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Friedreich ataxia (FRDA), the most common autosomal recessive ataxia, is characterized by degeneration of the large sensory neurons and spinocerebellar tracts, cardiomyopathy and increased incidence in diabetes. FRDA is caused by severely reduced levels of frataxin, a mitochondrial protein of unknown function. Yeast knockout models as well as histological(More)
Deletion of the murine survival of motor neuron gene (SMN) exon 7, the most frequent mutation found in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) patients, directed to neurons but not to skeletal muscle, enabled generation of a mouse model of SMA providing evidence that motor neurons are the primary target of the gene defect. Moreover, the mutated SMN protein(More)
Alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC) is a rare, severe neurodevelopmental syndrome characterized by recurrent hemiplegic episodes and distinct neurological manifestations. AHC is usually a sporadic disorder and has unknown etiology. We used exome sequencing of seven patients with AHC and their unaffected parents to identify de novo nonsynonymous(More)
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disease, characterized by degeneration of the anterior horn cells of the spinal cord. SMA presents with a highly variable phenotype ranging from very severe to mild (type I-III). No cure for SMA is available at present. All forms of SMA are caused by homozygous loss of the functional(More)
The existence of an association between apolipoprotein E (APOE) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been reported in several studies. The possession of an ApoE epsilon4 allele is now considered a genetic risk factor for sporadic AD. There has been a growing agreement about the role exerted by the ApoE epsilon4 allele on the neuropsychological profile and the(More)
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is characterized by degeneration of motor neurons of the spinal cord associated with muscle paralysis and caused by mutations of the survival motor neuron gene (SMN). To determine whether SMN gene defect in skeletal muscle might have a role in SMA pathogenesis, deletion of murine SMN exon 7, the most frequent mutation found in(More)
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous disease characterized by the degeneration of lower motor neurons. The most frequent form is linked to mutations in SMN1. Childhood SMA associated with progressive myoclonic epilepsy (SMA-PME) has been reported as a rare autosomal-recessive condition unlinked to mutations in SMN1.(More)
OBJECTIVE To assess the efficacy of phenylbutyrate (PB) in patients with spinal muscular atrophy in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 10 Italian centers. METHODS One hundred seven children were assigned to receive PB (500 mg/kg/day) or matching placebo on an intermittent regimen (7 days on/7 days off) for 13 weeks. The(More)
The aim of this study was to evaluate tolerability and efficacy of phenylbutyrate (PB) in patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Ten patients with SMA type II confirmed by DNA studies (age range 2.6-12.7 years, mean age 6.01) were started on oral PB (triButyrate) in powder or tablets. The dosage was 500 mg/kg per day (maximum dose 19 g/d), divided in(More)
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by insufficient levels of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. Recently, we found that sodium 4-phenylbutyrate (PB), a well-tolerated FDA approved drug, enhances SMN gene expression in vitro. We provide here the first evidence that oral administration of PB (triButyrate significantly increases SMN expression in(More)