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  • Application of N-palmitoyl-O-phosphocholineserine for diagnosis and assessment of response to treatment in Niemann-Pick type C disease
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2020-01-22
    Rohini Sidhu; Pamela Kell; Dennis J. Dietzen; Nicole Y. Farhat; An Ngoc Dang Do; Forbes D. Porter; Elizabeth Berry-Kravis; Charles H. Vite; Janine Reunert; Thorsten Marquardt; Roberto Giugliani; Charles M. Lourenço; Olaf Bodamer; Raymond Y. Wang; Ellen Plummer; Jean E. Schaffer; Daniel S. Ory; Xuntian Jiang

    Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease is a rare lysosomal storage disorder caused by mutations in either the NPC1 or the NPC2 gene. A new class of lipids, N-acyl-O-phosphocholineserines were recently identified as NPC biomarkers. The most abundant species in this class of lipid, N-palmitoyl-O-phosphocholineserine (PPCS), was evaluated for diagnosis of NPC disease and treatment efficacy assessment with 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPβCD) in NPC. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) methods were developed and validated to measure PPCS in human plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). A cutoff of 248 ng/mL in plasma provided a sensitivity of 100.0% and specificity of 96.6% in identifying NPC1 patients from control and NPC1 carrier subjects. PPCS was significantly elevated in CSF from NPC1 patients, and CSF PPCS levels were significantly correlated with NPC neurological disease severity scores. Plasma and CSF PPCS did not change significantly in response to intrathetical (IT) HPβCD treatment. In an intravenous (IV) HPβCD trial, plasma PPCS in all patients was significantly reduced. These results demonstrate that plasma PPCS was able to diagnose NPC1 patients with high sensitivity and specificity, and to evaluate the peripheral treatment efficacy of IV HPβCD treatment.

  • The Undiagnosed Diseases Network International: Five years and more!
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2020-01-17
    D. Taruscio; G. Baynam; H. Cederroth; S.C. Groft; E.W. Klee; K. Kosaki; P. Lasko; B. Melegh; O. Riess; M. Salvatore; W.A. Gahl

    Undiagnosed rare diseases (URDs) account for a significant portion of the overall rare disease burden, depending upon the country. Hence, URDs represent an unmet medical need. A specific challenge posed by the ensemble of the URD patient cohort is the heterogeneity of its composition; the group, indeed, includes very rare, still unidentified conditions as well as clinical variants of recognized rare diseases. Exact disease recognition requires new approaches that cut across national and institutional boundaries, may need the implementation of methods new to diagnostics, and embrace clinical care and research. To address these issues, the Undiagnosed Diseases Network International (UDNI) was established in 2014, with the major aims of providing diagnoses to patients, implementing additional diagnostic tools, and fostering research on novel diseases, their mechanisms, and their pathways. The UDNI involves centres with internationally recognized expertise, and its scientific resources and know-how aim to fill the knowledge gaps that impede diagnosis, in particularly for ultra-rare diseases. Consequently, the UDNI fosters the translation of research into medical practice, aided by active patient involvement. The goals of the UDNI are to work collaboratively and at an international scale to: 1) provide diagnoses for individuals who have conditions that have eluded diagnosis by clinical experts; 2) gain insights into the etiology and pathogenesis of novel diseases; 3) contribute to standards of diagnosing unsolved patients; and 4) share the results of UDNI research in a timely manner and as broadly as possible.

  • Branched-chain α-ketoacid dehydrogenase deficiency (maple syrup urine disease): Treatment, biomarkers, and outcomes
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2020-01-16
    Kevin A. Strauss; Vincent J. Carson; Kyle Soltys; Millie E. Young; Lauren E. Bowser; Erik G. Puffenberger; Karlla W. Brigatti; Katie B. Williams; Donna L. Robinson; Christine Hendrickson; Keturah Beiler; Cora M. Taylor; Barbara Haas-Givler; Stephanie Chopko; Jennifer Hailey; Emilie R. Muelly; Diana A. Shellmer; Zachary Radcliff; D. Holmes Morton

    Over the past three decades, we studied 184 individuals with 174 different molecular variants of branched-chain α-ketoacid dehydrogenase activity, and here delineate essential clinical and biochemical aspects of the maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) phenotype. We collected data about treatment, survival, hospitalization, metabolic control, and liver transplantation from patients with classic (i.e., severe; n = 176), intermediate (n = 6) and intermittent (n = 2) forms of MSUD. A total of 13,589 amino acid profiles were used to analyze leucine tolerance, amino acid homeostasis, estimated cerebral amino acid uptake, quantitative responses to anabolic therapy, and metabolic control after liver transplantation. Standard instruments were used to measure neuropsychiatric outcomes. Despite advances in clinical care, classic MSUD remains a morbid and potentially fatal disorder. Stringent dietary therapy maintains metabolic variables within acceptable limits but is challenging to implement, fails to restore appropriate concentration relationships among circulating amino acids, and does not fully prevent cognitive and psychiatric disabilities. Liver transplantation eliminates the need for a prescription diet and safeguards patients from life-threatening metabolic crises, but is associated with predictable morbidities and does not reverse pre-existing neurological sequelae. There is a critical unmet need for safe and effective disease-modifying therapies for MSUD which can be implemented early in life. The biochemistry and physiology of MSUD and its response to liver transplantation afford key insights into the design of new therapies based on gene replacement or editing.

  • The long-term safety and efficacy of vestronidase alfa, rhGUS enzyme replacement therapy, in subjects with mucopolysaccharidosis VII
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2020-01-11
    Raymond Y. Wang; José Francisco da Silva Franco; Jaime López-Valdez; Esmeralda Martins; Vernon Reid Sutton; Chester B. Whitley; Lin Zhang; Tricia Cimms; Deborah Marsden; Agnieszka Jurecka; Paul Harmatz

    Vestronidase alfa (recombinant human beta-glucuronidase) is an enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) for Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) VII, a highly heterogeneous, ultra-rare disease. Twelve subjects, ages 8–25 years, completed a Phase 3, randomized, placebo-controlled, blind-start, single crossover study (UX003-CL301; NCT02377921), receiving 24–48 weeks of vestronidase alfa 4 mg/kg IV. All 12 subjects completed the blind-start study, which showed significantly reduced urinary glycosaminoglycans (GAG) and clinical improvement in a multi-domain responder index, and enrolled in a long-term, open-label, extension study (UX003-CL202; NCT02432144). Here, we report the final results of the extension study, up to an additional 144 weeks after completion of the blind-start study. Three subjects (25%) completed all 144 weeks of study, eight subjects (67%) ended study participation before Week 144 to switch to commercially available vestronidase alfa, and one subject discontinued due to non-compliance after receiving one infusion of vestronidase alfa in the extension study. The safety profile of vestronidase alfa in the extension study was consistent with observations in the preceding blind-start study, with most adverse events mild to moderate in severity. There were no treatment or study discontinuations due to AEs and no noteworthy changes in a standard safety chemistry panel. Out of the eleven subjects who tested positive for anti-drug antibodies at any time during the blind-start or extension study, including the baseline assessment in the blind-start study, seven subjects tested positive for neutralizing antibodies and all seven continued to demonstrate a reduction in urinary GAG levels. There was no association between antibody formation and infusion associated reactions. Subjects receiving continuous vestronidase alfa treatment showed a sustained urinary GAG reduction and clinical response evaluated using a multi-domain responder index that includes assessments in pulmonary function, motor function, range of motion, mobility, and visual acuity. Reduction in fatigue was also maintained in the overall population. As ERT is not expected to cross the blood brain barrier, limiting the impact on neurological signs of disease, and not all subjects presented with neurological symptoms, outcomes related to central nervous system pathology are not focused on in this report. Results from this study show the long-term safety and durability of clinical efficacy in subjects with MPS VII with long-term vestronidase alfa treatment.

  • Clinical, biochemical, mitochondrial, and metabolomic aspects of methylmalonate semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency: Report of a fifth case
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2020-01-11
    Steven F. Dobrowolski; Ahmad Alodaib; Anuradha Karunanidhi; Shrabini Basu; Meghan Holecko; Uta Lichter-Konecki; Kirk L. Pappan; Jerry Vockley

    Methylmalonate semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency (MMSDD; MIM 614105) is a rare autosomal recessive defect of valine and pyrimidine catabolism. Four prior MMSDD cases are published. We present a fifth case, along with functional and metabolomic analysis. The patient, born to non-consanguineous parents of East African origin, was admitted at two weeks of age for failure to thrive. She was nondysmorphic, had a normal brain MRI, and showed mild hypotonia. Gastroesophageal reflux occurred with feeding. Urine organic acid assessment identified excess 3-hydroxyisobutyrate and 3-hydroxypropionate, while urine amino acid analysis identified elevated concentrations of β-aminoisobutyrate and β-alanine. Plasma amino acids showed an elevated concentration of β-aminoisobutyrate with undetectable β-alanine. ALDH6A1 gene sequencing identified a homozygous variant of uncertain significance, c.1261C > T (p.Pro421Ser). Management with valine restriction led to reduced concentration of abnormal analytes in blood and urine, improved growth, and reduced gastroesophageal reflux. Western blotting of patient fibroblast extracts demonstrated a large reduction of methylmalonate semialdehyde dehydrogenase (MMSD) protein. Patient cells displayed compromised mitochondrial function with increased superoxide production, reduced oxygen consumption, and reduced ATP production. Metabolomic profiles from patient fibroblasts demonstrated over-representation of fatty acids and fatty acylcarnitines, presumably due to methylmalonate semialdehyde shunting to β-alanine and subsequently to malonyl-CoA with ensuing increase of fatty acid synthesis. Previously reported cases of MMSDD have shown variable clinical presentation. Our case continues the trend as clinical phenotypes diverge from prior cases. Recognition of mitochondrial dysfunction and novel metabolites in this patient provide the opportunity to assess future patients for secondary changes that may influence clinical outcome.

  • Evaluation of neurocognitive function of prefrontal cortex in ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2020-01-10
    Afrouz Anderson; Andrea Gropman; Cynthia Le Mons; Constantine Stratakis; Amir Gandjbakhche

    Hyperammonia due to ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTCD) can cause a range of deficiencies in domains of executive function and working memory. Only a few fMRI studies have focused on neuroimaging data in a population with OTCD. Yet, there is a need for monitoring the disease progression and neurocognitive function in this population. In this study, we used a non-invasive neuroimaging technique, functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), to examine the hemodynamics of prefrontal cortex (PFC) based on neural activation in an OTCD population. Using fNIRS, we measured the activation in PFC of the participants while performing the Stroop task. Behavioral assessment such as reaction time and correct response were recorded. We investigated the difference in behavioral measures as well as brain activation in left and right PFC in patients with OTCD and controls. Results revealed a distinction in left PFC activation between controls and patients with OTCD, where control subjects showed higher task related activation increase. Subjects with OTCD also exhibited bilateral increase in PFC activation. There was no significant difference in response time or correct response between the two groups. Our findings suggest the alterations in neurocognitive function of PFC in OTCD compared to the controls despite the behavioral profiles exhibiting no such differences. This is a first study using fNIRS to examine a neurocognitive function in OTCD population and can provide a novel insight into the screening of OTCD progression and examining neurocognitive changes.

  • The Galactose Index measured in fibroblasts of GALT deficient patients distinguishes variant patients detected by newborn screening from patients with classical phenotypes
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2020-01-09
    M.M. Welsink-Karssies; M. van Weeghel; C.E.M. Hollak; H.L. Elfrink; M.C.H. Janssen; K. Lai; J.G. Langendonk; E. Oussoren; J.P.N. Ruiter; E.P. Treacy; M. de Vries; S. Ferdinandusse; A.M. Bosch

    Background The high variability in clinical outcome of patients with Classical Galactosemia (CG) is poorly understood and underlines the importance of prognostic biomarkers, which are currently lacking. The aim of this study was to investigate if residual galactose metabolism capacity is associated with clinical and biochemical outcomes in CG patients with varying geno- and phenotypes. Methods Galactose Metabolite Profiling (GMP) was used to determine residual galactose metabolism in fibroblasts of CG patients. The association between the galactose index (GI) defined as the ratio of the measured metabolites [U13C]Gal-1-P/ [13C6]UDP-galactose, and both intellectual and neurological outcome and galactose-1-phosphate (Gal-1-P) levels was investigated. Results GMP was performed in fibroblasts of 28 patients and 3 control subjects. The GI of the classical phenotype patients (n = 22) was significantly higher than the GI of four variant patients detected by newborn screening (NBS) (p = .002), two homozygous p.Ser135Leu patients (p = .022) and three controls (p = .006). In the classical phenotype patients, 13/18 (72%) had a poor intellectual outcome (IQ < 85) and 6/12 (50%) had a movement disorder. All the NBS detected variant patients (n = 4) had a normal intellectual outcome (IQ ≥ 85) and none of them has a movement disorder. In the classical phenotype patients, there was no significant difference in GI between patients with a poor and normal clinical outcome. The NBS detected variant patients had significantly lower GI levels and thus higher residual galactose metabolism than patients with classical phenotypes. There was a clear correlation between Gal-1-P levels in erythrocytes and the GI (p = .001). Conclusions The GI was able to distinguish CG patients with varying geno- and phenotypes and correlated with Gal-1-P. The data of the NBS detected variant patients demonstrated that a higher residual galactose metabolism may result in a more favourable clinical outcome. Further research is needed to enable individual prognostication and treatment in all CG patients.

  • Effect of eliglustat on the pharmacokinetics of digoxin, metoprolol, and oral contraceptives and absorption of eliglustat when coadministered with acid-reducing agents
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2020-01-07
    Nathan Thibault; Jennifer Ibrahim; Judith Peterschmitt; Ana Cristina Puga; Leorah Ross; Lucie Vu; Yong Xue; Sandrine Turpault

    Eliglustat is an oral substrate reduction therapy indicated for patients with Gaucher disease type 1. Based on in vitro data, clinical trials were conducted to assess the potential for drug-drug interactions between eliglustat and digoxin (P-glycoprotein substrate), metoprolol (sensitive CYP2D6 substrate), a combined oral contraceptive (CYP3A substrate), and acid-reducing agents. Healthy subjects were enrolled in four Phase 1 clinical studies to evaluate the effect of eliglustat on the pharmacokinetics, safety, and tolerability of digoxin (N = 28), metoprolol (N = 14), and a combined oral contraceptive (N = 30) and the effect of acid-reducing agents on eliglustat pharmacokinetics, safety, and tolerability (N = 24). Coadministration resulted in increased exposure to digoxin (1.49-fold) and metoprolol (2-fold) with eliglustat, negligible effects on oral contraceptive pharmacokinetics with eliglustat, and a negligible effect of acid-reducing agents on eliglustat pharmacokinetics. Across all studies, eliglustat was well-tolerated. One serious adverse event (spontaneous abortion) and one discontinuation due to an adverse event (urinary tract infection) were reported, both during the acid-reducing agents study. When eliglustat is coadministered with medications that are P-glycoprotein or CYP2D6 substrates, lower doses of these concomitant medications may be required. Eliglustat may be coadministered with oral contraceptives and acid-reducing agents without dose modifications for either drug.

  • Pathogenic variants in NUBPL result in failure to assemble the matrix arm of complex I and cause a complex leukoencephalopathy with thalamic involvement
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-12-30
    Marisa W. Friederich; Francisco A. Perez; Kaz Knight; Roxanne A. Van Hove; Samuel P. Yang; Russell P. Saneto; Johan L.K. Van Hove

    Disorders of the white matter are genetically very heterogeneous including several genes involved in mitochondrial bioenergetics. Diagnosis of the underlying cause is aided by pattern recognition on neuroimaging and by next-generation sequencing. Recently, genetic changes in the complex I assembly factor NUBPL have been characterized by a consistent recognizable pattern of leukoencephalopathy affecting deep white matter including the corpus callosum and cerebellum. Here, we report twin boys with biallelic variants in NUBPL, an unreported c.351 G > A; p.(Met117Ile) and a previously reported pathological variant c. 693 + 1 G > A. Brain magnetic resonance imaging showed abnormal T2 hyperintense signal involving the periventricular white matter, external capsule, corpus callosum, and, prominently, the bilateral thalami. The neuroimaging pattern evolved over 18 months with marked diffuse white matter signal abnormality, volume loss, and new areas of signal abnormality in the cerebellar folia and vermis. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy showed elevated lactate. Functional studies in cultured fibroblasts confirmed pathogenicity of the genetic variants. Complex I activity of the respiratory chain was deficient spectrophotometrically and on blue native gel with in-gel activity staining. There was absent assembly and loss of proteins of the matrix arm of complex I when traced with an antibody to NDUFS2, and incomplete assembly of the membrane arm when traced with an NDUFB6 antibody. There was decreased NUBPL protein on Western blot in patient fibroblasts compared to controls. Compromised NUBPL activity impairs assembly of the matrix arm of complex I and produces a severe, rapidly-progressive leukoencephalopathy with thalamic involvement on MRI, further expanding the neuroimaging phenotype.

  • The natural history of type 1 infantile GM1 gangliosidosis: A literature-based meta-analysis
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-12-30
    Frederick M. Lang; Paul Korner; Mark Harnett; Ajith Karunakara; Cynthia J. Tifft

    Introduction Type 1 GM1 gangliosidosis is an ultra-rare, rapidly fatal lysosomal storage disorder, with life expectancy of <3 years of age. To date, only one prospective natural history study of limited size has been reported. Thus, there is a need for additional research to provide a better understanding of the progression of this disease. We have leveraged the past two decades of medical literature to conduct the first comprehensive retrospective study characterizing the natural history of Type 1 GM1 gangliosidosis. Objectives The objectives of this study were to establish a large sample of patients from the literature in order to identify: 1) clinically distinguishing factors between Type 1 and Type 2 GM1 gangliosidosis, 2) age at first symptom onset, first hospital admission, diagnosis, and death, 3) time to onset of common clinical findings, and 4) timing of developmental milestone loss. Methods PubMed was searched with the key word “GM1 Gangliosidosis” and for articles from the year 2000 onwards. A preliminary review of these results was conducted to establish subtype classification criteria for inclusion of only Type 1 patients, resulting in 44 articles being selected to generate the literature dataset of 154 Type 1 GM1 gangliosidosis patients. Key clinical events of these patient cases were recorded from the articles. Results Comprehensive subtyping criteria for Type 1 GM1 gangliosidosis were created, and clinical events, including onset, diagnosis, death, and symptomology, were mapped over time. In this dataset, average age of diagnosis was 8.7 months, and average age of death was 18.9 months. Discussion This analysis demonstrates the predictable clinical course of this disease, as almost all patients experienced significant multi-organ system dysfunction and neurodevelopmental regression, particularly in the 6- to 18-month age range. Patients were diagnosed at a late age relative to disease progression, indicating the need for improved public awareness and screening. Conclusion This study highlights the significant burden of illness in this disease and provides critical natural history data to drive earlier diagnosis, inform clinical trial design, and facilitate family counseling.

  • Does the 48-hour BH4 loading test miss responsive PKU patients?
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-12-24
    A.M.J. van Wegberg; R.A.F. Evers; E. van Dam; M.C. de Vries; M.C.H. Janssen; M.R. Heiner-Fokkema; F.J. van Spronsen

    Background Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an inborn error of phenylalanine (Phe) metabolism. Besides dietary treatment, some patients are responsive to and treated with tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4). Our primary objective was to examine whether the 48-hour BH4 loading test misses BH4-responsive PKU patients. Secondary, we assessed if it would be beneficial to 1) use a cut-off value of 20% Phe reduction instead of commonly used 30%, and 2) extend the loading test to 7 days. Methods 24 patients with a 20–30% decrease of blood Phe levels during their initial 48-hour BH4 loading test or at least one mutation associated with long-term BH4 responsiveness, were invited to participate. 22 of them underwent the 7-day BH4 loading test. During the BH4 loading test, BH4 was administered orally once daily for 7 days (20 mg/kg/day). Blood samples on filter paper were collected at 13 time points. Potential BH4 responders (≥20% decrease in blood Phe concentrations at ≥1 moment within the first 48 h or ≥30% at ≥1 moment during the entire test) underwent a treatment trial to assess true long-term responsiveness (≥30% decrease of Phe levels compared to baseline and/or ≥50% increase in natural protein tolerance in accordance with the Dutch guidelines before 2017). The duration of the treatment trial varied from 2 to 18 months. Results Of the 22 patients who completed the 7-day BH4 loading test, 2 were excluded, 8 had negative tests and 12 were considered to be potential BH4 responders. Of these 12 potential BH4-responsive PKU patients, 5 turned out to be false positive, 6 true-responder and 1 was withdrawn. Conclusion Even though the 48-hour BH4 loading test has proven its efficacy in the past, a full week may be necessary to detect all responders. So, if blood Phe concentrations during the 48-hour BH4 test shows a clear tendency, but not sufficient decrease, a full week (with only measurements each 24 h) could be offered. A threshold of ≥20% decrease within 48 h is not useful for predicting true BH4 responsiveness.

  • FAbry STabilization indEX (FASTEX): Clinical evaluation of disease progression in Fabry patients
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-12-18
    Malte Lenders; Eva Brand

    Background Two established scores, the Mainz Severity Score Index (MSSI) and Fabry Disease Severity Scoring System (DS3), quantify the disease burden in Fabry disease (FD), while the recent developed FAbry STabilization indEX (FASTEX) aims to detect disease progression. Objective MSSI, DS3 and FASTEX were compared to evaluate disease stability or progression in a prospective cohort of Fabry patients under enzyme replacement therapy (ERT). Methods Disease load of 62 patients (28 [45%] females) treated with ERT (26 [42%] under agalsidase-alfa) was assessed using the current scores and re-assessed after 12 months of treatment. Fifteen (24%) patients were ERT-naïve at baseline. Results All scores showed a correlation with each other, while MSSI and DS3 showed the strongest (Pearson r: 0.81, p < .0001). Plasma lyso-Gb3 levels in naïve patients correlated with increasing DS3 and MSSI scores (Pearson r: 0.60, p < .05; Pearson r: 0.64, p < .01; respectively), but not with the total weighted FASTEX score. Longitudinal analysis suggested a stable disease course using DS3 and MSSI. Only males long-term-treated with agalsidase-alfa presented with a slight increase of the general MSSI score (p = .0084). By contrast, the FASTEX score demonstrates that only 21 patients (33.9%) were stable, all other patients presented a disease progression. Patients with an unstable FASTEX mainly suffered from a significant loss of renal function (eGFRcreat: −2.7 ± 7.3 ml/min/1.73 m2, p = .0298). Conclusion We conclude that the FASTEX seems to be a simple and user friendly, valuable tool to assess early changes in disease progression even in smaller patient cohorts and short term surveillance.

  • 5-year retrospective analysis of patients with phenylketonuria (PKU) and hyperphenylalaninemia treated at two specialized clinics
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-12-10
    Harvey Levy, Diana Lamppu, Vera Anastosoaie, Jennifer L. Baker, Kevin DiBona, Sarah Hawthorne, Jessica Lindenberger, Deborah Kinch, Albert Seymour, Mark McIlduff, Sharon Watling, Jerry Vockley

    Background Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in the PAH gene, resulting in deficiency of phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH), an enzyme that converts phenylalanine (Phe) to tyrosine (Tyr). The purpose of this study was to capture real-world data associated with managing PKU under current standard of care and to characterize a representative population for a planned gene therapy trial. Methods A retrospective chart review was conducted at two U.S. clinics for individuals 10–40 years old diagnosed with PKU-related hyperphenylalaninemia (HPA). Demographics, medical history, treatments and blood Phe data were collected from electronic medical records spanning a five-year period ending in November 2017. Results 152 patients were enrolled (65.8% had classical PKU). Although >95% of patients were prescribed a Phe-restricted diet, blood Phe concentrations remained substantially elevated, particularly in patients diagnosed with classical PKU. As the Phe threshold was lowered (Phe < 600, 360, 120 or 30 μmol/L), the number of patients with consecutive lab values below the threshold decreased, suggesting that many patients' Phe levels are inadequately controlled. 62.5% of patients were reported as having a history of at least one neuropsychiatric comorbidity, and adults were more likely than adolescents (69.5% vs. 54.3%). 92 of 98 PAH genotypes collected were distinct mutations; the 6 null-null genotypes were associated with classical PKU. Overall the demographics and clinical data were consistent across both sites. Conclusion Despite dietary restrictions, mean Phe concentrations were > 360 μmol/L (a level considered well-controlled based on current U.S. treatment guidelines) for mild, moderate, and classical PKU patients. There remains an unmet need for therapies to control Phe concentrations.

  • Improved muscle function in a phase I/II clinical trial of albuterol in Pompe disease
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-12-10
    Dwight D. Koeberl, Laura E. Case, Ankit Desai, Edward C. Smith, Crista Walters, Sang-oh Han, Beth L. Thurberg, Sarah Young, Deeksha Bali, Priya S. Kishnani

    This 24-week, Phase I/II, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study investigated the safety and efficacy of extended-release albuterol in late-onset Pompe disease stably treated with enzyme replacement therapy at the standard dose for 4.9 (1.0–9.4) years and with no contraindications to intake of albuterol. Twelve of 13 participants completed the study. No serious adverse events were related to albuterol, and transient minor drug-related adverse events included muscle spasms and tremors. For the albuterol group, forced vital capacity in the supine position increased by 10% (p < .005), and forced expiratory volume in one second increased by 8% (p < .05); the six-minute walk test increased 25 m (p < .05; excluding one participant unable to complete muscle function testing); the Gross Motor Function Measure increased by 8% (p < .005) with the greatest increases in the Standing (18%; p < .05) and Walking, Running, and Jumping (11%; p < .005) subtests. No significant improvements would be expected in patients with late-onset Pompe disease who were stably treated with enzyme replacement therapy. The placebo group demonstrated no significant increases in performance on any measure. These data support a potential benefit of extended-release albuterol as adjunctive therapy in carefully selected patients with late-onset Pompe disease based on ability to take albuterol on enzyme replacement therapy (NCT01885936).

  • Carnitine uptake defect due to a 5′UTR mutation in a pedigree with false positives and false negatives on Newborn screening
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-12-10
    Kate C. Verbeeten, Anne-Marie Lamhonwah, Michael T. Geraghty, Ingrid Tein, Dennis Bulman, Hanna Faghfoury, P. Chakraborty

    Carnitine Uptake Defect (CUD) is an autosomal recessive disorder due to mutations in the SLC22A5 gene. Classically patients present in infancy with profound muscle weakness and cardiomyopathy with characteristic EKG findings. Later presentations include recurrent hypoketotic hypoglycemia, proximal limb girdle myopathy, and/or recurrent muscle pain. Newborn screening detects most of these clinical variants but in addition has identified maternal CUD often in asymptomatic women. We describe a family ascertained through 3 newborn screening (NBS) positive infants found to be unaffected themselves but in whom the mothers (sisters) were affected. There were also two affected children born to an affected male and his heterozygous wife who were false negatives on NBS but had increased fractional excretion of free carnitine in the urine. Analysis on a Next Generation Sequencing panel specifically designed to fully cover newborn screening disease targets showed a homozygous change in the five probands (SLC22A5; NM_003060:c.-149G > A; p.?). The mutation segregates with the CUD within the family. It is in the 5′ UTR and has a frequency within the gnomAd database of 0.001198. Plasma carnitine was decreased and fractional excretion of free carnitine was increased in all affected individuals. Functional carnitine uptake studies in cultured skin fibroblasts of one proband showed carnitine uptake at the 5 μM concentration to be 6% of controls. Relative expression of OCTN2 mRNA to beta-actin mRNA by qRT-PCR was increased in a proband relative to controls by a factor of 465-fold. Western blotting revealed a 120 kDa protein band, as well as a weaker 240 kDa band in the proband, the significance of which is unknown at this time.

  • Intrathecal enzyme replacement for cognitive decline in mucopolysaccharidosis type I, a randomized, open-label, controlled pilot study
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-11-30
    Agnes H. Chen, Paul Harmatz, Igor Nestrasil, Julie B. Eisengart, Kelly E. King, Kyle Rudser, Alexander M. Kaizer, Alena Svatkova, Amy Wakumoto, Steven Q. Le, Jacqueline Madden, Sarah Young, Haoyue Zhang, Lynda E. Polgreen, Patricia I. Dickson

    Central nervous system manifestations of mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I) such as cognitive impairment, hydrocephalus, and spinal cord compression are inadequately treated by intravenously-administered enzyme replacement therapy with laronidase (recombinant human alpha-L-iduronidase). While hematopoietic stem cell transplantation treats neurological symptoms, this therapy is not generally offered to attenuated MPS I patients. This study is a randomized, open-label, controlled pilot study of intrathecal laronidase in eight attenuated MPS I patients with cognitive impairment. Subjects ranged between 12 years and 50 years old with a median age of 18 years. All subjects had received intravenous laronidase prior to the study over a range of 4 to 10 years, with a mean of 7.75 years. Weekly intravenous laronidase was continued throughout the duration of the study. The randomization period was one year, during which control subjects attended all study visits and assessments, but did not receive any intrathecal laronidase. After the first year, all eight subjects received treatment for one additional year. There was no significant difference in neuropsychological assessment scores between control or treatment groups, either over the one-year randomized period or at 18 or 24 months. However, there was no significant decline in scores in the control group either. Adverse events included pain (injection site, back, groin), headache, neck spasm, and transient blurry vision. There were seven serious adverse events, one judged as possibly related (headache requiring hospitalization). There was no significant effect of intrathecal laronidase on cognitive impairment in older, attenuated MPS I patients over a two-year treatment period. A five-year open-label extension study is underway.

  • Increased parental anxiety and a benign clinical course: Infants identified with short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency and isobutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency through newborn screening in Georgia
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-11-27
    Roa Sadat, Patricia L. Hall, Angela L. Wittenauer, Elizabeth D. Vengoechea, Kevin Park, Arthur F. Hagar, Rani Singh, Reneé H. Moore, Michael J. Gambello

    The long-term consequences and need for therapy in children with short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (SCADD) or isobutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (IBDD) identified via newborn screening (NBS) remains controversial. Initial clinical descriptions of the condition were severe; however, while most cases identified through NBS have remained asymptomatic, clinical concerns have been raised in these populations. It is not clear whether these children are asymptomatic because of the success of NBS, or because the normal clinical course of these disorders is relatively benign. To evaluate these possibilities in our program, we evaluated the clinical outcomes of children with SCADD or IBDD identified by the Georgia NBS compared to the health status of a healthy age-matched control group. We also assessed parental anxiety during a phone interview both subjectively and objectively using the Pediatric Inventory for Parents (PIP), a validated measure of illness-related parental stress. The general health of 52 SCADD and nine IBDD cases from 2007 to 2016 were compared to the general health of unaffected control children obtained through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) parent listserv. We also collected statements from parents who participated in a phone survey regarding events they experienced during and after their diagnostic process. Overall, the children with SCADD and IBDD had no major health problems. There was no significant difference in cognitive development (p = .207). We identified a slightly higher incidence of reported neonatal hypoglycemia in the SCADD and IBDD groups; two of these occurred in the context of maternal diabetes. All interviewed parents reported extreme anxiety during the diagnostic period and current feelings of uncertainty about their child's future. PIP scores for all six caregivers who responded to that portion of the survey were consistent with some degree of parental stress. The greatest reported stressor was the unknown long-term impact of the illness. All children with SCADD and IBDD had no significant long-term sequelae. The phone interviews revealed substantial parental anxiety about the identification and follow-up of SCADD and IBDD. Based on our findings, the anxiety parents experience may be unwarranted given that we see no disease-associated morbidity or mortality in these children. Consideration should be given to the removal of these conditions from NBS panels, or if that is not possible, clinicians could educate parents on the benign nature of these diagnoses and release them from follow-up without treatment.

  • Clinical and biochemical outcomes of patients with medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-11-25
    Daniela R. Anderson, Krista Viau, Lorenzo D. Botto, Marzia Pasquali, Nicola Longo

    Background Medium-Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency is a fatty acid oxidation disorder that can have variable clinical severity. There is still limited information on its clinical presentation and longitudinal history by genotype, and effectiveness of newborn screening (NBS). Methods Retrospective data were collected from 90 patients (44 female, 46 male) to compare biochemical data with clinical outcomes. The frequency of adverse events (number of hypoglycemia-related ER visits and admissions) was assessed by genotype (homozygosity or not for the common pathogenic variant, p.Lys329Glu, in the ACADM gene), and method of diagnosis (NBS vs. clinical). Results MCAD deficiency in Utah was more frequent compared to the United States average (1: 9266 versus 1:17,759 newborns). With age, C8-carnitine did not change significantly whereas C2-carnitine decreased (p < .001), possibly reflecting reduced carnitine supplementation typically seen with age. Children with MCAD deficiency had normal growth. p.Lys329Glu homozygotes had higher NBS C8-carnitine (23.4 ± 19.6 vs. 6.6 ± 3.0 μmol/L) and lifetime plasma C8-carnitine levels (6.2 ± 5 vs. 3.6 ± 1.9 μmol/L) compared to patients with at least one other pathogenic variant (p < .001 for both) and higher transaminases compared to compound heterozygotes (ALT 41.9 ± 6.2 vs. 31.5 ± 3.7 U/L, AST 63.9 ± 5.8 vs. 45.7 ± 1.8 U/L, p < .05 for both). On average, p.Lys329Glu homozygotes had more hypoglycemic events than compound heterozygotes (1.44 versus 0.49 events/patient) as did patients diagnosed clinically compared to those diagnosed by NBS (2.15 versus 0.62 events/patient), though these differences were not statistically significant. Neonatal death was observed before results of newborn screening were available in one patient homozygous for the common p.Lys329Glu pathogenic variant, but severe neonatal complications (hypoglycemia, cardiac arrhythmia) were also seen in patients with other mutations. No irreversible complications were observed after diagnosis in any patient with MCAD deficiency. Discussion Homozygosity for the common ACADM p.Lys329Glu pathogenic variant was associated with increased levels of C8-carnitine and transaminases. Newborn screening provides the opportunity to reduce morbidity and post-neonatal mortality in all patients with MCAD deficiency, regardless of genotype.

  • Links between autophagy and disorders of glycogen metabolism – Perspectives on pathogenesis and possible treatments
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-11-21
    Benjamin L. Farah, Paul M. Yen, Dwight D. Koeberl

    The glycogen storage diseases are a group of inherited metabolic disorders that are characterized by specific enzymatic defects involving the synthesis or degradation of glycogen. Each disorder presents with a set of symptoms that are due to the underlying enzyme deficiency and the particular tissues that are affected. Autophagy is a process by which cells degrade and recycle unneeded or damaged intracellular components such as lipids, glycogen, and damaged mitochondria. Recent studies showed that several of the glycogen storage disorders have abnormal autophagy which can disturb normal cellular metabolism and/or mitochondrial function. Here, we provide a clinical overview of the glycogen storage disorders, a brief description of autophagy, and the known links between specific glycogen storage disorders and autophagy.

  • Novel compound heterozygous pathogenic variants in nucleotide-binding protein like protein (NUBPL) cause leukoencephalopathy with multi-systemic involvement
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-11-21
    Margherita Protasoni, Claudio Bruno, Maria Alice Donati, Khadra Mohamoud, Mariasavina Severino, Anna Allegri, Alan J. Robinson, Aurelio Reyes, Massimo Zeviani, Caterina Garone

    NUBPL (Nucleotide-binding protein like) protein encodes a member of the Mrp/NBP35 ATP-binding proteins family, deemed to be involved in mammalian complex I (CI) assembly process. Exome sequencing of a patient presenting with infantile-onset hepatopathy, renal tubular acidosis, developmental delay, short stature, leukoencephalopathy with minimal cerebellar involvement and multiple OXPHOS deficiencies revealed the presence of two novel pathogenic compound heterozygous variants in NUBPL (p.Phe242Leu/p.Leu104Pro). We investigated patient's and control immortalised fibroblasts and demonstrated that both the peripheral and the membrane arms of complex I are undetectable in mutant NUBPL cells, resulting in virtually absent CI holocomplex and loss of enzyme activity. In addition, complex III stability was moderately affected as well. Lentiviral-mediated expression of the wild-type NUBPL cDNA rescued both CI and CIII assembly defects, confirming the pathogenicity of the variants. In conclusion, this is the first report describing a complex multisystemic disorder due to NUBPL defect. In addition, we confirmed the role of NUBPL in Complex I assembly associated with secondary effect on Complex III stability and we demonstrated a defect of mtDNA-related translation which suggests a potential additional role of NUBPL in mtDNA expression.

  • Complex patterns of inheritance, including synergistic heterozygosity, in inborn errors of metabolism: Implications for precision medicine driven diagnosis and treatment
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-07-19
    Jerry Vockley, Steven F. Dobrowolski, Georgianne L. Arnold, Ruben Bonilla Guerrero, Terry G.J. Derks, David A. Weinstein

    Inborn errors of metabolism have traditionally been viewed as the quintessential single gene disorders; defects in one gene leads to loss of activity of one enzyme causing a metabolic imbalance and clinical disease. However, reality has never been quite that simple, and the classic “one gene-one enzyme” paradigm has been upended in many ways. Multiple gene defects can lead to the same biochemical phenotype, often with different clinical symptoms. Additionally, different mutations in the same gene can cause variable phenotypes, often most dramatic when a disease can be identified by pre-symptomatic screening. Moreover, response to therapy is not homogeneous across diseases and specific mutations. Perhaps the biggest deviation from traditional monogenic inheritance is in the setting of synergistic heterozygosity, a multigenic inheritance pattern in which mutations in multiple genes in a metabolic pathway lead to sufficient disruption of flux through the pathway, mimicking a monogenic disorder caused by homozygous defects in one gene in that pathway. In addition, widespread adoption of whole exome and whole genome sequencing in medical genetics has led to the realization that individual patients with apparently hybrid phenotypes can have mutations in more than one gene, leading to a mixed genetic disorder. Each of these situations point to a need for as much precision as possible in diagnosing metabolic disease, and it is likely to become increasingly critical to drive therapy. This article examines examples in traditional monogenic disorders that illustrates these points and define inborn errors of metabolism as complex genetic traits on the leading edge of precision medicine.

  • Metabolite flux: A dynamic concept for inherited metabolic disorders as complex traits
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-07-16
    Edward R.B. McCabe

    In 2000 and 2001, we described factors that lead to the phenotypes of individuals with “simple,” “single” gene disorders, like inherited metabolic disorders, being complex, multi-genic traits. These factors include functional thresholds, genetic and environmental modifiers, and systems dynamics, encompassing metabolic control analysis and scale-free, hub-and-spoke networks. This mini-review will consider topics influencing complexity developed in the ensuing nearly two decades, such as “synergistic heterozygosity” and “moonlighting proteins.” There will be a focus on the value of the measurement of flux in evaluating the metabolome to ascertain phenotypic variability and the potential role of the gut microbiome in metabolomic flux. A point-of-care metabolomics tool, under development to improve the real time, inter-operative ascertainment of tumor margins and similar devices, will provide opportunities to improve acute care and ongoing management of individuals with inherited metabolic disorders.

  • Inborn errors of mitochondrial acyl-coenzyme a metabolism: acyl-CoA biology meets the clinic
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-05-09
    Hao Yang, Chen Zhao, Marie-Christine Tang, Youlin Wang, Shu Pei Wang, Pierre Allard, Alexandra Furtos, Grant A. Mitchell

    The last decade saw major advances in understanding the metabolism of Coenzyme A (CoA) thioesters (acyl-CoAs) and related inborn errors (CoA metabolic diseases, CAMDs). For diagnosis, acylcarnitines and organic acids, both derived from acyl-CoAs, are excellent markers of most CAMDs. Clinically, each CAMD is unique but strikingly, three main patterns emerge: first, systemic decompensations with combinations of acidosis, ketosis, hypoglycemia, hyperammonemia and fatty liver; second, neurological episodes, particularly acute “stroke-like” episodes, often involving the basal ganglia but sometimes cerebral cortex, brainstem or optic nerves and third, especially in CAMDs of long chain fatty acyl-CoA metabolism, lipid myopathy, cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia. Some patients develop signs from more than one category. The pathophysiology of CAMDs is not precisely understood. Available data suggest that signs may result from CoA sequestration, toxicity and redistribution (CASTOR) in the mitochondrial matrix has been suggested to play a role. This predicts that most CAMDs cause deficiency of CoA, limiting mitochondrial energy production, and that toxic effects from the abnormal accumulation of acyl-CoAs and from extramitochondrial functions of acetyl-CoA may also contribute. Recent progress includes the following. (1) Direct measurements of tissue acyl-CoAs in mammalian models of CAMDs have been related to clinical features. (2) Inborn errors of CoA biosynthesis were shown to cause clinical changes similar to those of inborn errors of acyl-CoA degradation. (3) CoA levels in cells can be influenced pharmacologically. (4) Roles for acetyl-CoA are increasingly identified in all cell compartments. (5) Nonenzymatic acyl-CoA-mediated acylation of intracellular proteins occurs in mammalian tissues and is increased in CAMDs.

  • Clinical characterization of tremor in patients with phenylketonuria
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-06-03
    Francesca Nardecchia, Filippo Manti, Sabrina De Leo, Claudia Carducci, Vincenzo Leuzzi

    Background Phenylketonuria (PKU) is due to the deficit of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase, the first step of dopamine synthesis. If not early treated the disease results in severe neurological impairment. Minor neurological signs have been reported in early treated PKU (ETPKU) subjects. Prolactin level is affected by (and reflects) brain dopamine availability. Object of the study was to assess the occurrence, age at onset, distribution, associated neurological signs, and possible pathogenetic biomarkers of tremor in ETPKU. Methods Fifty-nine ETPKU and 43 control subjects (age range 7–54) underwent individual and familiar tremor history, clinical assessment of tremor by means of the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scale, and IQ evaluation. Historical and concomitant biochemical data (blood levels of Phe) and serum prolactin were included in the analysis. Results Thirty-two percent of ETPKU patients were affected by postural and kinetic tremor. We found a significant correlation between severity of tremor and: prolactin level at the day of examination (part A: rs = 0.320; p = .014; part C: rs = 0.319; p = .014), Phe fluctuations from 12 years onwards (part B: rs = 0.300; p = .036). We also found a significant correlation between prolactin (18.2 ± 9.6 ng/ml) and Phe levels (852 ± 472 μmol/l) on the day of assessment (rs = 0.470; p < .001). Conclusions The main clinical features of tremor in ETPKU evoke those of essential tremor, although with a higher prevalence and an earlier onset than in general population. The severity of tremor was related to concomitant prolactin rather than Phe levels. This pattern suggests that metabolic alterations associated with PKU may result in an anticipation of the tremor onset in subjects who are possibly prone to this disorder.

  • Metabolic analysis reveals evidence for branched chain amino acid catabolism crosstalk and the potential for improved treatment of organic acidurias
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-05-21
    Stephen McCalley, David Pirman, Michelle Clasquin, Kendall Johnson, Shengfang Jin, Jerry Vockley

    Branched chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolism occurs within the mitochondrial matrix and is comprised of multiple enzymes, some shared, organized into three pathways for the catabolism of leucine, isoleucine, and valine (LEU, ILE, and VAL respectively). Three different acyl-CoA dehydrogenases (ACADs) are active in each catabolic pathway and genetic deficiencies in each have been identified. While characteristic metabolites related to the enzymatic block accumulate in each deficiency, for reasons that are not clear, clinical symptoms are only seen in the context of deficiency of isovaleryl-CoA dehydrogenase (IVDH) in the leucine pathway. Metabolism of fibroblasts derived from patients with mutations in each of the BCAA ACADs were characterized using metabolomics to better understand the flux of BCAA through their respective pathways. Stable isotope labeled LEU, ILE, and VAL in patient and control cell lines revealed that mutations in isobutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase (IBDH in the valine pathway) lead to a significant increase in isobutyrylcarnitine (a surrogate for the enzyme substrate isobutyryl-CoA) leading to metabolism by short-branched chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SBCADH in the isoleucine pathway) and production of the pathway end product propionylcarnitine (a surrogate for propionyl-CoA). Similar cross activity was observed for SBCADH deficient patient cells, leading to a significant increase in propionylcarnitine, presumably by metabolism of 2 methylbutyryl-CoA via IBDH activity. Labeled BCAA studies identified that the majority of the intracellular propionyl-CoA pool in fibroblasts is generated from isoleucine, but heptanoic acid (a surrogate for odd-chain fatty acids) is also efficiently converted to propionate.

  • Aberrant progranulin, YKL-40, cathepsin D and cathepsin S in Gaucher disease
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-07-23
    Yuliya Afinogenova, Jiapeng Ruan, Ruhua Yang, Nathaniel Kleytman, Gregory Pastores, Andrew Lischuk, Pramod K. Mistry

    In Gaucher disease, several macrophage-specific biomarkers have been validated for use in the clinic. However, Gaucher disease is more complex involving system-wide pathophysiology beyond the macrophage, and based on gene array analysis in our Gaucher disease mouse model and other emerging pathophysiologic insights, we evaluated serum levels of cathepsins D and S, YKL-40 and progranulin in Gaucher disease patients. We assessed their biomarker potential in Gaucher disease and compared them to established Gaucher disease biomarkers, chitotriosidase, chemokine ligand 18 (CCL18), and other indicators of disease severity and response to therapy. Mean YKL-40 and cathepsin D and S levels were significantly higher in Gaucher disease patients compared to healthy controls; in contrast, mean progranulin levels were lower in Gaucher disease patients compared to healthy controls. Enzyme replacement therapy resulted in a significant reversal of elevated cathepsin D and S but there was no change in progranulin and YKL-40 levels. Patients with persistent splenomegaly after long-term enzyme replacement therapy had significantly higher serum YKL-40 than patients with smaller spleens (63.0 ± 6.4 ng/ml vs. 46.4 ± 4.3 ng/ml, p = .03). Serum YKL-40 levels were higher in subjects with severe bone involvement (Hermann Score 3 to 5) compared to those with milder bone involvement (Hermann Score 1 to 2) (70.1 ± 4.3 ng/ml vs. 48.1 ± 3.7 ng/ml, p = .0002). YKL-40 was only weakly associated with chitotriosidase (r = 0.2, p = .008) and CCL18 (r = 0.3, p = .0004), and cathepsin S was moderately associated with chitotriosidase (r = 0.4, p = .01) and CCL18 (r = 0.6, p < .0001). Receiver operating curves for progranulin and YKL-40 demonstrated areas under the curves of 0.80 and 0.70, respectively. In conclusion, while these biomarkers do not meet robust properties of established macrophage-specific biomarkers, they may inform severity of skeletal disease, contribution of fibrosis to residual splenomegaly, and other disease manifestations. These findings, including markedly low progranulin levels that do not change upon enzyme replacement therapy, are intriguing to prompt further investigations to decipher their role in pathophysiology and relevance to diverse phenotypes of Gaucher disease.

  • Evaluation of biomarkers for Sanfilippo syndrome
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-05-09
    Jennifer T. Saville, Kevin M. Flanigan, Kristen V. Truxal, Kim L. McBride, Maria Fuller

    Sanfilippo syndrome or mucopolysaccharidosis type III (MPS III) is a childhood metabolic disorder marked by neuropathology arising due to impaired heparan sulphate (HS) catabolism. Consequently, partially degraded HS accumulates in the lysosomes of affected cells and is excreted in the urine. The measurement of HS in urine has long been considered a biomarker of Sanfilippo syndrome although it is largely non-specific. Using blood, urine and CSF collected from a cohort of Sanfilippo patients we investigated the utility of primary and secondary biomarkers to inform on disease activity. These included enzyme activity, specific oligosaccharides with non-reducing end residues reflective of the enzyme deficiency, and gangliosides. The diagnostic oligosaccharides - a HS disaccharide and tetrasaccharide - were elevated in the urine, plasma and CSF of all MPS IIIA and IIIB patients, respectively. There was no correlation between the concentrations in any of the matrices suggesting they reflect specific tissues and not overall disease burden. Enzyme activity did not inform on disease severity, with no measurable activity in CSF and activity approaching normal in MPS IIIA plasma. The concentration of gangliosides, GM2 and GM3, were significantly higher in the CSF of all MPS III subjects when compared to controls and correlated with the age of onset of first symptoms. Given that these gangliosides reflect delayed brain development they may be useful measures of disease burden, within the limitations of the clinical surrogates. Observation of these biochemical measurements in MPS III patients enrolled in clinical trials may determine whether they represent true pharmacodynamics biomarkers.

  • Ganglioside GM2 catabolism is inhibited by storage compounds of mucopolysaccharidoses and by cationic amphiphilic drugs
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-05-04
    Susi Anheuser, Bernadette Breiden, Konrad Sandhoff

    The catabolism of ganglioside GM2 is dependent on the lysosomal enzyme β-hexosaminidase A and a supporting lipid transfer protein, the GM2 activator protein. A genetically based disturbance of GM2 catabolism, leads to several subtypes of the GM2 gangliosidosis: Tay-Sachs disease, Sandhoff disease, the AB-variant and the B1-variant, all of them having GM2 as major lysosomal storage compound. Further on it is known that the gangliosides GM2 and GM3 accumulate as secondary storage compounds in mucopolysaccharidoses, especially in Hunter disease, Hurler disease, Sanfilippo disease and Sly syndrome, with chondroitin sulfate as primary storage compound. The exact mechanism of ganglioside accumulation in mucopolysaccaridoses is still a matter of debate. Here, we show that chondroitin sulfate strongly inhibits the catabolism of membrane-bound GM2 by β-hexosaminidase A in presence of GM2 activator protein in vitro already at low micromolar concentrations. In contrast, hyaluronan, the major storage compound in mucopolysaccharidosis IX, a milder disease without secondary ganglioside accumulation, is a less effective inhibitor. On the other hand, hydrolysis of micellar-bound GM2 by β-hexosaminidase A without the assistance of GM2AP was not impeded by chondroitin sulfate implicating that the inhibition of GM2 hydrolysis by chondroitin sulfate is most likely based on an interaction with GM2AP, the GM2AP-GM2 complex or the GM2-carrying membranes. We also studied the influence of some cationic amphiphilic drugs (desipramine, chlorpromazine, imipramine and chloroquine), provoking drug induced phospholipidosis and found that all of them inhibited the hydrolysis of GM2 massively.

  • Pegvaliase: Immunological profile and recommendations for the clinical management of hypersensitivity reactions in patients with phenylketonuria treated with this enzyme substitution therapy
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-06-17
    Oliver Hausmann, Mohamed Daha, Nicola Longo, Edward Knol, Ingo Müller, Hope Northrup, Knut Brockow

    Objective To provide recommendations for managing hypersensitivity adverse events (HAEs) to an injectable enzyme substitution therapy (pegvaliase, a PEGylated phenylalanine ammonia lyase enzyme) in adult patients with phenylketonuria (PKU). Methods Eight European academic immunology experts with a broad range of experience in hypersensitivity, anaphylaxis, and/or drug reactions, and two geneticists from the USA with pegvaliase experience convened for two advisory board meetings. Efficacy, safety, and immunological profile of pegvaliase were discussed with the objective of developing recommendations for the clinical management of HAEs associated with pegvaliase treatment. Results Based on available immunogenicity data, it was concluded that pegvaliase induces a Type III hypersensitivity reaction, causing HAEs with peak event rates during induction/titration and a decline over time during maintenance therapy. The decline in HAEs with longer duration of therapy was considered to likely be driven by anti-drug antibody affinity maturation, reduced immune complex formation, and decreased complement activation over time. Immunology and PKU experts unanimously supported that the use of an induction, titration, and maintenance dosing regimen and implementation of several risk mitigation strategies contributed to the improvement of tolerability over time. Key risk mitigation strategies utilized in the Phase 3 clinical trials such as premedication with H1-receptor antagonists, allowance for a longer titration period after an HAE, patient education, and requirement to carry auto-injectable adrenaline (epinephrine) should be continued in clinical practice. A tool for administration of auto-injectable adrenaline in patients using pegvaliase was suggested. It was added that after the occurrence of a severe HAE a temporary dose reduction is more likely to improve tolerability than treatment interruption. Conclusions Overall, it was agreed that pegvaliase has a generally tolerable safety profile in adults with PKU. Importantly, the risk mitigation strategies utilized in the clinical trials were considered to support the continued use of key strategies for management in the commercial setting, such as a slow induction/titration dosing paradigm and premedication with H1-receptor antagonists. However, physicians and patients need to be aware of the risk of HAEs associated with pegvaliase; presence of a trained observer during early treatment may be beneficial in certain circumstances, and a requirement to carry auto-injectable adrenaline is recommended. Because pegvaliase offers the possibility to normalize diet, while maintaining blood phenylalanine within the recommended therapeutic range, safe use of this medication in the clinical setting is important. Ongoing monitoring of long-term clinical safety of patients on pegvaliase treatment in the commercial setting was recommended.

  • Perspectives on urea cycle disorder management: Results of a clinician survey
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-07-18
    Gregory M. Enns, Marty H. Porter, Megan Francis-Sedlak, Andrea Burdett, Jerry Vockley

    Background/Aims Urea cycle disorders (UCDs) are rare inborn errors of urea synthesis. US and European consensus statements on the diagnosis and treatment of UCDs were last published in 2001 and 2019, respectively. Recommendations are based primarily on case reports and expert opinion and there is limited agreement or consistency related to long-term management approaches. A clinician survey was conducted to assess current real-world practices and perspectives on challenges and unmet needs. Methods A 14-item multiple-choice survey was administered to physicians in 2017. Clinicians who reported actively managing at least 1 patient with UCD were eligible to participate. Descriptive statistics were calculated for each survey item (frequencies for categorical variables; means, standard deviations, medians, and ranges for continuous variables). Results Sixty-six US clinicians completed the survey (65 geneticists; 1 pediatric neurologist). Over 90% of responders agreed or strongly agreed that even modest elevations in ammonia could cause physiological and functional brain damage; >80% of respondents agreed that asymptomatic UCD patients are at risk of brain damage over time due to mild/subclinical elevations in ammonia. Eighty-six percent of clinicians agreed or strongly agreed with recommending genetic testing for female relatives when a patient is diagnosed with ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency. Ninety-four percent of respondents agreed that patients have better disease control when they are more adherent to their UCD therapy. Nearly 90% indicated that clinicians and patients would benefit from updated UCD management guidance. More than half (53%) of respondents rated the symptoms of UCDs as extremely or very burdensome to the everyday lives of patients and their families; only 8% rated UCD symptoms as slightly or not at all burdensome. The majority of clinicians agreed (48%) or strongly agreed (32%) that caring for a child or family member with a UCD has a negative impact on the quality of life and/or health of family members/guardians (e.g. stress, relationships, ability to work). Conclusions This self-reported survey suggests a need for updated and expanded clinical guidance on the long-term treatment and management of UCD patients.

  • Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate content in dried bloodspots facilitates newborn detection of succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-07-18
    Madalyn Brown, Paula Ashcraft, Erland Arning, Teodoro Bottiglieri, Jean-Baptiste Roullet, K. Michael Gibson

    Increased gamma-hydroxybutyric acid in urine and blood are metabolic hallmarks of succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency, a defect of 4-aminobutyric acid metabolism. Here, we examined the hypothesis that succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency could be identified via measurement of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid in newborn and post-newborn dried bloodspots. Quantitation of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry in twelve archival newborn patient dried bloodspots was 360 ± 57 μM (mean, standard error; range 111–767), all values exceeding the previously established cutoff for newborn detection of 78 μΜ established from 2831 dried bloodspots derived from newborns, neonates and children. Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid in post-newborn dried bloodspots (n = 19; ages 0.8–38 years) was 191 ± 65 μM (mean, standard error; range 20–1218), exceeding the aforementioned GHB cutoff for patients approximately 10 years of age or younger. Further, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid in post-newborn dried bloodspots displayed a significant (p < .0001) inverse correlation with age. This preliminary study suggests that succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency may be identified in newborn and post-newborn dried bloodspots via quantitation of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, while forming the platform for more extensive studies in affected and unaffected dried bloodspots.

  • Assessing the strength of evidence for genes implicated in fatty acid oxidation disorders using the ClinGen clinical validity framework
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-07-18
    Jennifer L. McGlaughon, Marzia Pasquali, Kathleen Wallace, Justyne Ross, Ozlem Senol-Cosar, Wei Shen, Meredith A. Weaver, Annette Feigenbaum, Elaine Lyon, Gregory M. Enns, Rong Mao, Heather G. Baudet

    Newborn screening is an incredibly useful tool for the early identification of many metabolic disorders, including fatty acid oxidation (FAO) disorders. In many cases, molecular tests are necessary to reach a final diagnosis, highlighting the need for a thorough evaluation of genes implicated in FAO disorders. Using the ClinGen (Clinical Genome Resource) clinical validity framework, thirty genes were analyzed for the strength of evidence supporting their association with FAO disorders. Evidence was gathered from the literature by biocurators and presented to disease experts for review in order to assign a clinical validity classification of Definitive, Strong, Moderate, Limited, Disputed, Refuted, or No Reported Evidence. Of the gene-disease relationships evaluated, 22/30 were classified as Definitive, three as Moderate, one as Limited, three as No Reported Evidence and one as Disputed. Gene-disease relationships with a Limited, Disputed, and No Reported Evidence were found on two, six, and up to four panels out of 30 FAO disorder-specific panels, respectively, in the National Institute of Health Genetic Testing Registry, while over 70% of the genes on panels are definitively associated with an FAO disorder. These results highlight the need to systematically assess the clinical relevance of genes implicated in fatty acid oxidation disorders in order to improve the interpretation of genetic testing results and diagnosis of patients with these disorders.

  • Study of the effect of anti-rhGAA antibodies at low and intermediate titers in late onset Pompe patients treated with ERT
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-07-23
    Esther Fernández-Simón, Ana Carrasco-Rozas, Eduard Gallardo, Lidia González-Quereda, Jorge Alonso-Pérez, Izaskun Belmonte, Irene Pedrosa-Hernández, Elena Montiel, Sonia Segovia, Xavier Suárez-Calvet, Jaume Llauger, Mercedes Mayos, Isabel Illa, Miguel Angel Barba-Romero, Joseba Barcena, Carmen Paradas, María Rosario Carzorla, Carlota Creus, Jordi Díaz-Manera

    Late onset Pompe disease (LOPD) is a genetic disorder characterized by slowly progressive skeletal and respiratory muscle weakness. Symptomatic patients are treated with enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with alglucosidase alpha (rhGAA). Although most of ERT treated patients develop antibodies against rhGAA, their influence on clinical progression is not completely known. We studied the impact of anti-rhGAA antibodies on clinical progression of 25 ERT treated patients. We evaluated patients at visit 0 and, after 1 year, at visit 1. We performed several muscle function tests, conventional spirometry and quantitative muscle MRI (qMRI) using 3-point Dixon analysis of thigh muscles at both visits. We also obtained serum samples at both visits and anti-rhGAA antibodies were quantified using ELISA. Antibody titers higher than 1:200 were identified in 18 patients (72%) of our cohort. Seven patients (28%) did not develop antibodies (0 to <1:200), 17 patients (68%) developed low to intermediate titers (1:200 to <1:31,200) and 1 patient (4%) developed high titers (>1:31,200). We analyzed the effect of low and intermediate antibody titers in clinical and radiological progression. There were no differences between the results of muscle function tests, spirometry or fat fraction analyzed using qMRI between patients with and without antibodies groups at baseline. Moreover, antibody titers did not influence muscle function test, spirometry results or qMRI results at year 1 visit. Most of the LOPD patients developed antibodies against ERT that persisted over time at low or intermediate levels. However, antibodies at these low and intermediate titers might not influence clinical response to the drug.

  • Urinary 2,8-dihydroxyadenine excretion in patients with adenine phosphoribosyltransferase deficiency, carriers and healthy control subjects
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-05-28
    Hrafnhildur L. Runolfsdottir, Runolfur Palsson, Unnur A. Thorsteinsdottir, Olafur S. Indridason, Inger M.Sch. Agustsdottir, G. Steinunn Oddsdottir, Margret Thorsteinsdottir, Vidar O. Edvardsson

    Background Adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (APRT) deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of adenine metabolism that results in excessive urinary excretion of the poorly soluble 2,8-dihydroxyadenine (DHA), leading to kidney stones and chronic kidney disease. The purpose of this study was to assess urinary DHA excretion in patients with APRT deficiency, heterozygotes and healthy controls, using a recently developed ultra-performance liquid chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) assay. Methods Patients enrolled in the APRT Deficiency Registry and Biobank of the Rare Kidney Stone Consortium (http://www.rarekidneystones.org/) who had provided 24-h and first-morning void urine samples for DHA measurement were eligible for the study. Heterozygotes and healthy individuals served as controls. Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test was used to compare 24-h urinary DHA excretion between groups. Associations were examined using Spearman's correlation coefficient (rs). Results The median (range) 24-h urinary DHA excretion was 138 (64–292) mg/24 h and the DHA-to-creatinine (DHA/Cr) ratio in the first-morning void samples was 13 (4–37) mg/mmol in APRT deficiency patients who were not receiving xanthine oxidoreductase inhibitor therapy. The 24-h DHA excretion was highly correlated with the DHA/Cr ratio in first-morning void urine samples (rs = 0.84, p < .001). DHA was detected in all urine samples from untreated patients but not in any specimens from heterozygotes and healthy controls. Conclusions High urinary DHA excretion was observed in patients with APRT deficiency, while urine DHA was undetectable in heterozygotes and healthy controls. Our results suggest that the UPLC-MS/MS assay can be used for diagnosis of APRT deficiency.

  • Initial assessment and ongoing monitoring of lysosomal acid lipase deficiency in children and adults: Consensus recommendations from an international collaborative working group
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-11-18
    Rohit Kohli, Vlad Ratziu, Maria Isabel Fiel, Elisa Waldmann, Don P. Wilson, Manisha Balwani

    Background Lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) deficiency is an ultra-rare, progressive, autosomal recessive disorder. Functional mutations in LIPA, the gene that encodes LAL, result in accumulation of cholesteryl esters and triglycerides in hepatocytes and in the macrophages of the intestines, vascular endothelial system, and numerous other organs. LAL deficiency has a broad clinical spectrum; children and adults can present with dyslipidemia, liver enzyme elevations, hepatosplenomegaly, hepatic steatosis, liver fibrosis and/or cirrhosis, and vascular disease, which may lead to significant morbidity and premature mortality in some patients. Given the systemic involvement and the wide range of healthcare specialists who manage patients with LAL deficiency, there is a need for guidelines to assess and monitor disease involvement. Objectives To provide a set of recommendations for the initial assessment and ongoing monitoring of patients with LAL deficiency to help physicians in various disciplines effectively manage the disease based on the observed presentation and progression in each case. Methods A group of internationally recognized healthcare specialists with expertise in clinical genetics, pathology, hepatology, gastroenterology, cardiology, and lipidology convened to develop an evidence-based consensus of best practices for the initial assessment and ongoing monitoring of children and adults with LAL deficiency, regardless of treatment status; infants with LAL deficiency have been excluded from these guidelines because they require specialized care. Results The authors present guidance for the assessment and monitoring of patients with LAL deficiency based on age and disease manifestations that include the hepatic, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems. A schedule for ongoing monitoring of disease progression is provided. In addition, the need to establish an interdisciplinary and integrated care team to optimize the approach to managing this systemic disease is highlighted. Conclusions There is currently no published guidance on the assessment and monitoring of patients with LAL deficiency. These consensus recommendations for the initial assessment and ongoing monitoring of children and adults with LAL deficiency are intended to help improve the management of these patients.

  • Ten years of enzyme replacement therapy in paediatric onset mucopolysaccharidosis II in England
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-07-30
    A. Broomfield, J. Davison, J. Roberts, C. Stewart, P. Hensman, C. Beesley, K. Tylee, S. Rust, B. Schwahn, E. Jameson, S. Vijay, S. Santra, S. Sreekantam, U. Ramaswami, A. Chakrapani, J. Raiman, M.A. Cleary, S.A. Jones

    The outcome of 110 patients with paediatric onset mucopolysaccharidosis II (MPS II) since the commercial introduction of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) in England in 2007 is reported. Median length of follow up was 10 years 3 months (range = 1 y 2 m to 18 years 6 month). 78 patients were treated with ERT, 18 had no ERT or disease modifying treatment 7 had haematopoietic stem cell transplant, 4 experimental intrathecal therapy and 3 were lost to follow up. There is clear evidence of improved survival (median age of death of ERT treated (n = 16) = 15.13 years (range = 9.53 to 20.58 y), and untreated (n = 17) = 11.43 y (0.5 to 19.13 y) p = .0005). Early introduction of ERT improved respiratory outcome at 16 years, the median FVC (% predicted) of those in whom ERT initiated <8 years = 69% (range = 34–86%) and 48% (25–108) (p = .045) in those started >8 years. However, ERT appears to have minimal impact on hearing, carpal tunnel syndrome or progression of cardiac valvular disease. Cardiac valvular disease occurred in 18/46 (40%), with progression occurring most frequently in the aortic valve 13/46 (28%). The lack of requirement for neurosurgical intervention in the first 8 years of life suggests that targeted imaging based on clinical symptomology would be safe in this age group after baseline assessments. There is also emerging evidence that the neurological phenotype is more nuanced than the previously recognized dichotomy of severe and attenuated phenotypes in patients presenting in early childhood.

  • Founder effect of Fabry disease due to p.F113L mutation: Clinical profile of a late-onset phenotype
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-07-24
    Olga Azevedo, Andreas Gal, Rui Faria, Paulo Gaspar, Gabriel Miltenberger-Miltenyi, Miguel F. Gago, Fátima Dias, Alice Martins, Jorge Rodrigues, Pedro Reimão, Olga Pereira, Sónia Simões, Emilia Lopes, Maria José Guimarães, Nuno Sousa, Damião Cunha

    Background Knowledge on clinical profiles of late-onset phenotypes of Fabry disease (FD) is essential to better define their natural history. Our study aims to demonstrate a founder effect of FD due to the GLA gene mutation c.337T>C (p.F113L) in the Portuguese region of Guimarães; and to characterize the clinical profile of this late-onset phenotype in a large cohort of genetically related adult patients, living in the same region. Methods and Results FD screening was performed in 150 adult patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and found 25 Fabry patients (16.6%). The p.F113L mutation was found in 21 of them, leading to a genealogy study and haplotype analysis of the p.F113L patients. Genealogy research revealed a 12-generation family tree with a common ancestor to p.F113L patients, suggesting a founder effect that was supported by haplotype findings. Pedigree analysis was performed and 120 consecutive p.F113L patients underwent a predefined diagnostic evaluation of FD multiorgan involvement. This late-onset phenotype was characterized by common and/or potentially severe cardiac manifestations (left ventricular hypertrophy 40.8%, atrial fibrillation 5%, non-sustained ventricular tachycardia 12.5%, atrioventricular block 18.3%, bifascicular block 13.4%). Extracardiac manifestations included albuminuria>30 mg/24 h 36.1%, chronic kidney disease≥G3 7.6%, brain white matter lesions 54.4%, stroke 3.3%, sensorineural deafness 44.5%, cornea verticillata 13.9%. Plasma lyso-GB3 was undetectable in females, regardless of clinical manifestations. Conclusion A founder effect of FD due to p.F113L mutation was documented by genealogy and genetics in a Portuguese region. In this late-onset phenotype, although cardiac manifestations carry the highest prognostic impact, extracardiac involvement is common.

  • Acute hepatic porphyrias: Current diagnosis & management
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-07-05
    Karl E. Anderson

    Each of the four acute hepatic porphyrias is due to mutation of an enzyme in the heme biosynthetic pathway. The accumulation of pathway intermediates that occur most notably when these diseases are active is the basis for screening and establishing a biochemical diagnosis of these rare disorders. Measurement of enzyme activities and especially DNA testing also are important for diagnosis. Suspicion of the diagnosis and specific testing, particularly measurement of urinary porphobilinogen, are often delayed because the symptoms are nonspecific, even when severe. Urinary porphyrins are also measured, but their elevation is much less specific. If porphobilinogen is elevated, second line testing will establish the type of acute porphyria. DNA testing identifies the familial mutation and enables screening of family members. Management includes removal of triggering factors whenever possible. Intravenous hemin is the most effective treatment for acute attacks. Carbohydrate loading is sometimes used for mild attacks. Cyclic attacks, if frequent, can be prevented by a GnRH analogue. Frequent noncyclic attacks are sometime preventable by scheduled (e.g. weekly) hemin infusions. Long term complications may include chronic pain, renal impairment and liver cancer. Other treatments, including RNA interference, are under development.

  • 5-Aminolevulinate synthase catalysis: The catcher in heme biosynthesis
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-06-13
    Bosko M. Stojanovski, Gregory A. Hunter, Insung Na, Vladimir N. Uversky, Rays H.Y. Jiang, Gloria C. Ferreira

    5-Aminolevulinate (ALA) synthase (ALAS), a homodimeric pyridoxal-5′-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzyme, catalyzes the first step of heme biosynthesis in metazoa, fungi and α-proteobacteria. In this review, we focus on the advances made in unraveling the mechanism of the ALAS-catalyzed reaction during the past decade. The interplay between the PLP cofactor and the protein moiety determines and modulates the multi-intermediate reaction cycle of ALAS, which involves the decarboxylative condensation of two substrates, glycine and succinyl-CoA. Substrate binding and catalysis are rapid, and product (ALA) release dominates the overall ALAS kinetic mechanism. Interconversion between a catalytically incompetent, open conformation and a catalytically competent, closed conformation is linked to ALAS catalysis. Reversion to the open conformation, coincident with ALA dissociation, defines the slowest step of the reaction cycle. These findings were further substantiated by introducing seven mutations in the16-amino acid loop that gates the active site, yielding an ALAS variant with a greatly increased rate of catalytic turnover and heightened specificity constants for both substrates. Recently, molecular dynamics (MD) simulation analysis of various dimeric ALAS forms revealed that the seven active site loop mutations caused the proteins to adopt different conformations. In particular, the emergence of a β-strand in the mutated loop, which interacted with two preexisting β-strands to form an anti-parallel three-stranded β-sheet, conferred the murine heptavariant with a more stable open conformation and prompted faster product release than wild-type mALAS2. Moreover, the dynamics of the mALAS2 active site loop anti-correlated with that of the 35 amino acid C-terminal sequence. This led us to propose that this C-terminal extension, which is absent in prokaryotic ALASs, finely tunes mammalian ALAS activity. Based on the above results, we extend our previous proposal to include that discovery of a ligand inducing the mammalian C-terminal extension to fold offers a good prospect for the development of a new drug for X-linked protoporphyria and/or other porphyrias associated with enhanced ALAS activity and/or porphyrin accumulation.

  • Pilot study of mitochondrial bioenergetics in subjects with acute porphyrias
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-05-20
    Natalia Dixon, Ting Li, Brandon Marion, Denise Faust, Stephen Dozier, Anthony Molina, Sean Rudnick, Herbert L. Bonkovsky

    Background and aims The acute porphyrias are characterized by defects in heme synthesis, particularly in the liver. In some affected patients, there occurs a critical deficiency in a regulatory heme pool within hepatocytes that leads to up-regulation of 5-aminolevulinic acid [ALA] synthase-1, which is the first and normally rate-controlling enzyme in the pathway. In earlier work, we described defects in mitochondrial functions in cultured skin fibroblasts from patients with acute intermittent porphyria [AIP]. Others described defects in livers of murine models of AIP. Here, we explored mitochondrial energetics in peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMCs] and platelets in persons with AIP and hereditary coproporphyria [HCP]. Our hypotheses were that there are deficits in bioenergetic capacity in acute porphyrias and that subjects with more severe acute porphyria have more pronounced reductions in mitochondrial oxygen consumption rates [OCR]. Methods We studied 17 subjects with acute hepatic porphyrias, 14 with classical AIP, one with severe AIP due to homozygous deficiency of hydroxymethylbilane synthase [HMBS], 2 with HCP, and 5 non-porphyric controls. We collected peripheral blood, isolated PBMCs, which we assayed either immediately or after frozen storage [80C] for up to 14 days. Using Seahorse XF-24-3, we measured OCR in the presence of glucose + pyruvate under basal condition, and after additions of oligomycin, carbonylcyanide p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone [FCCP], and antimycin+rotenone. Results Most subjects [13/17, 76%] were female. Subjects with moderate/severe symptoms associated with acute porphyria had significantly lower basal and maximal-OCR than those with no/mild symptoms who were the same as controls. We observed significant inverse correlation between urinary porphobilinogen [PBG] excretion and OCR. The subject with homozygous AIP had a much lower-OCR than his asymptomatic parents. Summary/conclusions Results support the hypothesis that active acute hepatic porphyria is characterized by a deficiency in mitochondrial function that is detectable in PBMCs, suggesting that limitations in electron transport and ATP production exist in such individuals.

  • Association between hepatitis C virus and porphyria cutanea tarda
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-05-09
    Jordi To-Figueras

    Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) arises from a deficiency of uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (UROD) in the liver. Several exogenous risk factors are associated with the acquired form of the disease. In Southern Europe, PCT is strongly linked to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection to the point that a high prevalence of viral infection in some geographic areas generated an increase of PCT cases as a complication. In spite of the association, PCT is a rare complication of HCV infection, thus suggesting the existence of susceptibility factors operating in only some patients. Investigation of liver specimens of PCT patients showed iron accumulation, which albeit moderate, was higher in comparison with HCV-infected patients without PCT. Measurements of hepcidin in serum of HCV-infected patients with and without PCT and calculation of hepcidin/ferritin ratio were compatible with the hypothesis that HCV induced inadequate response of hepcidin to iron accumulation. Administration of direct-acting antivirals (DAA) to HCV-infected patients with active PCT showed that eradication of the virus was followed by resolution of PCT and rapid disappearance of urinary porphyrins. This suggests a direct participation of the virus in the oxidative mechanism leading to UROD inhibition. If clinical evolution of HCV- PCT-patients is placed within a time-frame, rapid PCT resolution by DAA is in striking contrast with a long-delay (in most cases of decades) between viral infection and appearance of overt porphyria. This could be explained if HCV infection (a): enhanced an oxidative environment in the vicinity of UROD and (b): facilitated iron accumulation through hepdicin down-regulation. Thus, only when iron accumulation reached a threshold, inhibition of UROD attained a critical level. However, the enigma is why only a minority of HCV-infected patients develop PCT. If additional risk factors (i.e. alcohol abuse) are not concurring, it should be concluded that modifier genes or epigenetic mechanisms related to iron homeostasis, facilitate iron progressive accumulation in only a minority susceptible patients.

  • Delta-aminolevulinic acid synthase 2 expression in combination with iron as modifiers of disease severity in erythropoietic protoporphyria
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-05-02
    Jasmin Barman-Aksözen, Francois Halloy, Pavithra S. Iyer, Daniel Schümperli, Anna Elisabeth Minder, Jonathan Hall, Elisabeth I. Minder, Xiaoye Schneider-Yin

    Deficiency in ferrochelatase (FECH), the last enzyme in the heme biosynthetic pathway, leads to an accumulation of protoporphyrin IX (PPIX) that causes a severely painful phototoxic reaction of the skin in patients with erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP). Besides phototoxicity of the skin, EPP patients often present with symptoms of iron deficiency in form of a microcytic and hypochromic anemia with low serum iron and ferritin. In addition, elevated aminolevulinic acid synthase 2 (ALAS2) both at the mRNA and protein levels have been observed among EPP patients. ALAS is the first enzyme in the pathway and exists in two isoforms, whereby the isoform 2 (ALAS2) is expressed exclusively in erythropoiesis. The mRNA of ALAS2 contains an iron response element (IRE) at its 5′UTR. When iron is limited, iron response element binding protein 2 (IRP2) binds to the IRE of ALAS2 mRNA and suppresses its translation. In this study, we demonstrated that iron deprivation increased the amount of ALAS2 mRNA as well as the ratio of ALAS2 to FECH mRNAs in cultured erythroleukemic K562 cells. At the protein level, however, iron deprivation in the cell line caused reductions in both enzymes as shown by the Western blot analysis. A comparable increase in the ratio of ALAS2 to FECH mRNAs was also found in EPP patients indicating an imbalance in heme biosynthesis. As iron cannot be completely missing from an organism, we assume that in EPP patients, a certain amount of ALAS2 mRNA is translated despite a partial deficiency of FECH. The increase in ALAS2 enzyme contributes to the accumulation in PPIX in the patients. Targeted inhibition of ALAS2 could therefore be a treatment option for EPP.

  • Heme biosynthesis and the porphyrias
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-04-22
    John D. Phillips

    Porphyrias, is a general term for a group of metabolic diseases that are genetic in nature. In each specific porphyria the activity of specific enzymes in the heme biosynthetic pathway is defective and leads to accumulation of pathway intermediates. Phenotypically, each disease leads to either neurologic and/or photocutaneous symptoms based on the metabolic intermediate that accumulates. In each porphyria the distinct patterns of these substances in plasma, erythrocytes, urine and feces are the basis for diagnostically defining the metabolic defect underlying the clinical observations. Porphyrias may also be classified as either erythropoietic or hepatic, depending on the principal site of accumulation of pathway intermediates. The erythropoietic porphyrias are congenital erythropoietic porphyria (CEP), and erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP). The acute hepatic porphyrias include ALA dehydratase deficiency porphyria, acute intermittent porphyria (AIP), hereditary coproporphyria (HCP) and variegate porphyria (VP). Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) is the only porphyria that has both genetic and/or environmental factors that lead to reduced activity of uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase in the liver. Each of the 8 enzymes in the heme biosynthetic pathway have been associated with a specific porphyria (Table 1). Mutations affecting the erythroid form of ALA synthase (ALAS2) are most commonly associated with X-linked sideroblastic anemia, however, gain-of-function mutations of ALAS2 have also been associated with a variant form of EPP. This overview does not describe the full clinical spectrum of the porphyrias, but is meant to be an overview of the biochemical steps that are required to make heme in both erythroid and non-erythroid cells.

  • Pathogenesis and clinical features of the acute hepatic porphyrias (AHPs)
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-03-06
    Herbert L. Bonkovsky, Natalia Dixon, Sean Rudnick

    The acute hepatic porphyrias include four disorders: acute intermittent porphyria [AIP], hereditary coproporphyria [HCP], variegate porphyria [VP], and the rare porphyria due to severe deficiency of ALA dehydratase [ADP]. In the USA, AIP is the most severe and most often symptomatic. AIP, HCP, and VP are due to autosomal dominant genetic abnormalities, in which missense, nonsense, or other mutations of genes of normal hepatic heme biosynthesis, in concert with other environmental, nutritional, hormonal and genetic factors, may lead to a critical deficiency of heme, the end-product of the pathway, in a small but critical ‘regulatory pool’ within hepatocytes. This deficiency leads to de-repression of the first and normally rate-controlling enzyme of the heme synthetic pathway, delta- or 5-aminolevulinic acid [ALA] synthase-1, and thus to marked up-regulation of this key enzyme and to marked hepatic overproduction of ALA. In addition, except for ADP, there is marked overproduction as well of porphobilinogen [PBG], the intermediate immediately downstream of ALA in the synthetic chain, and, especially in HCP and VP, also porphyrinogens and porphyrins farther down the pathway. The major clinical features of the acute porphyrias are attacks of severe neuropathic-type pain. Pain is felt first and foremost in the abdomen but may also occur in the back, chest, and extremities. Attacks are more common in women than in men [ratio of about 4:1], often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, constipation, tachycardia, and arterial hypertension. Hyponatremia may also occur. Some patients also describe chronic symptoms of pain, anxiety, insomnia, and others.

  • Psychosocial issues in erythropoietic protoporphyria - the perspective of parents, children, and young adults: A qualitative study
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-01-26
    Hetanshi Naik, Shruti Shenbagam, Allysa Marie Go, Manisha Balwani

    Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) and X-linked protoporphyria (XLP) are rare photodermatoses, generally presenting in childhood with severe and painful phototoxicity. EPP has been reported to negatively affect quality of life (QoL), but there is limited information on the psychosocial issues faced by patients and families. To address this, an online focus group study was conducted to explore the perspective of parents of children with EPP, and young adults and children with EPP. Five focus groups were conducted in a semi-structured format, with moderator-led discussions exploring the impact on QoL. Three focus groups included parents of children with EPP, one with children aged 10–11 years, and another with young adults aged 24–25 years, for a total of 24 participants. Thematic data analysis showed that parents experience guilt for being unable to protect their children and frustration with the current state of knowledge of EPP. Parents also admitted that the disease can lead to stress within family members which is difficult to manage. Young adults expressed embarrassment over having to explain the disease to others. They reported that the teenage years were the most difficult to navigate; however, they learned to adapt to their disease as they grew older. Children expressed that they had limited understanding of their disease and wished they were told what symptoms to expect by physicians earlier in life. Our findings emphasize the significant impact on QoL for these families and a lack of age appropriate information for children with EPP. These findings can help improve counseling and support resources for patients and caregivers.

  • Erythropoietic Protoporphyria and X-Linked Protoporphyria: pathophysiology, genetics, clinical manifestations, and management
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-01-24
    Manisha Balwani

    Erythropoietic Protoporphyria (EPP) and X-linked Protoporphyria (XLP) are rare, genetic photodermatoses resulting from defects in enzymes of the heme-biosynthetic pathway. EPP results from the partial deficiency of ferrochelatase, and XLP results from gain-of-function mutations in erythroid specific ALAS2. Both disorders result in the accumulation of erythrocyte protoporphyrin, which is released in the plasma and taken up by the liver and vascular endothelium. The accumulated protoporphyrin is activated by sunlight exposure, generating singlet oxygen radical reactions leading to tissue damage and excruciating pain. About 2–5% of patients develop clinically significant liver dysfunction due to protoporphyrin deposition in bile and/or hepatocytes which can advance to cholestatic liver failure requiring transplantation. Clinically these patients present with acute, severe, non-blistering phototoxicity within minutes of sun-exposure. Anemia is seen in about 47% of patients and about 27% of patients will develop abnormal serum aminotransferases. The diagnosis of EPP and XLP is made by detection of markedly increased erythrocyte protoporphyrin levels with a predominance of metal-free protoporphyrin. Genetic testing by sequencing the FECH or ALAS2 gene confirms the diagnosis. Treatment is limited to sun-protection and there are no currently available FDA-approved therapies for these disorders. Afamelanotide, a synthetic analogue of α-melanocyte stimulating hormone was found to increase pain-free sun exposure and improve quality of life in adults with EPP. It has been approved for use in the European Union since 2014 and is not available in the U.S. In addition to the development of effective therapeutics, future studies are needed to establish the role of iron and the risks related to the development of hepatopathy in these patients.

  • Regulation and tissue-specific expression of δ-aminolevulinic acid synthases in non-syndromic sideroblastic anemias and porphyrias
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-01-23
    Katell Peoc'h, Gaël Nicolas, Caroline Schmitt, Arienne Mirmiran, Raed Daher, Thibaud Lefebvre, Laurent Gouya, Zoubida Karim, Hervé Puy

    Recently, new genes and molecular mechanisms have been identified in patients with porphyrias and sideroblastic anemias (SA). They all modulate either directly or indirectly the δ-aminolevulinic acid synthase (ALAS) activity. ALAS, is encoded by two genes: the erythroid-specific (ALAS2), and the ubiquitously expressed (ALAS1). In the liver, ALAS1 controls the rate-limiting step in the production of heme and hemoproteins that are rapidly turned over in response to metabolic needs. Several heme regulatory targets have been identified as regulators of ALAS1 activity: 1) transcriptional repression via a heme-responsive element, 2) post-transcriptional destabilization of ALAS1 mRNA, 3) post-translational inhibition via a heme regulatory motif, 4) direct inhibition of the activity of the enzyme and 5) breakdown of ALAS1 protein via heme-mediated induction of the protease Lon peptidase 1. In erythroid cells, ALAS2 is a gatekeeper of production of very large amounts of heme necessary for hemoglobin synthesis. The rate of ALAS2 synthesis is transiently increased during the period of active heme synthesis. Its gene expression is determined by trans-activation of nuclear factor GATA1, CACC box and NF-E2-binding sites in the promoter areas. ALAS2 mRNA translation is also regulated by the iron-responsive element (IRE)/iron regulatory proteins (IRP) binding system. In patients, ALAS enzyme activity is affected in most of the mutations causing non-syndromic SA and in several porphyrias. Decreased ALAS2 activity results either directly from loss-of-function ALAS2 mutations as seen in X-linked sideroblastic anemia (XLSA) or from defect in the availability of one of its two mitochondrial substrates: glycine in SLC25A38 mutations and succinyl CoA in GLRX5 mutations. Moreover, ALAS2 gain of function mutations is responsible for X-linked protoporphyria and increased ALAS1 activity lead to acute attacks of hepatic porphyrias. A missense dominant mutation in the Walker A motif of the ATPase binding site in the gene coding for the mitochondrial protein unfoldase CLPX also contributes to increasing ALAS and subsequently protoporphyrinemia. Altogether, these recent data on human ALAS have informed our understanding of porphyrias and sideroblastic anemias pathogeneses and may contribute to new therapeutic strategies.

  • Porphyria cutanea tarda: Recent update
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-01-18
    Ashwani K. Singal

    Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) is the most common human porphyria, due to hepatic deficiency of uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (UROD), which is acquired in the presence of iron overload and various susceptibility factors, such as alcohol abuse, smoking, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, HIV infection, iron overload with HFE gene mutations, use of estrogens, and UROD mutation. Patients with familial or type II PCT due to autosomal dominant UROD mutation also require other susceptibility factors, as the disease phenotype requires hepatic UROD deficiency to below 20% of normal. PCT clinically manifests with increased skin fragility and blistering skin lesions on sun exposed areas. The common age of presentation is 5th to 6th decade and occurs slightly more commonly in males. Although mild liver biochemical profile are common, advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can occasionally develop. Screening for HCC using ultrasound examination is recommended in PCT patients, especially with cirrhosis and advanced fibrosis. PCT is effectively and readily treatable with the use of either repeated phlebotomy or use of 100 mg hydroxychloroquine orally twice a week, and both the treatments are equally effective and safe. With the advent of new or direct antiviral agents for HCV infection, treatment of concomitant HCV has become safer and effective. Data are emerging on the benefit of these drugs as monotherapy for both PCT and HCV. After the achievement of remission of PCT, there remains a potential for relapse, especially when the susceptibility factors are not adequately controlled. Scanty data from retrospective and observational studies shows the relapse rate to be somewhat higher after remission with low-dose hydroxychloroquine as compared to phlebotomy induced remission. Future studies are needed on exploring mechanism of action of 4-aminoquinolines, understanding interaction of HCV and PCT, and relapse of PCT on long-term follow-up.

  • Murine models of the human porphyrias: Contributions toward understanding disease pathogenesis and the development of new therapies
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-01-18
    Makiko Yasuda, Robert J. Desnick

    Mouse models of the human porphyrias have proven useful for investigations of disease pathogenesis and to facilitate the development of new therapeutic approaches. To date, mouse models have been generated for all major porphyrias, with the exception of X-linked protoporphyria (XLP) and the ultra rare 5-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase deficient porphyria (ADP). Mouse models have been generated for the three autosomal dominant acute hepatic porphyrias, acute intermittent porphyria (AIP), hereditary coproporphyria (HCP), and variegate porphyria (VP). The AIP mice, in particular, provide a useful investigative model as they have been shown to have acute biochemical attacks when induced with the prototypic porphyrinogenic drug, phenobarbital. In addition to providing important insights into the disease pathogenesis of the neurological impairment in AIP, these mice have been valuable for preclinical evaluation of liver-targeted gene therapy and RNAi-mediated approaches. Mice with severe HMBS deficiency, which clinically and biochemically mimic the early-onset homozygous dominant AIP (HD-AIP) patients, have been generated and were used to elucidate the striking phenotypic differences between AIP and HD-AIP. Mice modeling the hepatocutaneous porphyria, porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT), made possible the identification of the iron-dependent inhibitory mechanism of uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (UROD) that leads to symptomatic PCT. Mouse models for the two autosomal recessive erythropoietic porphyrias, congenital erythropoietic porphyria (CEP) and erythropoeitic protoporphyria (EPP), recapitulate many of the clinical and biochemical features of the severe human diseases and have been particularly useful for evaluation of bone marrow transplantation and hematopoietic stem cell (HSC)-based gene therapy approaches. The EPP mice have also provided valuable insights into the underlying pathogenesis of EPP-induced liver damage and anemia.

  • The mitochondrial heme metabolon: Insights into the complex(ity) of heme synthesis and distribution
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-01-17
    Robert B. Piel, Harry A. Dailey, Amy E. Medlock

    Heme is an essential cofactor in metazoans that is also toxic in its free state. Heme is synthesized by most metazoans and must be delivered to all cellular compartments for incorporation into a variety of hemoproteins. The heme biosynthesis enzymes have been proposed to exist in a metabolon, a protein complex consisting of interacting enzymes in a metabolic pathway. Metabolons enhance the function of enzymatic pathways by creating favorable microenvironments for pathway enzymes and intermediates, facilitating substrate transport, and providing a scaffold for interactions with other pathways, signaling molecules, or organelles. Herein we detail growing evidence for a mitochondrial heme metabolon and discuss its implications for the study of heme biosynthesis and cellular heme homeostasis.

  • Sex differences in vascular reactivity in mesenteric arteries from a mouse model of acute intermittent porphyria
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-01-07
    Victor M. Pulgar, Makiko Yasuda, Lin Gan, Robert J. Desnick, Herbert L. Bonkovsky

    Background and aims Acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) results from a partial deficiency of porphobilinogen deaminase (PBGD). Symptomatic AIP patients, most of whom are women, experience acute attacks characterized by severe abdominal pain and abrupt increases in blood pressure. Here, we characterized the reactivity of mesenteric arteries from male and female AIP mice with ~30% of normal PBGD activity and wild type C57BL/6 mice. Methods An acute porphyric attack was induced in AIP mice by treatment with phenobarbital. Vascular responses to K+, phenylephrine (PE), acetylcholine (ACh), and hemin were determined (Wire Multi Myograph). Results Maximal contraction to PE was increased in arteries from male and female AIP mice (p < .05) during an induced attack of acute porphyria. Female AIP arteries had increased sensitivity to PE (p < .05) even after nitric oxide (NO) blockade with Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) (p < .05). Maximal relaxation to ACh was similar in males and females with lower sensitivity in female AIP arteries (p < .05). Hemin induced greater relaxation in AIP arteries in both males and females (p < .05). Summary/conclusions Sex differences in this AIP mouse model include a pro-contractile response in females. These alterations may contribute to the increased blood pressure during an acute attack and provide a novel mechanism of action whereby heme ameliorates the attacks.

  • GLRX5 mutations impair heme biosynthetic enzymes ALA synthase 2 and ferrochelatase in Human congenital sideroblastic anemia
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-01-07
    Raêd Daher, Abdellah Mansouri, Alain Martelli, Sophie Bayart, Hana Manceau, Isabelle Callebaut, Boualem Moulouel, Laurent Gouya, Hervé Puy, Caroline Kannengiesser, Zoubida Karim

    Non-syndromic microcytic congenital sideroblastic anemia (cSA) is predominantly caused by defective genes encoding for either ALAS2, the first enzyme of heme biosynthesis pathway or SLC25A38, the mitochondrial importer of glycine, an ALAS2 substrate. Herein we explored a new case of cSA with two mutations in GLRX5, a gene for which only two patients have been reported so far. The patient was a young female with biallelic compound heterozygous mutations in GLRX5 (p.Cys67Tyr and p.Met128Lys). Three-D structure analysis confirmed the involvement of Cys67 in the coordination of the [2Fe2S] cluster and suggested a potential role of Met128 in partner interactions. The protein-level of ferrochelatase, the terminal-enzyme of heme process, was increased both in patient-derived lymphoblastoid and CD34+ cells, however, its activity was drastically decreased. The activity of ALAS2 was found altered and possibly related to a defect in the biogenesis of its co-substrate, the succinyl-CoA. Thus, the patient exhibits both a very low ferrochelatase activity without any accumulation of porphyrins precursors in contrast to what is reported in erythropoietic protoporphyria with solely impaired ferrochelatase activity. A significant oxidative stress was evidenced by decreased reduced glutathione and aconitase activity, and increased MnSOD protein expression. This oxidative stress depleted and damaged mtDNA, decreased complex I and IV activities and depleted ATP content. Collectively, our study demonstrates the key role of GLRX5 in modulating ALAS2 and ferrochelatase activities and in maintaining mitochondrial function.

  • Characterization of the hepatic transcriptome following phenobarbital induction in mice with AIP
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2019-01-06
    Brenden Chen, Minghui Wang, Lin Gan, Bin Zhang, Robert J. Desnick, Makiko Yasuda

    Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP), an autosomal dominant hepatic disorder, results from hydroxymethylbilane synthase (HMBS) mutations that decrease the encoded enzymatic activity, thereby predisposing patients to life-threatening acute neurovisceral attacks. The ~1% penetrance of AIP suggests that other genetic factors modulate the onset and severity of the acute attacks. Here, we characterized the hepatic transcriptomic response to phenobarbital (PB) administration in AIP mice, which mimics the biochemical attacks of AIP. At baseline, the mRNA profiles of 14,138 hepatic genes prior to treatment were remarkably similar between AIP and the congenic wild-type (WT) mice. After PB treatment (~120 mg/kg x 3d), 1347 and 1120 genes in AIP mice and 422 and 404 genes in WT mice were uniquely up- and down-regulated, respectively, at a False Discovery Rate < 0.05. As expected, the ALAS1 expression increased 4.5-fold and 15.9-fold in the WT and AIP mice, respectively. ALA-dehydrogenase also was induced ~1.7-fold in PB-induced AIP mice, but was unchanged in PB-induced WT mice. There was no statistically significant difference in the overall expression of 155 hepatic cytochrome P450 enzymes, although Cyp2c40, Cyp2c68, Cyp2c69, Mgst3 were upregulated only in PB-induced AIP mice (>1.9-fold) and Cyp21a1 was upregulated only in PB-induced WT mice (>9-fold). Notably, the genes differentially expressed in induced AIP mice were enriched in circadian rhythm, mitochondria biogenesis and electron transport, suggesting these pathways were involved in AIP mice responding to PB treatment. These results advance our understanding of the hepatic metabolic changes in PB-induced AIP mice and have implications in the pathogenesis of AIP acute attacks.

  • Congenital erythropoietic porphyria: Recent advances
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2018-12-27
    Angelika L. Erwin, Robert J. Desnick

    Congenital erythropoietic porphyria (CEP) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by photosensitivity and by hematologic abnormalities in affected individuals. CEP is caused by mutations in the uroporphyrinogen synthase (UROS) gene. In three reported cases, CEP has been associated with a specific X-linked GATA1 mutation. Disease-causing mutations in either gene result in absent or markedly reduced UROS enzymatic activity. This in turn leads to the accumulation of the non-physiologic and photoreactive porphyrinogens, uroporphyrinogen I and coproporphyrinogen I, which damage erythrocytes and elicit a phototoxic reaction upon light exposure. The clinical spectrum of CEP depends on the level of residual UROS activity, which is determined by the underlying pathogenic loss-of-function UROS mutations. Disease severity ranges from non-immune hydrops fetalis in utero to late-onset disease with only mild cutaneous involvement. The clinical characteristics of CEP include exquisite photosensitivity to visible light resulting in bullous vesicular lesions which, when infected lead to progressive photomutilation of sun-exposed areas such as the face and hands. In addition, patients have erythrodontia (brownish discoloration of teeth) and can develop corneal scarring. Chronic transfusion-dependent hemolytic anemia is common and leads to bone marrow hyperplasia, which further increases porphyrin production. Management of CEP consists of strict avoidance of exposure to visible light with sun-protective clothing, sunglasses, and car and home window filters. Adequate care of ruptured vesicles and use of topical antibiotics is indicated to prevent superinfections and osteolysis. In patients with symptomatic hemolytic anemia, frequent erythrocyte cell transfusions may be necessary to suppress hematopoiesis and decrease marrow production of the phototoxic porphyrins. In severe transfection-dependent cases, bone marrow or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation has been performed, which is curative. Therapeutic approaches including gene therapy, proteasome inhibition, and pharmacologic chaperones are under investigation.

  • Zebrafish as a model system to delineate the role of heme and iron metabolism during erythropoiesis
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2018-12-24
    Jianbing Zhang, Iqbal Hamza

    Coordination of iron acquisition and heme synthesis is required for effective erythropoiesis. The small teleost zebrafish (Danio rerio) is an ideal vertebrate animal model to replicate various aspects of human physiology and provides an efficient and cost-effective way to model human pathophysiology. Importantly, zebrafish erythropoiesis largely resembles mammalian erythropoiesis. Gene discovery by large-scale forward mutagenesis screening has identified key components in heme and iron metabolism. Reverse genetic screens, using morpholino-knockdown and CRISPR/Cas9, coupled with the genetic tractability of the developing embryo have further accelerated functional studies. Ultimately, the ex utero development of zebrafish embryos combined with their transparency and developmental plasticity could provide a deeper understanding of the role of iron and heme metabolism during early vertebrate embryonic development.

  • Computational disease model of phenobarbital-induced acute attacks in an acute intermittent porphyria mouse model
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2018-12-21
    Diego Vera-Yunca, Irantzu Serrano-Mendioroz, Ana Sampedro, Daniel Jericó, Iñaki F. Trocóniz, Antonio Fontanellas, Zinnia P. Parra-Guillén

    Introduction Acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) is characterized by hepatic over-production of the heme precursors when aminolevulinic acid (ALA)-synthase 1 is induced by endogenous or environmental factors. The aim of this study was to develop a semi-mechanistic computational model to characterize urine accumulation of heme precursors during acute attacks based on experimental pharmacodynamics data and support the development of new therapeutic strategies. Methods Male AIP mice received recurrent phenobarbital challenge starting on days 1, 9, 16 and 30. 24-h urine excretion of ALA, porphobilinogen (PBG) and porphyrins from challenges D1, D9 and D30 constituted the training data set to build the mechanistic model using the population approach. In a second study, porphyrin and porphyrin precursor excretion from challenge D16 were used as a validation data set. Results The computational model presented the following features: (i) urinary excretion of ALA, PBG and porphyrins was governed by unmeasured circulating heme precursor amounts, (ii) the circulating amounts of ALA and PBG were the precursors of circulating amounts of PBG and porphyrins, respectively, and (iii) the phenobarbital effect linearly increased the synthesis of circulating ALA and PBG levels. The model displayed good parameter precision (coefficient of variation below 32% in all parameters), and adequately described the experimental data. Finally, a theoretical hemin effect was implemented to illustrate the applicability of the model to dosage optimization in drug therapies. Conclusions A semi-mechanistic disease model was successfully developed to describe the temporal evolution of urinary heme precursor excretion during recurrent biochemical-induced acute attacks in AIP mice. This model represents the first computational approach to explore and optimize current and new therapies.

  • Lifestyle factors including diet and biochemical biomarkers in acute intermittent porphyria: Results from a case-control study in northern Norway
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2018-12-10
    Elin Storjord, Jim A. Dahl, Anne Landsem, Judith K. Ludviksen, Marlene B. Karlsen, Bård O. Karlsen, Ole-L. Brekke

    Background Lifestyle factors, including a low intake of carbohydrates, dieting, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and stress are some of the possible triggers of attacks in acute intermittent porphyria (AIP). The influence of lifestyle factors, including energy intake, diet and alcohol consumption on the biochemical disease activity in AIP and biochemical nutritional markers were examined. Methods A case-control study with 50 AIP cases and 50 controls matched for age, sex and place of residence was performed. Dietary intake was registered using a food diary in 46 matched pairs. Symptoms, alcohol intake, stress and other triggering factors of the last AIP attack were recorded on questionnaires. Porphyrin precursors, liver and kidney function markers, vitamins, diabetogenic hormones and other nutritional biomarkers were analyzed by routine methods. The Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed rank test was used to compare the cases vs. controls. The Spearman's rank correlation coefficient was used on the cases. Results Increasing total energy intake was negatively correlated with the biochemical disease activity. The intake of carbohydrates was lower than recommended, i.e., 40 and 39% of total energy intake in the AIP cases and controls, respectively. The plasma resistin level was significantly higher (p = .03) in the symptomatic than asymptomatic cases. Plasma insulin was lower in those with high porphobilinogen levels. The intake of sugar and candies were higher in the AIP cases with low U-delta aminolevulinic acid (ALA) levels (p = .04). Attacks were triggered by psychological stress (62%), physical strain (38%), food items (24%) and alcohol (32%) in the 34 symptomatic cases. Alcohol was used regularly by 88% of the cases (3.2 g ethanol/day) and 90% of the controls (6.3 g/day), but the intake was significantly lower in symptomatic than in asymptomatic cases (p = .045). Conclusion A high intake of energy, sugar and candies and a higher insulin level were associated with a lower biochemical disease activity. The resistin level was higher in the symptomatic than the asymptomatic cases. AIP patients drink alcohol regularly, but the intake was significantly lower in the symptomatic cases. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01617642.

  • Recent advances on porphyria genetics: Inheritance, penetrance & molecular heterogeneity, including new modifying/causative genes
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2018-11-30
    Makiko Yasuda, Brenden Chen, Robert J. Desnick

    The inborn errors of heme biosynthesis, the Porphyrias, include eight major disorders resulting from loss-of-function (LOF) or gain-of-function (GOF) mutations in eight of the nine heme biosynthetic genes. The major sites of heme biosynthesis are the liver and erythron, and the underlying pathophysiology of each of these disorders depends on the unique biochemistry, cell biology, and genetic mechanisms in these tissues. The porphyrias are classified into three major categories: 1) the acute hepatic porphyrias (AHPs), including Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP), Hereditary Coproporphyria (HCP), Variegate Porphyria (VP), and 5-Aminolevlulinic Acid Dehydratase Deficient Porphyria (ADP); 2) a hepatic cutaneous porphyria, Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (PCT); and 3) the cutaneous erythropoietic porphyrias, Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria (CEP), Erythropoietic Protoporphyria (EPP), and X-Linked Protoporphyria (XLP). Their modes of inheritance include autosomal dominant with markedly decreased penetrance (AIP, VP, and HCP), autosomal recessive (ADP, CEP, and EPP), or X-linked (XLP), as well as an acquired sporadic form (PCT). There are severe homozygous dominant forms of the three AHPs. For each porphyria, its phenotype, inheritance pattern, unique genetic principles, and molecular genetic heterogeneity are presented. To date, >1000 mutations in the heme biosynthetic genes causing their respective porphyrias have been reported, including low expression alleles and genotype/phenotype correlations that predict severity for certain porphyrias. The tissue-specific regulation of heme biosynthesis and the unique genetic mechanisms for each porphyria are highlighted.

  • Porphyria cutanea tarda and hepatoerythropoietic porphyria: Identification of 19 novel uroporphyrinogen III decarboxylase mutations
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2018-11-28
    Yedidyah Weiss, Brenden Chen, Makiko Yasuda, Irina Nazarenko, Karl E. Anderson, Robert J. Desnick

    Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (PCT) is a cutaneous porphyria that results from the hepatic inhibition of the heme biosynthetic enzyme uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (UROD), and can occur either in the absence or presence of an inherited heterozygous UROD mutation (PCT subtypes 1 and 2, respectively). A heterozygous UROD mutation causes half-normal levels of UROD activity systemically, which is a susceptibility factor but is not sufficient alone to cause type 2 PCT. In both Types 1 and 2 PCT, the cutaneous manifestations are precipitated by additional factors that lead to generation of an inhibitor that more profoundly reduces hepatic UROD activity. PCT is an iron-related disorder, and many of its known susceptibility factors, which include infections (e.g. hepatitis C virus, HIV), high alcohol consumption, smoking, estrogens, and genetic traits (e.g. hemochromatosis mutations) can increase hepatic iron accumulation. Hepatoerythropoietic Porphyria (HEP) is a rare autosomal recessive disease that results from homozygosity or compound heterozygosity for UROD mutations and often causes infantile or childhood onset of both erythropoietic and cutaneous manifestations. During the 11-year period from 01/01/2007 through 12/31/2017, the Mount Sinai Porphyrias Diagnostic Laboratory provided molecular diagnostic testing for 387 unrelated patients with PCT and four unrelated patients with HEP. Of the 387 unrelated individuals tested for Type 2 PCT, 79 (20%) were heterozygous for UROD mutations. Among 26 family members of mutation-positive PCT patients, eight (31%) had the respective family mutation. Additionally, of the four unrelated HEP patients referred for UROD mutation analyses, all had homozygosity or compound heterozygosity for UROD mutations, and all eight asymptomatic family members were heterozygotes for UROD mutations. Of the UROD mutations identified, 19 were novel, including nine missense, two nonsense, one consensus splice-site, and seven insertions and deletions. These results expand the molecular heterogeneity of PCT and HEP by adding a total of 19 novel UROD mutations. Moreover, the results document the usefulness of molecular testing to confirm a genetic susceptibility trait in Type 2 PCT, confirm a diagnosis in HEP, and identify heterozygous family members.

  • Acute hepatic porphyrias: Identification of 46 hydroxymethylbilane synthase, 11 coproporphyrinogen oxidase, and 20 protoporphyrinogen oxidase novel mutations
    Mol. Genet. Metab. (IF 3.610) Pub Date : 2018-10-26
    Yonina Loskove, Makiko Yasuda, Brenden Chen, Irina Nazarenko, Neal Cody, Robert J. Desnick

    The acute hepatic porphyrias (AHPs) are inborn errors of heme biosynthesis, which include three autosomal dominant porphyrias, Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP), Hereditary Coproporphyria (HCP), and Variegate Porphyria (VP), and the ultra-rare autosomal recessive porphyria, δ-Aminolevulinic Acid Dehydratase Deficiency Porphyria (ADP). AIP, HCP, VP, and ADP each results from loss-of-function (LOF) mutations in their disease-causing genes: hydroxymethylbilane synthase (HMBS); coproporphyrinogen oxidase (CPOX); protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPOX), and δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD), respectively. During the 11-year period from January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2017, the Mount Sinai Porphyrias Diagnostic Laboratory diagnosed 315 unrelated AIP individuals with HMBS mutations, including 46 previously unreported mutations, 29 unrelated HCP individuals with CPOX mutations, including 11 previously unreported mutations, and 54 unrelated VP individuals with PPOX mutations, including 20 previously unreported mutations. Overall, of the 1692 unrelated individuals referred for AHP molecular diagnostic testing, 398 (23.5%) had an AHP mutation. Of the 650 family members of mutation-positive individuals tested for an autosomal dominant AHP, 304 (46.8%) had their respective family mutation. These data expand the molecular genetic heterogeneity of the AHPs and document the usefulness of molecular testing to confirm the positive biochemical findings in symptomatic patients and identify at-risk asymptomatic family members.

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