Alternative approaches to modeling hereditary dystonias.
ABSTRACT: Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions resulting in abnormal postures. Although common in the clinic, the etiology of dystonia remains unclear. Most dystonias are idiopathic and are not associated with clear pathological brain abnormalities. Attempts to genetically model these dystonias in rodents have failed to replicate dystonic symptoms. This is at odds with the fact that rodents can exhibit dystonia. Because of this discrepancy, it is necessary to consider alternative approaches to generate phenotypically and genotypically faithful models of dystonia. Conditional knockout of dystonia-related genes is 1 technique that may prove useful for modeling genetic dystonias. Lentiviral-mediated small or short hairpin RNA (shRNA) knockdown of particular genes is another approach. Finally, in cases in which the function of a dystonia-related gene is well-known, pharmacological blockade of the protein product can be used. Such an approach was successfully implemented in the case of rapid-onset dystonia parkinsonism, DYT12. This (DYT12) is a hereditary dystonia caused by mutations in the ?? isoform of the sodium potassium adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) pump (sodium pump), which partially hampers its physiological function. It was found that partial selective pharmacological block of the sodium pumps in the cerebellum and basal ganglia of mice recapitulates all of the salient features of DYT12, including dystonia and parkinsonism induced by stress. This DYT12 model is unique in that it faithfully replicates human symptoms of DYT12, while targeting the genetic cause of this disorder. Acute disruption of proteins implicated in dystonia may prove a generally fruitful method to model dystonia in rodents.
Project description:Dystonia is a neurological disorder characterized by abnormal involuntary movements that are prolonged and often cause twisting and turning. Several genetically modified worms, fruit flies, and rodents have been generated as models of genetic dystonias, in particular DYT1, DYT11, and DYT12 dystonias. Although these models do not show overt dystonic symptoms, the rodent models exhibit motor deficits in specialized behavioral tasks, such as the rotarod and beam-walking tests. For example, in a rodent model of DYT12 dystonia, which is generally stress triggered, motor deficits are observed only after the animal is stressed. Moreover, in a rodent model of DYT1 dystonia, the motor and electrophysiological deficits can be rescued by trihexyphenidyl, a common anticholinergic medication used to treat dystonic symptoms in human patients. Biochemically, the DYT1 and DYT11 animal models also share some similarities to patients, such as a reduction in striatal D2 dopamine receptor and binding activities. In addition, conditional knockout mouse models for DYT1 and DYT11 dystonia demonstrate that loss of the causal dystonia-related proteins in the striatum leads to motor deficits. Interestingly, loss of the DYT1 dystonia causal protein in Purkinje cells shows an improvement in motor performance, suggesting that gene therapy targeting of the cerebellum or intervention in its downstream pathways may be useful. Finally, recent studies using DYT1 dystonia worm and mouse models led to a potential novel therapeutic agent, which is currently undergoing clinical trials. These results indicate that genetic animal models are powerful tools to elucidate the pathophysiology and to further develop new therapeutics for dystonia.
Project description:Globus pallidus internus deep brain stimulation (GPi DBS) is the most effective intervention for medically refractory segmental and generalized dystonia in both children and adults. Predictive factors for the degree of improvement after GPi DBS include shorter disease duration and dystonia subtype with idiopathic isolated dystonia usually responding better than acquired combined dystonias. Other factors contributing to variability in outcome may include body distribution, pattern of dystonia and DBS related factors such as lead placement and stimulation parameters. The responsiveness to DBS appears to vary between different monogenic forms of dystonia, with some improving more than others. The first observation in this regard was reports of superior DBS outcomes in DYT-TOR1A (DYT1) dystonia, although other studies have found no difference. Recently a subgroup with young onset DYT-TOR1A, more rapid progression and secondary worsening after effective GPi DBS, has been described. Myoclonus dystonia due to DYT-SCGE (DYT11) usually responds well to GPi DBS. Good outcomes following GPi DBS have also been documented in X-linked dystonia Parkinsonism (DYT3). In contrast, poorer, more variable DBS outcomes have been reported in DYT-THAP1 (DYT6) including a recent larger series. The outcome of GPi DBS in other monogenic isolated and combined dystonias including DYT-GNAL (DYT25), DYT-KMT2B (DYT28), DYT-ATP1A3 (DYT12), and DYT-ANO3 (DYT24) have been reported with varying results in smaller numbers of patients. In this article the available evidence for long term GPi DBS outcome between different genetic dystonias is reviewed to reappraise popular perceptions of expected outcomes and revisit whether genetic diagnosis may assist in predicting DBS outcome.
Project description:Literary reports on dystonia date back to post-Medieval times. Medical reports are instead more recent. We review here the early descriptions and the historical establishment of a consensus on the clinical phenomenology and the diagnostic features of dystonia syndromes. Lumping and splitting exercises have characterized this area of knowledge, and it remains largely unclear how many dystonia types we are to count. This review describes the history leading to recognize that focal dystonia syndromes are a coherent clinical set encompassing cranial dystonia (including blepharospasm), oromandibular dystonia, spasmodic torticollis, truncal dystonia, writer's cramp, and other occupational dystonias. Papers describing features of dystonia and diagnostic criteria are critically analyzed and put into historical perspective. Issues and inconsistencies in this lumping effort are discussed, and the currently unmet needs are critically reviewed.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Dystonia, a debilitating movement disorder characterized by abnormal fixed positions and/or twisting postures, is associated with dysfunction of motor control networks. While gross brain lesions can produce secondary dystonias, advanced neuroimaging techniques have been required to identify network abnormalities in primary dystonias. Prior neuroimaging studies have provided valuable insights into the pathophysiology of dystonia, but few directly assessed the gross volume of motor control regions, and to our knowledge, none identified abnormalities common to multiple types of idiopathic focal dystonia.<h4>Methods</h4>We used two gross volumetric segmentation techniques and one voxelwise volumetric technique (voxel based morphometry, VBM) to compare regional volume between matched healthy controls and patients with idiopathic primary focal dystonia (cervical, n = 17, laryngeal, n = 7). We used (1) automated gross volume measures of eight motor control regions using the FreeSurfer analysis package; (2) blinded, anatomist-supervised manual segmentation of the whole thalamus (also gross volume); and (3) voxel based morphometry, which measures local T1-weighted signal intensity and estimates gray matter density or volume at the level of single voxels, for both whole-brain and thalamus.<h4>Results</h4>Using both automated and manual gross volumetry, we found a significant volume decrease only in the thalamus in two focal dystonias. Decreases in whole-thalamic volume were independent of head and brain size, laterality of symptoms, and duration. VBM measures did not differ between dystonia and control groups in any motor control region.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Reduced thalamic gross volume, detected in two independent analyses, suggests a common anatomical abnormality in cervical dystonia and spasmodic dysphonia. Defining the structural underpinnings of dystonia may require such complementary approaches.
Project description:Dystonias are heterogeneous hyperkinetic movement disorders characterized by involuntary muscle contractions which result in twisting and repetitive movements and abnormal postures. Several causative genes have been identified, but their genetic bases still remain elusive. Primary Torsion Dystonias (PTDs), in which dystonia is the only clinical sign, can be inherited in a monogenic fashion, and many genes and loci have been identified for autosomal dominant (DYT1/TOR1A; DYT6/THAP1; DYT4/TUBB4a; DYT7; DYT13; DYT21; DYT23/CIZ1; DYT24/ANO3; DYT25/GNAL) and recessive (DYT2; DYT17) forms. However most sporadic cases, especially those with late-onset, are likely multifactorial, with genetic and environmental factors interplaying to reach a threshold of disease. At present, genetic counseling of dystonia patients remains a difficult task. Recently non-motor clinical findings in dystonias, new highlights in the pathophysiology of the disease, and the availability of high-throughput genome-wide techniques are proving useful tools to better understand the complexity of PTD genetics. We briefly review the genetic basis of the most common forms of hereditary PTDs, and discuss relevant issues related to molecular diagnosis and genetic counseling.
Project description:Focal dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that determine abnormal postures. The traditional hypothesis that the pathophysiology of focal dystonia entails a single structural dysfunction (i.e. basal ganglia) has recently come under scrutiny. The proposed network disorder model implies that focal dystonias arise from aberrant communication between various brain areas. Based on findings from animal studies, the role of the cerebellum has attracted increased interest in the last few years. Moreover, it has been increasingly reported that focal dystonias also include nonmotor disturbances, including sensory processing abnormalities, which have begun to attract attention. Current evidence from neurophysiological and neuroimaging investigations suggests that cerebellar involvement in the network and mechanisms underlying sensory abnormalities may have a role in determining the clinical heterogeneity of focal dystonias.
Project description:Background:Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the globus pallidus internus (GPi-DBS) is among the most effective treatment options for dystonias. Because the term "dystonia" is defined by a characteristic phenomenology of involuntary muscle contractions, which may present with a large clinical and pathogenetic heterogeneity, decision making for or against GPi-DBS can be difficult in individual patients. Methods:A search of the PubMed database for research and review articles, focused on "deep brain stimulation" and "dystonia" was used to identify clinical trials and to determine current concepts in the surgical management of dystonia. Patient selection in previous studies was recategorized by the authors using the new dystonia classification put forward by a consensus committee of experts in dystonia research. The evidence and knowledge gaps are summarized and commented by the authors taking into account expert opinion and personal clinical experience for providing practical guidance in patient selection for DBS in dystonia. Results:The literature review shows that pallidal deep brain stimulation is most effective in patients with isolated dystonia irrespective of the underlying etiology. In contrast, patients with combined dystonias are less likely to benefit from DBS, because the associated neurological symptoms (e.g., hypotonia or ataxia), with the exception of myoclonus, do not respond to pallidal neurostimulation. Conclusions:It is important to recognize the clinical features of dystonia, because the distinction between isolated and combined dystonia syndromes may predict the treatment response to pallidal deep brain stimulation. The aim of this review is to help guide clinicians with advising patients about deep brain stimulation therapy for dystonia and refering appropriate candidates to surgical centers.
Project description:Rehabilitation interventions are rarely utilized as an alternative or adjunct therapy for focal dystonias. Reasons for limited utilization are unknown, but lack of conclusive evidence of effectiveness is likely a crucial factor.The purpose of this systematic review was to determine the level of evidence for rehabilitation interventions in focal dystonias. Rehabilitation interventions were classified based upon the underlying theoretical basis of different approaches, and the strength of evidence for each category was evaluated to identify gaps in the field. Prospective studies using rehabilitation methods in cervical, hand, and foot dystonia were reviewed. The key elements of treatments tested were identified and studies were grouped into six categories based on the theoretical basis of the intervention: (1) movement practice, (2) training with constraint, (3) sensory reorganization, (4) normalization of muscle activity with external techniques, (5) neuromodulation with training, and (6) compensatory strategies. Quality of the body of evidence ranged from very low-to-low according to the grades of recommendation, assessment, development, and evaluation (GRADE). Despite inconclusive evidence for these rehabilitation approaches, data suggest that intensive movement practice and neuromodulation combined with motor training should be further explored.This systematic review presents a novel approach to classify studies of rehabilitation in focal dystonias based on the theoretical basis of intervention. The proposed classification system will move toward a unified theoretical understanding of rehabilitation interventions in dystonia. Moreover, it will help provide recommendations for clinical applications and future investigations.
Project description:Mutations in RAB (member of the Ras superfamily) genes are increasingly recognized as cause of a variety of disorders including neurological conditions. While musician's dystonia (MD) and writer's dystonia (WD) are task-specific movement disorders, other dystonias persistently affect postures as in cervical dystonia. Little is known about the underlying etiology. Next-generation sequencing revealed a rare missense variant (c.586A>G; p.Ile196Val) in RAB12 in two of three MD/WD families. Next, we tested 916 additional dystonia patients; 512 Parkinson's disease patients; and 461 healthy controls for RAB12 variants and identified 10 additional carriers of rare missense changes among dystonia patients (1.1%) but only one carrier in non-dystonic individuals (0.1%; p = 0.005). The detected variants among index patients comprised p.Ile196Val (n = 6); p.Ala174Thr (n = 3); p.Gly13Asp; p.Ala148Thr; and p.Arg181Gln in patients with MD; cervical dystonia; or WD. Two relatives of MD patients with WD also carried p.Ile196Val. The two variants identified in MD patients (p.Ile196Val; p.Gly13Asp) were characterized on endogenous levels in patient-derived fibroblasts and in two RAB12-overexpressing cell models. The ability to hydrolyze guanosine triphosphate (GTP), so called GTPase activity, was increased in mutants compared to wildtype. Furthermore, subcellular distribution of RAB12 in mutants was altered in fibroblasts. Soluble Transferrin receptor 1 levels were reduced in the blood of all three tested p.Ile196Val carriers. In conclusion, we demonstrate an enrichment of missense changes among dystonia patients. Functional characterization revealed altered enzyme activity and lysosomal distribution in mutants suggesting a contribution of RAB12 variants to MD and other dystonias.
Project description:Genetic findings of the past years have provided ample evidence for a substantial etiologic heterogeneity of dystonic syndromes. While an increasing number of genes are being identified for Mendelian forms of isolated and combined dystonias using classical genetic mapping and whole-exome sequencing techniques, their precise role in the molecular pathogenesis is still largely unknown. Also, the role of genetic risk factors in the etiology of sporadic dystonias is still enigmatic. Only the systematic ascertainment and precise clinical characterization of very large cohorts with dystonia, combined with systematic genetic studies, will be able to unravel the complex network of factors that determine disease risk and phenotypic expression.