditary gastric cancers and gastric cancer cell lines, point towards MAP3K6 variants as a predisposing factor for FGC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1004669DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4207611PMC
October 2014

Urinary biomarker investigation in children with Fabry disease using tandem mass spectrometry.

Clin Chim Acta 2015 Jan 19;438:195-204. Epub 2014 Aug 19.

Service of Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke, 3001, 12(th) Avenue North, Sherbrooke, QCJ1H 5N4, Canada.

Background: Fabry disease is an X-linked lysosomal storage disorder affecting both males and females with tremendous genotypic/phenotypic variability. Concentrations of globotriaosylceramide (Gb3), globotriaosylsphingosine (lyso-Gb3)/related analogues were investigated in pediatric and adult Fabry cohorts. The aims of this study were to transfer and validate an HPLC-MS/MS methodology on a UPLC-MS/MS new generation platform, using an HPLC column, for urine analysis of treated and untreated pediatric and adult Fabry patients, to establish correlations between the excretion of Fabry biomarkers with gender, treatment, types of mutations, and to evaluate the biomarker reliability for early detection of pediatric Fabry patients.

Method: A UPLC-MS/MS was used for biomarker analysis.

Results: Reference values are presented for all biomarkers. Results show that gender strongly influences the excretion of each biomarker in the pediatric Fabry cohort, with females having lower urinary levels of all biomarkers. Urinary distribution of lyso-Gb3/related analogues in treated Fabry males was similar to the untreated and treated Fabry female groups in both children and adult cohorts. Children with the late-onset p.N215S mutation had normal urinary levels of Gb3, and lyso-Gb3 but abnormal levels of related analogues.

Conclusions: In this study, Fabry males and most Fabry females would have been diagnosed using the urinary lyso-Gb3/related analogue profile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cca.2014.08.002DOI Listing
January 2015

Phenotypic and molecular characterization of 19q12q13.1 deletions: a report of five patients.

Am J Med Genet A 2014 Jan 15;164A(1):62-9. Epub 2013 Nov 15.

Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Molecular Diagnostics, Spokane, Washington.

A syndrome associated with 19q13.11 microdeletions has been proposed based on seven previous cases that displayed developmental delay, intellectual disability, speech disturbances, pre- and post-natal growth retardation, microcephaly, ectodermal dysplasia, and genital malformations in males. A 324-kb critical region was previously identified as the smallest region of overlap (SRO) for this syndrome. To further characterize this microdeletion syndrome, we present five patients with deletions within 19q12q13.12 identified using a whole-genome oligonucleotide microarray. Patients 1 and 2 possess deletions overlapping the SRO, and Patients 3-5 have deletions proximal to the SRO. Patients 1 and 2 share significant phenotypic overlap with previously reported cases, providing further definition of the 19q13.11 microdeletion syndrome phenotype, including the first presentation of ectrodactyly in the syndrome. Patients 3-5, whose features include developmental delay, growth retardation, and feeding problems, support the presence of dosage-sensitive genes outside the SRO that may contribute to the abnormal phenotypes observed in this syndrome. Multiple genotype-phenotype correlations outside the SRO are explored, including further validation of the deletion of WTIP as a candidate for male hypospadias observed in this syndrome. We postulate that unique patient-specific deletions within 19q12q13.1 may explain the phenotypic variability observed in this emerging contiguous gene deletion syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.36201DOI Listing
January 2014

Recurrent gain-of-function mutation in PRKG1 causes thoracic aortic aneurysms and acute aortic dissections.

Am J Hum Genet 2013 Aug 1;93(2):398-404. Epub 2013 Aug 1.

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Gene mutations that lead to decreased contraction of vascular smooth-muscle cells (SMCs) can cause inherited thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections. Exome sequencing of distant relatives affected by thoracic aortic disease and subsequent Sanger sequencing of additional probands with familial thoracic aortic disease identified the same rare variant, PRKG1 c.530G>A (p.Arg177Gln), in four families. This mutation segregated with aortic disease in these families with a combined two-point LOD score of 7.88. The majority of affected individuals presented with acute aortic dissections (63%) at relatively young ages (mean 31 years, range 17-51 years). PRKG1 encodes type I cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG-1), which is activated upon binding of cGMP and controls SMC relaxation. Although the p.Arg177Gln alteration disrupts binding to the high-affinity cGMP binding site within the regulatory domain, the altered PKG-1 is constitutively active even in the absence of cGMP. The increased PKG-1 activity leads to decreased phosphorylation of the myosin regulatory light chain in fibroblasts and is predicted to cause decreased contraction of vascular SMCs. Thus, identification of a gain-of-function mutation in PRKG1 as a cause of thoracic aortic disease provides further evidence that proper SMC contractile function is critical for maintaining the integrity of the thoracic aorta throughout a lifetime.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.06.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738837PMC
August 2013

Incidence of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency in Canada using the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program: Role of newborn screening.

Paediatr Child Health 2012 Apr;17(4):185-9

Department of Paediatrics; ; Children's Health Research Institute;

Background: The incidence of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD) was estimated using the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program (CPSP) in Canada over a three-year period. Data regarding mutations associated with MCADD cases were collected wherever available.

Methods: Data were collected over a 36-month period using a monthly mailed questionnaire distributed through the CPSP to more than 2500 Canadian paediatricians, medical geneticists and paediatric pathologists.

Results And Conclusions: During the three years of MCADD surveillance, 46 confirmed cases out of a total of 71 reported cases were found - an average of approximately 15 cases per year. This rate is lower than the initial estimate of approximately 30 cases per year of MCADD in Canada, based on the reported incidence of MCADD in the literature of approximately one in 10,000 to one in 20,000. All cases ascertained by newborn screening were asymptomatic. There were two deaths, both in jurisdictions without newborn screening for MCADD. The data support population-based newborn screening for MCADD.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3381659PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pch/17.4.185DOI Listing
April 2012

Deletions in 16q24.2 are associated with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability and congenital renal malformation.

J Med Genet 2013 Mar 18;50(3):163-73. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Division of Nephrology, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G1X8.

Background: The contribution of copy-number variation (CNV) to disease has been highlighted with the widespread adoption of array-based comparative genomic hybridisation (aCGH) and microarray technology. Contiguous gene deletions involving ANKRD11 in 16q24.3 are associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID), while 16q24.1 deletions affecting FOXF1 are associated with congenital renal malformations, alveolar capillary dysplasia, and various other abnormalities. The disease associations of deletions in the intervening region, 16q24.2, have only been defined to a limited extent.

Aim: To determine whether deletions affecting 16q24.2 are correlated with congenital anomalies.

Methods: 35 individuals, each having a deletion in 16q24.2, were characterised clinically and by aCGH and/or SNP-genotyping microarray.

Results: Several of the 35 16q24.2 deletions identified here closely abut or overlap the coding regions of FOXF1 and ANKRD11, two genes that have been previously associated with the disease. 25 patients were reported to have ASD/ID, and three were found to have bilateral hydronephrosis. 14 of the deletions associated with ASD/ID overlap the coding regions of FBXO31 and MAP1LC3B. These same genes and two others, C16orf95 and ZCCHC14, are also included in the area of minimal overlap of the three deletions associated with hydronephrosis.

Conclusions: Our data highlight 16q24.2 as a region of interest for ASD, ID and congenital renal malformations. These conditions are associated, albeit without complete penetrance, with deletions affecting C16orf95, ZCCHC14, MAP1LC3B and FBXO31. The function of each gene in development and disease warrants further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmedgenet-2012-101288DOI Listing
March 2013

Novel splice-site mutation in ATP8B1 results in atypical progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 1.

J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2013 Mar;28(3):560-4

Department of Pathology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Background And Aim: Our objective was to identify the molecular genetic basis of an Alagille-like condition not linked to JAG1 or NOTCH2 in two related sibships.

Methods: Because of common ancestry, and an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance, it was hypothesized that all affected and no unaffected individuals would be homozygous for the same haplotype in the region of the causative gene. Single nucleotide polymorphism arrays were therefore used to genotype 3 affected individuals from two sibships, their mothers and four unaffected siblings, to identify regions of homozygosity. Genes within the largest regions were prioritized and sequenced for mutations. Mutant RNA transcripts were also sequenced.

Results: A novel splice acceptor site mutation in the ATP8B1 gene was identified (a G-C preceding exon 16 resulting in a 4  bp deletion and frameshift from the 5' end of exon 16). This result was unexpected because ATP8B1 mutations are associated with progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 1 (PFIC1). Intrahepatic bile duct paucity, cardiac anomalies, renal tubular acidosis and hypothyroidism led to an initial diagnosis of Alagille syndrome. However, in retrospect, abnormal sweat chloride, normal gamma-glutamyl transferase, normal to low cholesterol, and an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance were consistent with PFIC1. Renal tubular acidosis, hypothyroidism and cardiac anomalies have not previously been associated with PFIC1.

Conclusion: This work expands the phenotypic spectrum of PFIC1, and highlights the overlap in clinical phenotype between Alagille syndrome and PFIC1. Knowledge of the causative mutation allows for carrier testing and prenatal diagnosis in this community.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1746.2012.07290.xDOI Listing
March 2013

Syndrome of hepatic cirrhosis, dystonia, polycythemia, and hypermanganesemia caused by mutations in SLC30A10, a manganese transporter in man.

Am J Hum Genet 2012 Mar 16;90(3):457-66. Epub 2012 Feb 16.

Clinical and Molecular Genetics Unit, University College London Institute of Child Health, UK.

Environmental manganese (Mn) toxicity causes an extrapyramidal, parkinsonian-type movement disorder with characteristic magnetic resonance images of Mn accumulation in the basal ganglia. We have recently reported a suspected autosomal recessively inherited syndrome of hepatic cirrhosis, dystonia, polycythemia, and hypermanganesemia in cases without environmental Mn exposure. Whole-genome mapping of two consanguineous families identified SLC30A10 as the affected gene in this inherited type of hypermanganesemia. This gene was subsequently sequenced in eight families, and homozygous sequence changes were identified in all affected individuals. The function of the wild-type protein and the effect of sequence changes were studied in the manganese-sensitive yeast strain Δpmr1. Expressing human wild-type SLC30A10 in the Δpmr1 yeast strain rescued growth in high Mn conditions, confirming its role in Mn transport. The presence of missense (c.266T>C [p.Leu89Pro]) and nonsense (c.585del [p.Thr196Profs(∗)17]) mutations in SLC30A10 failed to restore Mn resistance. Previously, SLC30A10 had been presumed to be a zinc transporter. However, this work has confirmed that SLC30A10 functions as a Mn transporter in humans that, when defective, causes Mn accumulation in liver and brain. This is an important step toward understanding Mn transport and its role in neurodegenerative processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.01.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3309187PMC
March 2012

Mosaic tetrasomy 5p resulting from an isochromosome 5p marker chromosome: case report and review of literature.

Am J Med Genet A 2012 Feb 13;158A(2):406-11. Epub 2012 Jan 13.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

We report on the fifth case, and oldest reported patient, of an individual affected with mosaic tetrasomy 5p resulting from an isochromosome 5p [i(5)(p10)] marker chromosome. A syndrome of mosaic tetrasomy 5p is defined, and includes the following features seen in the reported cases: developmental delay, seizures, ventriculomegaly (other brain anomalies), small stature/growth delay and mosaic pigmentary skin changes. Other findings include various dysmorphic facial features as well as hand and foot anomalies. This syndrome is likely more common than suggested in the literature, as the clinical presentation can be variable, and the chromosome anomaly is unlikely to be found on routine karyotype of peripheral blood lymphocytes. The i(5)(p10) marker chromosome is found only as a mosaic anomaly, with levels ranging from 0% to 10% in cultured lymphocytes to 12-85% in cultured skin fibroblasts. Microarray analysis performed on unstimulated lymphocytes from the patient in this report did not detect any evidence of the chromosome abnormality, indicating that this methodology may not be useful as a diagnostic tool in this disorder. Diagnosis of the mosaic tetrasomy 5p syndrome will rely on good clinical assessment, and appropriate cytogenetic studies, including analysis of skin fibroblasts. A child with unexplained developmental delay, seizures, hypotonia, and ventriculomegaly with or without dysmorphic features should be assessed carefully for pigmentary changes of the skin. If a diagnosis of mosaic 5p tetrasomy is suspected, karyotype of cultured fibroblasts in addition to routine cytogenetic analysis, to look for this marker chromosome is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.34272DOI Listing
February 2012

Loss-of-function germline GATA2 mutations in patients with MDS/AML or MonoMAC syndrome and primary lymphedema reveal a key role for GATA2 in the lymphatic vasculature.

Blood 2012 Feb 6;119(5):1283-91. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Division of Haematology, Centre for Cancer Biology, SA Pathology, Adelaide, 5000 SA, Australia.

Recent work has established that heterozygous germline GATA2 mutations predispose carriers to familial myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)/acute myeloid leukemia (AML), "MonoMAC" syndrome, and DCML deficiency. Here, we describe a previously unreported MDS family carrying a missense GATA2 mutation (p.Thr354Met), one patient with MDS/AML carrying a frameshift GATA2 mutation (p.Leu332Thrfs*53), another with MDS harboring a GATA2 splice site mutation, and 3 patients exhibiting MDS or MDS/AML who have large deletions encompassing the GATA2 locus. Intriguingly, 2 MDS/AML or "MonoMAC" syndrome patients with GATA2 deletions and one with a frameshift mutation also have primary lymphedema. Primary lymphedema occurs as a result of aberrations in the development and/or function of lymphatic vessels, spurring us to investigate whether GATA2 plays a role in the lymphatic vasculature. We demonstrate here that GATA2 protein is present at high levels in lymphatic vessel valves and that GATA2 controls the expression of genes important for programming lymphatic valve development. Our data expand the phenotypes associated with germline GATA2 mutations to include predisposition to primary lymphedema and suggest that complete haploinsufficiency or loss of function of GATA2, rather than missense mutations, is the key predisposing factor for lymphedema onset. Moreover, we reveal a crucial role for GATA2 in lymphatic vascular development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2011-08-374363DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3277359PMC
February 2012

Distal trisomy 10q syndrome: phenotypic features in a child with inverted duplicated 10q25.1-q26.3.

Clin Dysmorphol 2010 Jul;19(3):140-5

Division of Developmental Paediatrics, Bloorview Kids Rehab, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MCD.0b013e3283377915DOI Listing
July 2010

Mutations in mitochondrial carrier family gene SLC25A38 cause nonsyndromic autosomal recessive congenital sideroblastic anemia.

Nat Genet 2009 Jun 3;41(6):651-3. Epub 2009 May 3.

Department of Pathology, Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The sideroblastic anemias are a heterogeneous group of congenital and acquired hematological disorders whose morphological hallmark is the presence of ringed sideroblasts--bone marrow erythroid precursors containing pathologic iron deposits within mitochondria. Here, by positional cloning, we define a previously unknown form of autosomal recessive nonsyndromic congenital sideroblastic anemia, associated with mutations in the gene encoding the erythroid specific mitochondrial carrier family protein SLC25A38, and demonstrate that SLC25A38 is important for the biosynthesis of heme in eukaryotes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.359DOI Listing
June 2009

Submicroscopic deletions of 11q24-25 in individuals without Jacobsen syndrome: re-examination of the critical region by high-resolution array-CGH.

Mol Cytogenet 2008 Nov 11;1:23. Epub 2008 Nov 11.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Child and Family Research Institute (CFRI), UBC, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Background: Jacobsen syndrome is a rare contiguous gene disorder that results from a terminal deletion of the long arm of chromosome 11. It is typically characterized by intellectual disability, a variety of physical anomalies and a distinctive facial appearance. The 11q deletion has traditionally been identified by routine chromosome analysis. Array-based comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) has offered new opportunities to identify and refine chromosomal abnormalities in regions known to be associated with clinical syndromes.

Results: Using the 1 Mb BAC array (Spectral Genomics), we screened 70 chromosomally normal children with idiopathic intellectual disability (ID) and congenital abnormalities, and identified five cases with submicroscopic abnormalities believed to contribute to their phenotypes. Here, we provide detailed molecular cytogenetic descriptions and clinical presentation of two unrelated subjects with de novo submicroscopic deletions within chromosome bands 11q24-25. In subject 1 the chromosome rearrangement consisted of a 6.18 Mb deletion (from 128.25-134.43 Mb) and an adjacent 5.04 Mb duplication (from 123.15-128.19 Mb), while in subject 2, a 4.74 Mb interstitial deletion was found (from 124.29-129.03 Mb). Higher resolution array analysis (385 K Nimblegen) was used to refine all breakpoints. Deletions of the 11q24-25 region are known to be associated with Jacobsen syndrome (JBS: OMIM 147791). However, neither of the subjects had the typical features of JBS (trigonocephaly, platelet disorder, heart abnormalities). Both subjects had ID, dysmorphic features and additional phenotypic abnormalities: subject 1 had a kidney abnormality, bilateral preauricular pits, pectus excavatum, mild to moderate conductive hearing loss and behavioral concerns; subject 2 had macrocephaly, an abnormal MRI with delayed myelination, fifth finger shortening and squaring of all fingertips, and sensorineural hearing loss.

Conclusion: Two individuals with ID who did not have the typical clinical features of Jacobsen syndrome were found to have deletions within the JBS region at 11q24-25. Their rearrangements facilitate the refinement of the JBS critical region and suggest that a) deletion of at least 3 of the 4 platelet function critical genes (ETS-1, FLI-1 and NFRKB and JAM3) is necessary for thrombocytopenia; b) one of the critical regions for heart abnormalities (conotruncal heart defects) may lie within 129.03 - 130.6 Mb; c) deletions of KCNJ1 and ADAMTS15 may contribute to the renal anomalies in Jacobsen Syndrome; d) the critical region for MRI abnormalities involves a region from 124.6 - 129.03 Mb. Our results reiterate the benefits of array-CGH for description of new phenotype/genotype associations and refinement of previously established ones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1755-8166-1-23DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2648978PMC
November 2008

An autosomal recessive form of Alagille-like syndrome that is not linked to JAG1.

Genet Med 2007 Aug;9(8):544-50

Department of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Purpose: Alagille syndrome is an autosomal dominant condition characterized by a paucity of interlobular bile ducts and chronic cholestasis, cardiac disease, skeletal abnormalities, ocular abnormalities, and characteristic facies. Most cases harbor a mutation in JAG1. We describe a large consanguineous family with five individuals affected with an Alagille-like syndrome that appears to be autosomal recessive. Our objective was to characterize the disorder clinically and determine whether affected individuals had inherited a mutation in JAG1.

Methods: Clinical data were obtained through questioning and patient chart review. Linkage analysis using microsatellite markers was used to assess the possibility of a JAG1 mutation.

Results: The clinical phenotype of patients was not entirely consistent with classic Alagille syndrome. All affected individuals had neonatal cholestasis with intrahepatic bile duct paucity, with three having pulmonary stenosis, but the presentation was unusually uniform and severe in childhood. There was no evidence of posterior embryotoxon or vertebral anomalies. Cardiac abnormalities were inconsistent between patients. Most significantly, the pedigree suggested an autosomal recessive form of inheritance. Linkage analysis excluded a mutation in JAG1.

Conclusions: We have identified a kindred with an Alagille-like syndrome with an autosomal recessive form of inheritance not caused by a mutation in JAG1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/gim.0b013e318133a802DOI Listing
August 2007

Heritable skewed X-chromosome inactivation leads to haemophilia A expression in heterozygous females.

Eur J Hum Genet 2007 Jun 7;15(6):628-37. Epub 2007 Mar 7.

Department of Pathology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Factor VIII gene, F8, mutations cause haemophilia A (HA), an X-linked recessive disorder. Expression in heterozygous females has been ascribed to skewed X-chromosome inactivation (XCI). To investigate the cause of HA in three heterozygous females within an Atlantic Canadian kindred, the proband (severely affected girl, FVIII activity: 2%) and 17 relatives across three generations were studied. F8 genotype, FVIII activity, XCI ratio (XCIR) (paternal active X: maternal active X), karyotype, submegabase resolution tiling set array competitive genome hybridization (competitive genomic hybridization (SMRT)), and microsatellite analyses were utilized. A positive linear relationship between FVIII activity and percentage-activated normal X-chromosome was found in HA heterozygous females (R(2)=0.87). All affected, but no unaffected females, had an XCIR skewed toward activation of the mutant X-chromosome (proband 92:8, SD 2). Unexpectedly, high numbers of females have dramatically skewed XCIRs (>80:20 or <20:80) (P<0.05). The distribution of XCIR frequencies within this family was significantly different than predicted by normal population data or models of random XCI (P<0.025), with more females having higher degrees of skewing. Known causes of skewing, such as chromosomal abnormalities, selection against deleterious alleles, and X-inactive-specific transcript mutations, are not consistent with our results. This study shows that FVIII activity in HA heterozygous females can be directly related to XCI skewing, and that low FVIII activity in females in this family is due to unfavourable XCI skewing. Further, the findings suggest that these XCI ratios are genetically influenced, consistent with a novel heritable human X controlling element (XCE) functioning similarly to the mouse Xce.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201799DOI Listing
June 2007