Analyzing the type and frequency of patient-specific mutations that give rise to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an invaluable tool for diagnostics, basic scientific research, trial planning, and improved clinical care. Locus-specific databases allow for the collection, organization, storage, and analysis of genetic variants of disease. Here, we describe the development and analysis of the TREAT-NMD DMD Global database (http://umd.be/TREAT_DMD/). We analyzed genetic data for 7,149 DMD mutations held within the database. A total of 5,682 large mutations were observed (80% of total mutations), of which 4,894 (86%) were deletions (1 exon or larger) and 784 (14%) were duplications (1 exon or larger). There were 1,445 small mutations (smaller than 1 exon, 20% of all mutations), of which 358 (25%) were small deletions and 132 (9%) small insertions and 199 (14%) affected the splice sites. Point mutations totalled 756 (52% of small mutations) with 726 (50%) nonsense mutations and 30 (2%) missense mutations. Finally, 22 (0.3%) mid-intronic mutations were observed. In addition, mutations were identified within the database that would potentially benefit from novel genetic therapies for DMD including stop codon read-through therapies (10% of total mutations) and exon skipping therapy (80% of deletions and 55% of total mutations).
Background:Recent short-term clinical trials in patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) have indicated greater disease variability in terms of progression than expected. In addition, as average life-expectancy increases, reliable data is required on clinical progression in the older DMD population.Objective:To determine the effects of corticosteroids on major clinical outcomes of DMD in a large multinational cohort of genetically confirmed DMD patients.Methods:In this cross-sectional study we analysed clinical data from 5345 genetically confirmed DMD patients from 31 countries held within the TREAT-NMD global DMD database. For analysis patients were categorised by corticosteroid background and further stratified by age.Results:Loss of ambulation in non-steroid treated patients was 10 years and in corticosteroid treated patients 13 years old (p = 0.0001). Corticosteroid treated patients were less likely to need scoliosis surgery (p < 0.001) or ventilatory support (p < 0.001) and there was a mild cardioprotective effect of corticosteroids in the patient population aged 20 years and older (p = 0.0035). Patients with a single deletion of exon 45 showed an increased survival in contrast to other single exon deletions.Conclusions:This study provides data on clinical outcomes of DMD across many healthcare settings and including a sizeable cohort of older patients. Our data confirm the benefits of corticosteroid treatment on ambulation, need for scoliosis surgery, ventilation and, to a lesser extent, cardiomyopathy. This study underlines the importance of data collection via patient registries and the critical role of multi-centre collaboration in the rare disease field.
The biological effects of ionizing radiation are attributable, in large part, to induction of DNA double-strand breaks. We report here the identification of a new protein factor that reconstitutes efficient double-strand break rejoining when it is added to a reaction containing the five other polypeptides known to participate in the human nonhomologous end-joining pathway. The factor is a stable heteromeric complex of polypyrimidine tract-binding protein-associated splicing factor (PSF) and a 54-kDa nuclear RNA-binding protein (p54(nrb)). These polypeptides, to which a variety of functions have previously been attributed, share extensive homology, including tandem RNA recognition motif domains. The PSF⅐p54(nrb) complex cooperates with Ku protein to form a functional preligation complex with substrate DNA. Based on structural comparison with related proteins, we propose a model where the four RNA recognition motif domains in the heteromeric PSF⅐p54(nrb) complex cooperate to align separate DNA molecules.
Objective:To describe the baseline clinical and functional characteristics of an international cohort of 193 patients with dysferlinopathy.Methods:The Clinical Outcome Study for dysferlinopathy (COS) is an international multicenter study of this disease, evaluating patients with genetically confirmed dysferlinopathy over 3 years. We present a cross-sectional analysis of 193 patients derived from their baseline clinical and functional assessments.Results:There is a high degree of variability in disease onset, pattern of weakness, and rate of progression. No factor, such as mutation class, protein expression, or age at onset, accounted for this variability. Among patients with clinical diagnoses of Miyoshi myopathy or limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, clinical presentation and examination was not strikingly different. Respiratory impairment and cardiac dysfunction were observed in a minority of patients. A substantial delay in diagnosis was previously common but has been steadily reducing, suggesting increasing awareness of dysferlinopathies.Conclusions:These findings highlight crucial issues to be addressed for both optimizing clinical care and planning therapeutic trials in dysferlinopathy. This ongoing longitudinal study will provide an opportunity to further understand patterns and variability in disease progression and form the basis for trial design.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked genetic disease, caused by the absence of the dystrophin protein. Although many novel therapies are under development for DMD, there is currently no cure and affected individuals are often confined to a wheelchair by their teens and die in their twenties/thirties. DMD is a rare disease (prevalence <5/10,000). Even the largest countries do not have enough affected patients to rigorously assess novel therapies, unravel genetic complexities, and determine patient outcomes. TREAT-NMD is a worldwide network for neuromuscular diseases that provides an infrastructure to support the delivery of promising new therapies for patients. The harmonized implementation of national and ultimately global patient registries has been central to the success of TREAT-NMD. For the DMD registries within TREAT-NMD, individual countries have chosen to collect patient information in the form of standardized patient registries to increase the overall patient population on which clinical outcomes and new technologies can be assessed. The registries comprise more than 13,500 patients from 31 different countries. Here, we describe how the TREAT-NMD national patient registries for DMD were established. We look at their continued growth and assess how successful they have been at fostering collaboration between academia, patient organizations, and industry.
Cellular responses to DNA damage reflect the dynamic integration of cell cycle control, cell–cell interactions and tissue-specific patterns of gene regulation that occurs in vivo but is not recapitulated in cell culture models. Here we describe use of the zebrafish embryo as a model system to identify determinants of the in vivo response to ionizing radiation-induced DNA damage. To demonstrate the utility of the model we cloned and characterized the embryonic function of the XRCC5 gene, which encodes Ku80, an essential component of the nonhomologous end joining pathway of DNA repair. After the onset of zygotic transcription, Ku80 mRNA accumulates in a tissue-specific pattern, which includes proliferative zones of the retina and central nervous system. In the absence of genotoxic stress, zebrafish embryos with reduced Ku80 function develop normally. However, low dose irradiation of these embryos during gastrulation leads to marked apoptosis throughout the developing central nervous system. Apoptosis is p53 dependent, indicating that it is a downstream consequence of unrepaired DNA damage. Results suggest that nonhomologous end joining components mediate DNA repair to promote survival of irradiated cells during embryogenesis.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder characterised by the degeneration of motor neurons and progressive muscle weakness. It is caused by homozygous deletions in the survival motor neuron gene on chromosome 5. SMA shows a wide range of clinical severity, with SMA type I patients often dying before 2 years of age, whereas type III patients experience less severe clinical manifestations and can have a normal life span. Here, we describe the design, setup and utilisation of the TREAT-NMD national SMA patient registries characterised by a small, but fully standardised set of registry items and by genetic confirmation in all patients. We analyse a selection of clinical items from the SMA registries in order to provide a snapshot of the clinical data stratified by SMA subtype, and compare these results with published recommendations on standards of care. Our study included 5,068 SMA patients in 25 countries. A total of 615 patients were ventilated, either invasively (178) or non-invasively (437), 439 received tube feeding and 455 had had scoliosis surgery. Some of these interventions were not available to patients in all countries, but differences were also noted among high-income countries with comparable wealth and health care systems. This study provides the basis for further research, such as quality of life in ventilated SMA patients, and will inform clinical trial planning.
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