Publications by authors named "Volker Straub"

278 Publications

Safety and efficacy of avalglucosidase alfa versus alglucosidase alfa in patients with late-onset Pompe disease (COMET): a phase 3, randomised, multicentre trial.

Lancet Neurol 2021 Dec;20(12):1012-1026

Friedrich-Baur-Institute, Department of Neurology, LMU Klinikum München, Munich, Germany.

Background: Pompe disease is a rare, progressive neuromuscular disorder caused by deficiency of acid α-glucosidase (GAA) and accumulation of lysosomal glycogen. We assessed the safety and efficacy of avalglucosidase alfa, a recombinant human GAA enzyme replacement therapy specifically designed for enhanced mannose-6-phosphate-receptor targeting and enzyme uptake aimed at increased glycogen clearance, compared with the current approved standard of care, alglucosidase alfa, in patients with late-onset Pompe disease.

Methods: We did a randomised, double-blind, phase 3 trial at 55 sites in 20 countries. We enrolled individuals (aged ≥3 years) with enzymatically confirmed late-onset Pompe disease who had never received treatment. We used a centralised treatment allocation system to randomly allocate participants to either avalglucosidase alfa or alglucosidase alfa. Participants and investigators were unaware of their treatment allocation. The primary outcome measure was change from baseline to week 49 in upright forced vital capacity percent (FVC%) predicted. We used a hierarchical fixed sequential testing strategy, whereby non-inferiority of avalglucosidase alfa compared with alglucosidase alfa was assessed first, with a non-inferiority margin of 1·1. If non-inferiority was seen, then superiority was tested with a 5% significance level. The key secondary objective was effect on functional endurance, measured by the 6-minute walk test (6MWT). Safety was assessed, including treatment-emergent adverse events and infusion-associated reactions. The modified intent-to-treat population was the primary analysis population for all efficacy analyses. The safety population was the analysis population for safety analyses. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02782741. We report results of the 49-week primary analysis period.

Findings: Between Nov 2, 2016, and March 29, 2019, 100 participants were randomly allocated avalglucosidase alfa (n=51) or alglucosidase alfa (n=49). Treatment with avalglucosidase alfa resulted in a least-squares mean improvement in upright FVC% predicted of 2·89% (SE 0·88) compared with 0·46% (0·93) with alglucosidase alfa at week 49 (difference 2·43% [95% CI -0·13 to 4·99]). Non-inferiority was shown because the lower bound of the 95% CI for the difference far exceeded the predefined non-inferiority margin but did not exclude 0 (p=0·0074). Superiority was not reached (p=0·063), so formal testing was stopped, as per the testing hierarchy. Improvements were also seen in the 6MWT with avalglucosidase alfa compared with alglucosidase alfa, with greater increases in distance covered (difference 30·01 m [95% CI 1·33 to 58·69]) and percent predicted (4·71% [0·25 to 9·17]). Treatment-emergent adverse events potentially related to treatment were reported in 23 (45%) of 51 participants in the avalglucosidase alfa group and in 24 (49%) of 49 in the alglucosidase alfa group, and infusion-associated reactions were reported in 13 (26%) participants in the avalglucosidase alfa group and 16 (33%) in the alglucosidase alfa group. Of the five trial withdrawals, all in the alglucosidase alfa group, four were due to adverse events, including two infusion-associated reactions. Serious treatment-emergent adverse events were reported in eight (16%) participants who received avalglucosidase alfa and in 12 (25%) who received alglucosidase alfa. One participant treated with alglucosidase alfa died because of acute myocardial infarction determined to be unrelated to treatment. Antidrug antibody responses were similar in both groups. High and persistent titres (≥12 800) and neutralising antibodies were more common with alglucosidase alfa (in 16 [33%] participants) than with avalglucosidase alfa (ten [20%]).

Interpretation: We consider that this study provides evidence of clinically meaningful improvement with avalglucosidase alfa therapy over alglucosidase alfa in respiratory function, ambulation, and functional endurance, with no new safety signals reported. An open-label extended-treatment period is ongoing to confirm the long-term safety and efficacy of avalglucosidase alfa, with the aim for this therapy to become the new standard treatment in late-onset Pompe disease.

Funding: Sanofi Genzyme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(21)00241-6DOI Listing
December 2021

Long-Term Safety and Efficacy Data of Golodirsen in Ambulatory Patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Amenable to Exon 53 Skipping: A First-in-human, Multicenter, Two-Part, Open-Label, Phase 1/2 Trial.

Nucleic Acid Ther 2021 Nov 17. Epub 2021 Nov 17.

Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre, University College London, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, United Kingdom.

The aim of this Phase 1/2, 2-part, multicenter trial was to report clinical safety and efficacy of long-term golodirsen treatment among ambulatory patients with exon 53 skip-amenable Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Part 1 was a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-titration study followed by 9-week safety review. Part 2 was a 168-week, open-label evaluation of golodirsen 30 mg/kg. Part 1 primary endpoint was safety. Part 2 primary endpoints were dystrophin protein expression and 6-minute walk test (6MWT); secondary endpoints were percent predicted forced vital capacity (FVC%p) and safety. ambulation analyses used mutation-matched external natural history controls. All patients from Part 1 (golodirsen,  = 8; placebo,  = 4) plus 13 additional patients entered Part 2; 23 completed the study. Adverse events were generally mild, nonserious, and unrelated to golodirsen, with no safety-related discontinuations or deaths. Golodirsen increased dystrophin protein (16.0-fold;  < 0.001) and exon skipping (28.9-fold;  < 0.001). At 3 years, 6MWT change from baseline was -99.0 m for golodirsen-treated patients versus -181.4 m for external controls ( = 0.067), and loss of ambulation occurred in 9% versus 26% ( = 0.21). FVC%p declined 8.4% over 3 years in golodirsen-treated patients, comparing favorably with literature-reported rates. This study provides evidence for golodirsen biologic activity and long-term safety in a declining DMD population and suggests functional benefit versus external controls. Clinical Trial Registration number: NCT02310906.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/nat.2021.0043DOI Listing
November 2021

100,000 Genomes Pilot on Rare-Disease Diagnosis in Health Care - Preliminary Report.

N Engl J Med 2021 11;385(20):1868-1880

From Genomics England (D.S., K.R.S., A.M., E.A.T., E.M.M., A.T., G.C., K.I., L.M., M. Wielscher, A.N., M. Bale, E.B., C.B., H.B., M. Bleda, A. Devereau, D.H., E. Haraldsdottir, Z.H., D.K., C. Patch, D.P., A.M., R. Sultana, M.R., A.L.T.T., C. Tregidgo, C. Turnbull, M. Welland, S. Wood, C.S., E.W., S.L., R.E.F., L.C.D., O.N., I.U.S.L., C.F.W., J.C., R.H.S., T.F., A.R., M.C.), the William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London (D.S., K.R.S., V.C., A.T., L.M., M.R.B., D.K., S. Wood, P.C., J.O.J., T.F., M.C.), University College London (UCL) Institute of Ophthalmology (V.C., G.A., M.M., A.T.M., S. Malka, N.P., P.Y.-W.-M., A.R.W.), UCL Genetics Institute (V.C., N.W.W.), GOSgene (H.J.W.), Genetics and Genomic Medicine Programme (L.V., M.R., M.D., L.C., P. Beales, M.B.-G.), National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) (M.R., S. Grunewald, S.C.-L., F.M., C. Pilkington, L.R.W., L.C., P. Beales, M.B.-G.), Infection, Immunity, and Inflammation Research and Teaching Department (P.A., L.R.W.), Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine (N.T.), and Mitochondrial Research Group (S. Rahman), UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, UCL Ear Institute (L.V.), the Department of Renal Medicine (D. Bockenhauer), and Institute of Cardiovascular Science (P.E.), UCL, Moorfields Eye Hospital National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust (V.C., G.A., M.M., A.T.M., S. Malka, N.P., A.R.W.), the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (J.V., E.O., J.Y., K. Newland, H.R.M., J.P., N.W.W., H.H.), the Metabolic Unit (L.A., S. Grunewald, S. Rahman), London Centre for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes (M.D.), and the Department of Gastroenterology (N.T.), Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (L.V., D. Bockenhauer, A. Broomfield, M.A.C., T. Lam, E.F., V.G., S.C.-L., F.M., C. Pilkington, R. Quinlivan, C.W., L.R.W., A. Worth, L.C., P. Beales, M.B.-G., R.H.S.), the Clinical Genetics Department (M.R., T.B., C. Compton, C.D., E. Haque, L.I., D.J., S. Mohammed, L.R., S. Rose, D.R., G.S., A.C.S., F.F., M.I.) and St. John's Institute of Dermatology (H.F., R. Sarkany), Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, the Division of Genetics and Epidemiology, Institute of Cancer Research (C. Turnbull), Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery, and Palliative Care (T.B.), Division of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (M.A.S.), and Division of Medical and Molecular Genetics (M.I.), King's College London, NIHR BRC at Moorfields Eye Hospital (P.Y.-W.-M.), NHS England and NHS Improvement, Skipton House (V.D., A. Douglas, S. Hill), and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Hammersmith Hospital (K. Naresh), London, Open Targets and European Molecular Biology Laboratory-European Bioinformatics Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton (E.M.M.), the Division of Evolution and Genomic Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine, and Health, University of Manchester (J.M.E., S.B., J.C.-S., S.D., G.H., H.B.T., R.T.O., G. Black, W.N.), and the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, St. Mary's Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (J.M.E., Z.H., S.B., J.C.-S., S.D., G.H., G. Black, W.N.), Manchester, the Department of Genetic and Genomic Medicine, Institute of Medical Genetics, Cardiff University, Cardiff (H.J.W.), the Department of Clinical Neurosciences (T.R., W.W., R.H., P.F.C.), the Medical Research Council (MRC) Mitochondrial Biology Unit (T.R., W.W., P.Y.-W.-M., P.F.C.), the Department of Paediatrics (T.R.), the Department of Haematology (K.S., C. Penkett, S. Gräf, R.M., W.H.O., A.R.), the School of Clinical Medicine (K.R., E.L., R.A.F., K.P., F.L.R.), the Department of Medicine (S. Gräf), and Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, Department of Clinical Neurosciences (P.Y.-W.-M.), University of Cambridge, NIHR BioResource, Cambridge University Hospitals (K.S., S.A., R.J., C. Penkett, E.D., S. Gräf, R.M., M.K., J.R.B., P.F.C., W.H.O., F.L.R.), and Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (G.F., P.T., O.S.-B., S. Halsall, K.P., A. Wagner, S.G.M., N.B., M.K.), Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science and NIHR Cambridge BRC (M.G.), Congenica (A.H., H.S.), Illumina Cambridge (A. Wolejko, B.H., G. Burns, S. Hunter, R.J.G., S.J.H., D. Bentley), NHS Blood and Transplant (W.H.O.), and Wellcome Sanger Institute (W.H.O.), Cambridge, the Health Economics Research Centre (J. Buchanan, S. Wordsworth) and the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics (C. Camps, J.C.T.), University of Oxford, NIHR Oxford BRC (J. Buchanan, S. Wordsworth, J.D., C. Crichton, J.W., K.W., C. Camps, S.P., N.B.A.R., A.S., J.T., J.C.T.), the Oxford Centre for Genomic Medicine (A. de Burca, A.H.N.), and the Departments of Haematology (N.B.A.R.) and Neurology (A.S.), Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Genetics Laboratories, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Churchill Hospital (C. Campbell, K.G., T. Lester, J.T.), the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (N.K., N.B.A.R., A.O.M.W.) and the Oxford Epilepsy Research Group (A.S.), Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (A.H.N.), University of Oxford, and the Department of Clinical Immunology (S.P.), John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, Peninsula Clinical Genetics Service, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (E.B.), and the University of Exeter Medical School (E.B., C.F.W.), Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (S.E.), Exeter, Newcastle Eye Centre, Royal Victoria Infirmary (A.C.B.), the Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University, International Centre for Life (V.S., P. Brennan), Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research, Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University (G.S.G., R.H., A.M.S., D.M.T., R. Quinton, R.M., R.W.T., J.A.S.), Highly Specialised Mitochondrial Service (G.S.G., A.M.S., D.M.T., R.M., R.W.T.) and Northern Genetics Service (J. Burn), Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (J.A.S.), and NIHR Newcastle BRC (G.S.G., D.M.T., J.A.S.), Newcastle upon Tyne, the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, Institute of Biomedical Research, University of Birmingham (C. Palles), and Birmingham Women's Hospital (D.M.), Birmingham, the Genomic Informatics Group (E.G.S.), University Hospital Southampton (I.K.T.), and the University of Southampton (I.K.T.), Southampton, Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool (A. Douglas), the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol (A.D.M.), and Yorkshire and Humber, Sheffield Children's Hospital, Sheffield (G.W.) - all in the United Kingdom; Fabric Genomics, Oakland (M. Babcock, M.G.R.), and the Ophthalmology Department, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco (A.T.M.) - both in California; the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, Farmington, CT (P.N.R.); and the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, Oregon State University, Corvallis (M.H.).

Background: The U.K. 100,000 Genomes Project is in the process of investigating the role of genome sequencing in patients with undiagnosed rare diseases after usual care and the alignment of this research with health care implementation in the U.K. National Health Service. Other parts of this project focus on patients with cancer and infection.

Methods: We conducted a pilot study involving 4660 participants from 2183 families, among whom 161 disorders covering a broad spectrum of rare diseases were present. We collected data on clinical features with the use of Human Phenotype Ontology terms, undertook genome sequencing, applied automated variant prioritization on the basis of applied virtual gene panels and phenotypes, and identified novel pathogenic variants through research analysis.

Results: Diagnostic yields varied among family structures and were highest in family trios (both parents and a proband) and families with larger pedigrees. Diagnostic yields were much higher for disorders likely to have a monogenic cause (35%) than for disorders likely to have a complex cause (11%). Diagnostic yields for intellectual disability, hearing disorders, and vision disorders ranged from 40 to 55%. We made genetic diagnoses in 25% of the probands. A total of 14% of the diagnoses were made by means of the combination of research and automated approaches, which was critical for cases in which we found etiologic noncoding, structural, and mitochondrial genome variants and coding variants poorly covered by exome sequencing. Cohortwide burden testing across 57,000 genomes enabled the discovery of three new disease genes and 19 new associations. Of the genetic diagnoses that we made, 25% had immediate ramifications for clinical decision making for the patients or their relatives.

Conclusions: Our pilot study of genome sequencing in a national health care system showed an increase in diagnostic yield across a range of rare diseases. (Funded by the National Institute for Health Research and others.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2035790DOI Listing
November 2021

Intellectual disability in paediatric patients with genetic muscle diseases.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 10;31(10):988-997

John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre, Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle, UK. Electronic address:

The differential diagnosis of genetic muscle disease has become increasingly difficult due to the rapid progress in genetic medicine in recent years. Where classifications based on the clinical picture were attributed to one gene only a few years ago, today we know that a variety of clinical presentations can result from the same mutation and, conversely, various genes are associated with a similar phenotype. A significant consideration in assessing a patient with muscle weakness is the presence or absence of intellectual disability, thus narrowing the differential diagnostic approach in any child with an as yet undiagnosed muscle disease. Intellectual disability in neuromuscular diseases is often associated with behavioural disorders and may be correlated with abnormal brain imaging. Conversely, brain involvement can sometimes be seen without intellectual disability, but may be associated with an epilepsy risk and is helpful for the differential diagnosis. This review focuses on the three most common causes of paediatric muscle diseases with intellectual disability, dystrophinopathies, myotonic dystrophy type 1 and dystroglycanopathies. It also summarises differential diagnostic considerations when assessing a child with a genetic muscle disease and intellectual disability. The recent scientific literature on this topic is reviewed, the frequency of intellectual disability assessed, and specific clinical features are described. Where available, data on disease onset, progression and serum creatine kinase levels are presented and the pattern of muscle involvement described in an algorithm. Central nervous involvement and brain imaging analysis was reviewed and included.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2021.08.012DOI Listing
October 2021

Genotype-related respiratory progression in Duchenne muscular dystrophy-A multicenter international study.

Muscle Nerve 2021 Oct 4. Epub 2021 Oct 4.

Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre, University College London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK.

Introduction/aims: Mutations amenable to skipping of specific exons have been associated with different motor progression in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Less is known about their association with long-term respiratory function. In this study we investigated the features of respiratory progression in four DMD genotypes relevant in ongoing exon-skipping therapeutic strategies.

Methods: This was a retrospective longitudinal study including DMD children followed by the UK NorthStar Network and international AFM Network centers (May 2003 to October 2020). We included boys amenable to skip exons 44, 45, 51, or 53, who were older than 5 years of age and ambulant at first recorded visit. Subjects who were corticosteroid-naive or enrolled in interventional clinical trials were excluded. The progression of respiratory function (absolute forced vital capacity [FVC] and calculated as percent predicted [FVC%]) was compared across the four subgroups (skip44, skip45, skip51, skip53).

Results: We included 142 boys in the study. Mean (standard deviation) age at first visit was 8.6 (2.5) years. Median follow-up was 3 (range, 0.3-8.3) years. In skip45 and skip51, FVC% declined linearly from the first recorded visit. From the age of 9 years, FVC% declined linearly in all genotypes. Skip44 had the slowest (2.7%/year) and skip51 the fastest (5.9%/year) annual FVC% decline. The absolute FVC increased progressively in skip44, skip45, and skip51. In skip53, FVC started declining from 14 years of age.

Discussion: The progression of respiratory dysfunction follows different patterns for specific genotype categories. This information is valuable for prognosis and for the evaluation of exon-skipping therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mus.27427DOI Listing
October 2021

Effects of Chronic, Maximal Phosphorodiamidate Morpholino Oligomer (PMO) Dosing on Muscle Function and Dystrophin Restoration in a Mouse Model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

J Neuromuscul Dis 2021 Sep 18. Epub 2021 Sep 18.

Center for Genetic Medicine, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, USA.

Background: Phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (PMO)-mediated exon skipping is currently used in clinical development to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), with four exon-skipping drugs achieving regulatory approval. Exon skipping elicits a truncated, but semi-functional dystrophin protein, similar to the truncated dystrophin expressed in patients with Becker Muscular dystrophy (BMD) where the disease phenotype is less severe than DMD. Despite promising results in both dystrophic animal models and DMD boys, restoration of dystrophin by exon skipping is highly variable, leading to contradictory functional outcomes in clinical trials.

Objective: To develop optimal PMO dosing protocols that result in increased dystrophin and improved outcome measures in preclinical models of DMD.

Methods: Tested effectiveness of multiple chronic, high dose PMO regimens using biochemical, histological, molecular, and imaging techniques in mdx mice.

Results: A chronic, monthly regimen of high dose PMO increased dystrophin rescue in mdx mice and improved specific force in the extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle. However, monthly high dose PMO administration still results in variable dystrophin expression localized throughout various muscles.

Conclusions: High dose monthly PMO administration restores dystrophin expression and increases muscle force; however, the variability of dystrophin expression at both the inter-and intramuscular level remains. Additional strategies to optimize PMO uptake including increased dosing frequencies or combination treatments with other yet-to-be-defined therapies may be necessary to achieve uniform dystrophin restoration and increases in muscle function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JND-210701DOI Listing
September 2021

Onasemnogene abeparvovec gene therapy for symptomatic infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy type 1 (STR1VE-EU): an open-label, single-arm, multicentre, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Neurol 2021 10;20(10):832-841

Novartis Gene Therapies, Cambridge, UK.

Background: Spinal muscular atrophy is a rare, autosomal recessive, neuromuscular disease caused by biallelic loss of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene, resulting in motor neuron dysfunction. In this STR1VE-EU study, we aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of onasemnogene abeparvovec gene replacement therapy in infants with spinal muscular atrophy type 1, using broader eligibility criteria than those used in STR1VE-US.

Methods: STR1VE-EU was a multicentre, single-arm, single-dose, open-label phase 3 trial done at nine sites (hospitals and universities) in Italy (n=4), the UK (n=2), Belgium (n=2), and France (n=1). We enrolled patients younger than 6 months (180 days) with spinal muscular atrophy type 1 and the common biallelic pathogenic SMN1 exon 7-8 deletion or point mutations, and one or two copies of SMN2. Patients received a one-time intravenous infusion of onasemnogene abeparvovec (1·1 × 10 vector genomes [vg]/kg). The outpatient follow-up consisted of assessments once per week starting at day 7 post-infusion for 4 weeks and then once per month until the end of the study (at age 18 months or early termination). The primary outcome was independent sitting for at least 10 s, as defined by the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study, at any visit up to the 18 months of age study visit, measured in the intention-to-treat population. Efficacy was compared with the Pediatric Neuromuscular Clinical Research (PNCR) natural history cohort. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03461289 (completed).

Findings: From Aug 16, 2018, to Sept 11, 2020, 41 patients with spinal muscular atrophy were assessed for eligibility. The median age at onasemnogene abeparvovec dosing was 4·1 months (IQR 3·0-5·2). 32 (97%) of 33 patients completed the study and were included in the ITT population (one patient was excluded despite completing the study because of dosing at 181 days). 14 (44%, 97·5% CI 26-100) of 32 patients achieved the primary endpoint of functional independent sitting for at least 10 s at any visit up to the 18 months of age study visit (vs 0 of 23 untreated patients in the PNCR cohort; p<0·0001). 31 (97%, 95% CI 91-100) of 32 patients in the ITT population survived free from permanent ventilatory support at 14 months compared with six (26%, 8-44) of 23 patients in the PNCR natural history cohort (p<0·0001). 32 (97%) of 33 patients had at least one adverse event and six (18%) had adverse events that were considered serious and related to onasemnogene abeparvovec. The most common adverse events were pyrexia (22 [67%] of 33), upper respiratory infection (11 [33%]), and increased alanine aminotransferase (nine [27%]). One death, unrelated to the study drug, occurred from hypoxic-ischaemic brain damage because of a respiratory tract infection during the study.

Interpretation: STR1VE-EU showed efficacy of onasemnogene abeparvovec in infants with symptomatic spinal muscular atrophy type 1. No new safety signals were identified, but further studies are needed to show long-term safety. The benefit-risk profile of onasemnogene abeparvovec seems favourable for this patient population, including those with severe disease at baseline.

Funding: Novartis Gene Therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(21)00251-9DOI Listing
October 2021

Clinical and genetic spectrum of a large cohort of patients with δ-sarcoglycan muscular dystrophy.

Brain 2021 Sep 13. Epub 2021 Sep 13.

Neuromuscular Diseases Unit, Department of Neurology, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament of Medicine, Barcelona, 08041, Spain.

Sarcoglycanopathies include four subtypes of autosomal recessive limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (LGMDR3, LGMDR4, LGMDR5 and LGMDR6) that are caused, respectively, by mutations in the SGCA, SGCB, SGCG and SGCD genes. Delta-sarcoglycanopathy (LGMDR6) is the least frequent and is considered an ultra-rare disease. Our aim was to characterize the clinical and genetic spectrum of a large international cohort of LGMDR6 patients and to investigate whether or not genetic or protein expression data could predict diseasés severity. This is a retrospective study collecting demographic, genetic, clinical and histological data of patients with genetically confirmed LGMDR6 including protein expression data from muscle biopsies. We contacted 128 pediatric and adult neuromuscular units around the world that reviewed genetic data of patients with a clinical diagnosis of a neuromuscular disorder. We identified 30 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of LGMDR6 of which 23 patients were included in this study. Eighty seven percent of the patients had consanguineous parents. Ninety one percent of the patients were symptomatic at the time of the analysis. Proximal muscle weakness of the upper and lower limbs was the most common presenting symptom. Distal muscle weakness was observed early over the course of the disease in 56.5% of the patients. Cardiac involvement was reported in 5 patients (21.7%) and 4 patients (17.4%) required non-invasive ventilation. Sixty percent of patients were wheelchair-bound since early teens (median age of 12.0 years old). Patients with absent expression of the sarcoglycan complex on muscle biopsy had a significant earlier onset of symptoms and an earlier age of loss of ambulation compared to patients with residual protein expression. This study confirmed that delta-sarcoglycanopathy is an ultra-rare neuromuscular condition and described the clinical and molecular characteristics of the largest yet-reported collected cohort of patients. Our results showed that this is a very severe and quickly progressive disease characterized by generalized muscle weakness affecting predominantly proximal and distal muscles of the limbs. Similar to other forms of sarcoglycanopathies, the severity and rate of progressive weakness correlates inversely with the abundance of protein on muscle biopsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab301DOI Listing
September 2021

TREAT-NMD stakeholder meeting for natural history studies in limb girdle muscular dystrophy 18th June 2019, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 09 7;31(9):899-906. Epub 2021 Jul 7.

The John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Center, Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, The International Centre for Life, Central Parkway, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3BZ, UK. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2021.06.011DOI Listing
September 2021

Use of EP3533-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging as a Measure of Disease Progression in Skeletal Muscle of Mice.

Front Neurol 2021 17;12:636719. Epub 2021 Jun 17.

The Institute of Cancer and Genomics, Birmingham University, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

As putative treatments are developed for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), sensitive, non-invasive measures are increasingly important to quantify disease progression. Fibrosis is one of the histological hallmarks of muscular dystrophy and has been directly linked to prognosis. EP3533 is a novel contrast agent with an affinity to collagen 1 that has demonstrated a significant and high correlation to fibrosis quantification. Halofuginone is an established anti-fibrotic compound shown to reduce collagen skeletal muscle fibrosis in murine models of DMD. This experiment explored whether EP3533 could be used to detect signal change in skeletal muscle of mice before and after a 12 week course of halofuginone compared to controls. Four age-matched groups of treated and untreated mice were evaluated: 2 groups of ( = 8 and = 13, respectively), and 2 groups of BL10 mice ( = 5 and = 3, respectively). Treated mice received an intraperitoneal injection with halofuginone three times per week for 12 weeks, with the remaining mice being given vehicle. Both groups and the untreated BL10 were scanned at baseline, then all groups were scanned on week 13. All subjects were scanned using a 7T Varian scanner before and after administration of EP3533 using a T1 mapping technique. Mice underwent grip testing in week 13 prior to dissection. Skeletal muscle was used for Masson's trichrome quantification, hydroxyproline assay, and immunofluorescent antibody staining. Untreated mice demonstrated a significant increase in R1 signal from pre- to post-treatment scan in three out of four muscles (gastrocnemius = 0.04, hamstrings = 0.009, and tibialis anterior = 0.01), which was not seen in either the treated or the BL10 groups. Histological quantification of fibrosis also demonstrated significantly higher levels in the untreated mice with significant correlation seen between histology and EP3533 signal change. Forelimb weight adjusted-grip strength was significantly lower in the untreated group, compared to the treated group. EP3533 can be used over time as an outcome measure to quantify treatment effect of an established anti-fibrotic drug. Further studies are needed to evaluate the use of this contrast agent in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2021.636719DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8248789PMC
June 2021

The phenotypic and genotypic features of a Scottish cohort with McArdle disease.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 08 30;31(8):695-700. Epub 2021 May 30.

Department of Neurology, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, 1345, Govan Road, Glasgow G51 4TF, UK. Electronic address:

This retrospective study evaluated the phenotypic and genotypic features of 14 patients with McArdle disease attending the West of Scotland adult muscle clinic. Although all patients experienced exercise-induced cramps, exercise intolerance and hyperCKaemia, only 71% (n = 10) experienced the second wind phenomenon, rhabdomyolysis and/or myoglobinuria. We observed a high rate of fixed muscle weakness (50%; n = 7), coronary artery disease (36%; n = 5), and psychological comorbidity (50%; n = 7). Although 79% had symptom onset in the first decade of life, the mean age at presentation and at genetic diagnosis was 43.8 years and 47.7 years, respectively. 93% had at least one copy of the common PYGM pathogenic variant, c.148C > T, p.(Arg50*), with 50% (n = 7) of the cohort being homozygous. Our cohort highlights the phenotypic variability seen in McArdle disease and underscores the potential for late-onset presentations. It emphasises the need for improved awareness and recognition of this condition amongst neurologists, rheumatologists and general physicians. A history of exercise intolerance and second wind phenomenon may not always be volunteered by the patient, underscoring the need to ask specific questions in clinic to extrapolate the relevant symptoms in this patient cohort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2021.05.009DOI Listing
August 2021

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

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 08 27;31(8):769-772. Epub 2021 May 27.

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

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

High prevalence of sporadic late-onset nemaline myopathy in a cohort of whole-exome sequencing negative myopathy patients.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 May 14. Epub 2021 May 14.

Translational Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium; The Laboratory of Neuromuscular Pathology, Institute Born-Bunge, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium; The Neuromuscular Reference Centre, Department of Neurology, Antwerp University Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address:

Sporadic late-onset nemaline myopathy (SLONM) is an enigmatic, supposedly very rare, putatively immune-mediated late-onset myopathy, typically presenting with subacutely progressive limb-girdle muscular weakness, yet slowly progressing cases have been described too. We systematically studied (para)clinical and histopathological findings in a cohort of 18 isolated yet suspected inherited myopathy patients, showing late-onset, slowly progressive limb-girdle muscle weakness, remaining unsolved after whole-exome sequencing. The presence of a monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS) and anti-HMGCR antibodies was determined. Biopsies were systematically re-evaluated and systematic immunohistochemical and electron microscopy studies were performed to particularly evaluate the presence of rods and/or inflammatory features. Ten patients showed rods as core feature on muscle biopsy on re-evaluation, four of these had an IgG κ MGUS in blood. As such, these ten patients represented suspected slowly progressing SLONM patients, with auxiliary data supporting this diagnosis: 1) additional muscle biopsy features pointing towards Z-disk and myofibrillar pathology; 2) a common selective pattern of muscle involvement on MRI; 3) inflammatory features on muscle biopsy. Findings in this proof-of-concept study highlight difficulties in reliably diagnosing slowly progressing SLONM and the probably underestimated prevalence of this entity in cohorts of whole exome sequencing negative myopathy patients, initially considered having an inherited myopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2021.04.010DOI Listing
May 2021

North Star Ambulatory Assessment changes in ambulant Duchenne boys amenable to skip exons 44, 45, 51, and 53: A 3 year follow up.

PLoS One 2021 25;16(6):e0253882. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

Department of Neurosciences, Unit of Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Disorders, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Introduction: The aim of this study was to report 36-month longitudinal changes using the North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) in ambulant patients affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy amenable to skip exons 44, 45, 51 or 53.

Materials And Methods: We included 101 patients, 34 had deletions amenable to skip exon 44, 25 exon 45, 19 exon 51, and 28 exon 53, not recruited in any ongoing clinical trials. Five patients were counted to skip exon 51 and 53 since they had a single deletion of exon 52.

Results: The difference between subgroups (skip 44, 45, 51 and 53) was significant at 12 (p = 0.043), 24 (p = 0.005) and 36 months (p≤0.001).

Discussion: Mutations amenable to skip exons 53 and 51 had lower baseline values and more negative changes than the other subgroups while those amenable to skip exon 44 had higher scores both at baseline and at follow up.

Conclusion: Our results confirm different progression of disease in subgroups of patients with deletions amenable to skip different exons. This information is relevant as current long term clinical trials are using the NSAA in these subgroups of mutations.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0253882PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8232423PMC
November 2021

A cryptic intronic LAMA2 insertion in a boy with mild congenital muscular dystrophy type 1A.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 07 1;31(7):660-665. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre, Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3BZ, UK. Electronic address:

Recessive mutations in the LAMA2 gene lead to congenital muscular dystrophy type 1A and limb girdle muscular dystrophy R23 with complete or partial laminin α2 chain deficiency. Complete laminin α2 chain deficiency presents with early onset of severe hypotonia and generalized weakness, whereas partial deficiency shows a milder and more variable course with limb girdle weakness. Here, we report a child with mildly delayed motor development, elevated serum creatine kinase levels (>1000 U/l) and brain white matter hypointensity, indicative of laminin α2 chain deficiency. In addition to a stop gain variant in exon 39, the patient was found to carry an intronic insertion of 72 bp in intron 38 of the LAMA2 gene in trans. RNA analysis revealed that this insertion results in abnormally spliced as well as wild type transcript, which explains the partial laminin α2 chain deficiency observed in the muscle biopsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2021.03.009DOI Listing
July 2021

Childhood amyotrophic lateral sclerosis caused by excess sphingolipid synthesis.

Nat Med 2021 Jul 31;27(7):1197-1204. Epub 2021 May 31.

Department of Neurology, Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation Center of Excellence, Neuroscience Institute, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, Hackensack, NJ, USA.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease of the lower and upper motor neurons with sporadic or hereditary occurrence. Age of onset, pattern of motor neuron degeneration and disease progression vary widely among individuals with ALS. Various cellular processes may drive ALS pathomechanisms, but a monogenic direct metabolic disturbance has not been causally linked to ALS. Here we show SPTLC1 variants that result in unrestrained sphingoid base synthesis cause a monogenic form of ALS. We identified four specific, dominantly acting SPTLC1 variants in seven families manifesting as childhood-onset ALS. These variants disrupt the normal homeostatic regulation of serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT) by ORMDL proteins, resulting in unregulated SPT activity and elevated levels of canonical SPT products. Notably, this is in contrast with SPTLC1 variants that shift SPT amino acid usage from serine to alanine, result in elevated levels of deoxysphingolipids and manifest with the alternate phenotype of hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy. We custom designed small interfering RNAs that selectively target the SPTLC1 ALS allele for degradation, leave the normal allele intact and normalize sphingolipid levels in vitro. The role of primary metabolic disturbances in ALS has been elusive; this study defines excess sphingolipid biosynthesis as a fundamental metabolic mechanism for motor neuron disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01346-1DOI Listing
July 2021

Effects of cardiac medications on ventricular function in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy-related cardiomyopathy.

Muscle Nerve 2021 08 11;64(2):163-171. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Department of Cardiology, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Introduction/aims: The DMD Care Considerations Working Group Guidelines 2010 recommended treating cardiac dystrophinopathy with angiotensin-converting enzyme-inhibitor (ACEi) and beta-blocker (BB) therapy to prevent the progressive decline in left ventricular function expected from earlier, natural history studies. The aim of this research was to audit change in measures of left ventricular function over 8 years to 4 years before and 4 years after deploying an ACEi/BB combination systematically at a dedicated "cardiology-muscle" clinic.

Methods: This is an institutionally registered, retrospective, case-file-based audit of serial echocardiographic measures of left ventricular fractional shortening accumulated over the period 1995 to 2015.

Results: Data from 104 genetically confirmed Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients, aged 22.2 ± 5.3 years at data censure, were included. Mean age at first detection of left ventricular dysfunction was 15.1 ± 4.2 years, but older in those on maintenance steroid therapy (16.8 ± 4.2 vs 14.5 ± 4.1 years; P = .04). Group mean fractional shortening fell by 1.5%/year over the 4 years before therapy, but this decreased to 0.9%/year over the first 4 years after starting therapy. Analysis of limited left ventricular ejection fraction measures showed similar but nonsignificant changes. Neither age at detection of left ventricular dysfunction nor fractional shortening percent at time of therapy initiation affected the beneficial response.

Discussion: The results support the international DMD recommendations of the time. This combination of cardiac medications helps stabilize heart function. For the best long-term effects, therapy needs to be initiated no later than on first detection left ventricular impairment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mus.27336DOI Listing
August 2021

A form of muscular dystrophy associated with pathogenic variants in JAG2.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 05 15;108(5):840-856. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Centre de Référence Neuromusculaire and Paediatric Neurology Department, Hôpital Universitaire des Enfants Reine Fabiola, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 1020 Brussels, Belgium.

JAG2 encodes the Notch ligand Jagged2. The conserved Notch signaling pathway contributes to the development and homeostasis of multiple tissues, including skeletal muscle. We studied an international cohort of 23 individuals with genetically unsolved muscular dystrophy from 13 unrelated families. Whole-exome sequencing identified rare homozygous or compound heterozygous JAG2 variants in all 13 families. The identified bi-allelic variants include 10 missense variants that disrupt highly conserved amino acids, a nonsense variant, two frameshift variants, an in-frame deletion, and a microdeletion encompassing JAG2. Onset of muscle weakness occurred from infancy to young adulthood. Serum creatine kinase (CK) levels were normal or mildly elevated. Muscle histology was primarily dystrophic. MRI of the lower extremities revealed a distinct, slightly asymmetric pattern of muscle involvement with cores of preserved and affected muscles in quadriceps and tibialis anterior, in some cases resembling patterns seen in POGLUT1-associated muscular dystrophy. Transcriptome analysis of muscle tissue from two participants suggested misregulation of genes involved in myogenesis, including PAX7. In complementary studies, Jag2 downregulation in murine myoblasts led to downregulation of multiple components of the Notch pathway, including Megf10. Investigations in Drosophila suggested an interaction between Serrate and Drpr, the fly orthologs of JAG1/JAG2 and MEGF10, respectively. In silico analysis predicted that many Jagged2 missense variants are associated with structural changes and protein misfolding. In summary, we describe a muscular dystrophy associated with pathogenic variants in JAG2 and evidence suggests a disease mechanism related to Notch pathway dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.03.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206160PMC
May 2021

Measurement of salivary testosterone in adolescents and young men with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

BMC Endocr Disord 2021 Apr 10;21(1):63. Epub 2021 Apr 10.

Royal Victoria Infirmary. Department of Paediatric Endocrinology, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Background: Many young adults with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) receive long-term glucocorticoids (GC). GC can cause hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism and adolescents may therefore be candidates for pubertal induction. It is unclear whether men with DMD on or off GC have age-appropriate endogenous testosterone production.

Methods: We undertook a quality improvement project to assess the feasibility of measuring salivary testosterone (SalT) levels in men with DMD at home. A Sal-T sampling kit was sent by post to all patients with DMD, aged 17 and older, registered at the John Walton Muscular Centre in Newcastle (n = 75). Submitted Sal-T samples were collected and submitted for analysis.

Results: Twenty-eight out of seventy-five patients returned samples (age range: 17-34 years). 6/28 samples were unsuitable for analysis. Overall Sal-T levels (n = 22) were significantly lower than in the healthy population (178 ± 107 v 287 ± 109 pmol/l, p = 0.0001). Sal-T was lower in those on GC compared to those off GC (144 ± 81 versus 218 ± 125 pmol/l, p = 0.05). Three patients were unable to collect a sample due to ventilator dependence.

Conclusion: Sal T can provide information about androgen status in DMD patients at home, overcoming barriers such as mobility difficulties and challenging venepuncture. However we only obtained samples in a minority of patients suggesting that Sal-T measurement may not be appropriate or acceptable to everyone. There needs to be a more detailed exploration of the barriers to sample submission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12902-021-00727-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8035731PMC
April 2021

Deep phenotyping of an international series of patients with late-onset dysferlinopathy.

Eur J Neurol 2021 06 1;28(6):2092-2102. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Nord/Est/Ile-de-France Neuromuscular Reference Center, Institute of Myology, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, APHP, Sorbonne University, Paris, France.

Background: To describe the clinical, pathological, and molecular characteristics of late-onset (LO) dysferlinopathy patients.

Methods: Retrospective series of patients with LO dysferlinopathy, defined by an age at onset of symptoms ≥30 years, from neuromuscular centers in France and the International Clinical Outcome Study for dysferlinopathy (COS). Patients with early-onset (EO) dysferlinopathy (<30 years) were randomly selected from the COS study as a control group, and the North Star Assessment for Dysferlinopathy (NSAD) and Activity Limitation (ACTIVLIM) scores were used to assess functionality. Muscle biopsies obtained from 11 LO and 11 EO patients were revisited.

Results: Forty-eight patients with LO dysferlinopathy were included (28 females). Median age at onset of symptoms was 37 (range 30-57) years and most patients showed a limb-girdle (n = 26) or distal (n = 10) phenotype. However, compared with EO dysferlinopathy patients (n = 48), LO patients more frequently showed atypical phenotypes (7 vs. 1; p = 0.014), including camptocormia, lower creatine kinase levels (2855 vs. 4394 U/L; p = 0.01), and higher NSAD (p = 0.008) and ACTIVLIM scores (p = 0.016). Loss of ambulation in LO patients tended to occur later (23 ± 4.4 years after disease onset vs. 16.3 ± 6.8 years; p = 0.064). Muscle biopsy of LO patients more frequently showed an atypical pattern (unspecific myopathic changes) as well as significantly less necrosis regeneration and inflammation. Although LO patients more frequently showed missense variants (39.8% vs. 23.9%; p = 0.021), no differences in dysferlin protein expression were found on Western blot.

Conclusions: Late-onset dysferlinopathy patients show a higher frequency of atypical presentations, are less severely affected, and show milder dystrophic changes in muscle biopsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ene.14821DOI Listing
June 2021

Elevation of fast but not slow troponin I in the circulation of patients with Becker and Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Muscle Nerve 2021 07;64(1):43-49

Edgewise Therapeutics, BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Introduction: One of the hallmarks of injured skeletal muscle is the appearance of elevated skeletal muscle proteins in circulation. Human skeletal muscle generally consists of a mosaic of slow (type I) and fast (type IIa, IIx/d) fibers, defined by their myosin isoform expression. Recently, measurement of circulating fiber-type specific isoforms of troponin I has been used as a biomarker to suggest that muscle injury in healthy volunteers (HV) results in the appearance of muscle proteins from fast but not slow fibers. We sought to understand if this is also the case in severe myopathy patients with Becker and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (BMD, DMD).

Methods: An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that selectively measures fast and slow skeletal troponin I (TNNI2 and TNNI1) was used to measure a cross-section of patient plasma samples from HV (N = 50), BMD (N = 49), and DMD (N = 132) patients. Creatine kinase (CK) activity was also measured from the same samples for comparison.

Results: TNNI2 was elevated in BMD and DMD and correlated with the injury biomarker, CK. In contrast, TNNI1 levels were indistinguishable from levels in HV. There was an inverse relationship between CK and TNNI2 levels and age, but no relationship for TNNI1.

Discussion: We define a surprising discrepancy between TNNI1 and TNNI2 in patient plasma that may have implications for the interpretation of elevated muscle protein levels in dystrophinopathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mus.27222DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8362156PMC
July 2021

Miyoshi myopathy and limb girdle muscular dystrophy R2 are the same disease.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 04 21;31(4):265-280. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

The John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre, Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Central Parkway, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

This study aims to determine clinically relevant phenotypic differences between the two most common phenotypic classifications in dysferlinopathy, limb girdle muscular dystrophy R2 (LGMDR2) and Miyoshi myopathy (MMD1). LGMDR2 and MMD1 are reported to involve different muscles, with LGMDR2 showing predominant limb girdle weakness and MMD1 showing predominant distal lower limb weakness. We used heatmaps, regression analysis and principle component analysis of functional and Magnetic Resonance Imaging data to perform a cross-sectional review of the pattern of muscle involvement in 168 patients from the Jain Foundation's international Clinical Outcomes Study for Dysferlinopathy. We demonstrated that there is no clinically relevant difference in proximal vs distal involvement between diagnosis. There is a continuum of distal involvement at any given degree of proximal involvement and patients do not fall into discrete distally or proximally affected groups. There appeared to be geographical preference for a particular diagnosis, with MMD1 being more common in Japan and LGMDR2 in Europe and the USA. We conclude that the dysferlinopathies do not form two distinct phenotypic groups and therefore should not be split into separate cohorts of LGMDR2 and MM for the purposes of clinical management, enrolment in clinical trials or access to subsequent treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2021.01.009DOI Listing
April 2021

Assessing Dysferlinopathy Patients Over Three Years With a New Motor Scale.

Ann Neurol 2021 05 26;89(5):967-978. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Department of Neurology Children's National Health System, Washington, DC.

Objective: Dysferlinopathy is a muscular dystrophy with a highly variable clinical presentation and currently unpredictable progression. This variability and unpredictability presents difficulties for prognostication and clinical trial design. The Jain Clinical Outcomes Study of Dysferlinopathy aims to establish the validity of the North Star Assessment for Limb Girdle Type Muscular Dystrophies (NSAD) scale and identify factors that influence the rate of disease progression using NSAD.

Methods: We collected a longitudinal series of functional assessments from 187 patients with dysferlinopathy over 3 years. Rasch analysis was used to develop the NSAD, a motor performance scale suitable for ambulant and nonambulant patients. Generalized estimating equations were used to evaluate the impact of patient factors on outcome trajectories.

Results: The NSAD detected significant change in clinical progression over 1 year. The steepest functional decline occurred during the first 10 years after symptom onset, with more rapid decline noted in patients who developed symptoms at a younger age (p = 0.04). The most rapidly deteriorating group over the study was patients 3 to 8 years post symptom onset at baseline.

Interpretation: The NSAD is the first validated limb girdle specific scale of motor performance, suitable for use in clinical practice and clinical trials. Longitudinal analysis showed it may be possible to identify patient factors associated with greater functional decline both across the disease course and in the short-term for clinical trial preparation. Through further work and validation in this cohort, we anticipate that a disease model incorporating functional performance will allow for more accurate prognosis for patients with dysferlinopathy. ANN NEUROL 2021;89:967-978.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.26044DOI Listing
May 2021

The administration of antisense oligonucleotide golodirsen reduces pathological regeneration in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2021 01 6;9(1). Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford St, London, WC1N 1EH, UK.

During the last decade, multiple clinical trials for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) have focused on the induction of dystrophin expression using different strategies. Many of these trials have reported a clear increase in dystrophin protein following treatment. However, the low levels of the induced dystrophin protein have raised questions on its functionality. In our present study, using an unbiased, high-throughput digital image analysis platform, we assessed markers of regeneration and levels of dystrophin associated protein via immunofluorescent analysis of whole muscle sections in 25 DMD boys who received 48-weeks treatment with exon 53 skipping morpholino antisense oligonucleotide (PMO) golodirsen. We demonstrate that the de novo dystrophin induced by exon skipping with PMO golodirsen is capable of conferring a histological benefit in treated patients with an increase in dystrophin associated proteins at the dystrophin positive regions of the sarcolemma in post-treatment biopsies. Although 48 weeks treatment with golodirsen did not result in a significant change in the levels of fetal/developmental myosins for the entire cohort, there was a significant negative correlation between the amount of dystrophin and levels of regeneration observed in different biopsy samples. Our results provide, for the first time, evidence of functionality of induced dystrophin following successful therapeutic intervention in the human.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-020-01106-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7789286PMC
January 2021

Intensive Teenage Activity Is Associated With Greater Muscle Hyperintensity on T1W Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Adults With Dysferlinopathy.

Front Neurol 2020 16;11:613446. Epub 2020 Dec 16.

The John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre, Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Practice of sports during childhood or adolescence correlates with an earlier onset and more rapidly progressing phenotype in dysferlinopathies. To determine if this correlation relates to greater muscle pathology that persists into adulthood, we investigated the effect of exercise on the degree of muscle fatty replacement measured using muscle MRI. We reviewed pelvic, thigh and leg T1W MRI scans from 160 patients with genetically confirmed dysferlinopathy from the Jain Foundation International clinical outcomes study in dysferlinopathy. Two independent assessors used the Lamminen-Mercuri visual scale to score degree of fat replacement in each muscle. Exercise intensity for each individual was defined as no activity, minimal, moderate, or intensive activity by using metabolic equivalents and patient reported frequency of sports undertaken between the ages of 10 and 18. We used ANCOVA and linear modeling to compare the mean Lamminen-Mercuri score for the pelvis, thigh, and leg between exercise groups, controlling for age at assessment and symptom duration. Intensive exercisers showed greater fatty replacement in the muscles of the pelvis than moderate exercisers, but no significant differences of the thigh or leg. Within the pelvis, Psoas was the muscle most strongly associated with this exercise effect. In patients with a short symptom duration of <15 years there was a trend toward greater fatty replacement in the muscles of the thigh. These findings define key muscles involved in the exercise-phenotype effect that has previously been observed only clinically in dysferlinopathy and support recommendations that pre-symptomatic patients should avoid very intensive exercise.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.613446DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7773023PMC
December 2020

Resting-state functional MRI shows altered default-mode network functional connectivity in Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients.

Brain Imaging Behav 2021 Oct 3;15(5):2297-2307. Epub 2021 Jan 3.

John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre, Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive neuromuscular disorder caused by absence of dystrophin protein. Dystrophin is expressed in muscle, but also in the brain. Difficulties with attention/inhibition, working memory and information processing are well described in DMD patients but their origin is poorly understood. The default mode network (DMN) is one of the networks involved in these processes. Therefore we aimed to assess DMN connectivity in DMD patients compared to matched controls, to better understand the cognitive profile in DMD. T1-weighted and resting state functional MRI scans were acquired from 33 DMD and 24 male age-matched controls at two clinical sites. Scans were analysed using FMRIB Software Library (FSL). Differences in the DMN were assessed using FSL RANDOMISE, with age as covariate and threshold-free cluster enhancement including multiple comparison correction. Post-hoc analyses were performed on the visual network, executive control network and fronto-parietal network with the same methods. In DMD patients, the level of connectivity was higher in areas within the control DMN (hyperconnectivity) and significant connectivity was found in areas outside the control DMN. No hypoconnectivity was found and no differences in the visual network, executive control network and fronto-parietal network. We showed differences both within and in areas outside the DMN in DMD. The specificity of our findings to the DMN can help provide a better understanding of the attention/inhibition, working memory and information processing difficulties in DMD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11682-020-00422-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8500880PMC
October 2021

Three Individuals with PURA Syndrome in a Cohort of Patients with Neuromuscular Disease.

Neuropediatrics 2021 10 22;52(5):390-393. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre, Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Pur-α protein (PURA) syndrome manifests in early childhood with core features such as neurodevelopmental and speech delay, feeding difficulties, epilepsy, and hypotonia at birth. We identified three cases with PURA syndrome in a cohort of patients with unexplained muscular weakness, presenting with a predominantly neuromuscular and ataxic phenotype. We further characterize the clinical presentation of PURA syndrome including myopathic facies and muscular weakness as the main clinical symptoms in combination with elevated serum creatine kinase levels. Furthermore, we report two novel variants located in the conservative domains PUR-I and PUR-II. For the first time, we present the muscle biopsies of PURA syndrome patients, showing myopathic changes, fiber size variability, and fast fiber atrophy as the key features. PURA syndrome should be taken into consideration as a differential diagnosis in pediatric patients with unexplained muscle weakness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1715625DOI Listing
October 2021

Pathogenic Variants in the Myosin Chaperone UNC-45B Cause Progressive Myopathy with Eccentric Cores.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 12 19;107(6):1078-1095. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Department of Clinical Genome Analysis, Medical Genome Center, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, 187-8551 Tokyo, Japan.

The myosin-directed chaperone UNC-45B is essential for sarcomeric organization and muscle function from Caenorhabditis elegans to humans. The pathological impact of UNC-45B in muscle disease remained elusive. We report ten individuals with bi-allelic variants in UNC45B who exhibit childhood-onset progressive muscle weakness. We identified a common UNC45B variant that acts as a complex hypomorph splice variant. Purified UNC-45B mutants showed changes in folding and solubility. In situ localization studies further demonstrated reduced expression of mutant UNC-45B in muscle combined with abnormal localization away from the A-band towards the Z-disk of the sarcomere. The physiological relevance of these observations was investigated in C. elegans by transgenic expression of conserved UNC-45 missense variants, which showed impaired myosin binding for one and defective muscle function for three. Together, our results demonstrate that UNC-45B impairment manifests as a chaperonopathy with progressive muscle pathology, which discovers the previously unknown conserved role of UNC-45B in myofibrillar organization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.11.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7820787PMC
December 2020

Novel free-circulating and extracellular vesicle-derived miRNAs dysregulated in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Epigenomics 2020 11 20;12(21):1899-1915. Epub 2020 Nov 20.

The Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, 30 Guildford Street, London, WC1N 1EH, United Kingdom.

To perform cross-sectional and longitudinal miRNA profiling in plasma from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) subjects and find non-invasive biomarkers in DMD. Plasma was collected from 14 age and sex matched controls and 46 DMD subjects. Free-circulating and extracellular vesicle (EV)-derived miRNA expression was measured by RT-qPCR. Free-circulating and EVs derived miR-29c-3p and miR-133a-3p are dysregulated in DMD subjects. Free-circulating and EV-derived miR-29c-3p are reduced in DMD subjects undergoing daily corticosteroid treatment. Free-circulating miR-1-3p and miR-122-5p are longitudinally upregulated in ambulant DMD subjects. We detected novel free-circulating and EV-derived dysregulated miRNAs in plasma from DMD subjects and characterized the longitudinal profile of free-circulating miRNA on plasma from DMD subjects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/epi-2020-0052DOI Listing
November 2020
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