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Background: Biallelic variants in POLR1C are associated with POLR3-related leukodystrophy (POLR3-HLD), or 4H leukodystrophy (Hypomyelination, Hypodontia, Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism), and Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS). The clinical spectrum of POLR3-HLD caused by variants in this gene has not been described. Methods: A cross-sectional observational study involving 25 centers worldwide was conducted between 2016 and 2018. The clinical, radiologic and molecular features of 23 unreported and previously reported cases of POLR3-HLD caused by POLR1C variants were reviewed. Results: Most participants presented between birth and age 6 years with motor difficulties. Neurological deterioration was seen during childhood, suggesting a more severe phenotype than previously described. The dental, ocular and endocrine features often seen in POLR3-HLD were not invariably present. Five patients (22%) had a combination of hypomyelinating leukodystrophy and abnormal craniofacial development, including one individual with clear TCS features. Several cases did not exhibit all the typical radiologic characteristics of POLR3-HLD. A total of 29 different pathogenic variants in POLR1C were identified, including 13 new disease-causing variants. Conclusions: Based on the largest cohort of patients to date, these results suggest novel characteristics of POLR1C-related disorder, with a spectrum of clinical involvement characterized by hypomyelinating leukodystrophy with or without abnormal craniofacial development reminiscent of TCS.
The value of the nosological distinction between non-affective and affective psychosis has frequently been challenged. We aimed to investigate the transdiagnostic dimensional structure and associated characteristics of psychopathology at First Episode Psychosis (FEP). Regardless of diagnostic categories, we expected that positive symptoms occurred more frequently in ethnic minority groups and in more densely populated environments, and that negative symptoms were associated with indices of neurodevelopmental impairment.
This study included 2182 FEP individuals recruited across six countries, as part of the EUropean network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene–Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. Symptom ratings were analysed using multidimensional item response modelling in Mplus to estimate five theory-based models of psychosis. We used multiple regression models to examine demographic and context factors associated with symptom dimensions.
A bifactor model, composed of one general factor and five specific dimensions of positive, negative, disorganization, manic and depressive symptoms, best-represented associations among ratings of psychotic symptoms. Positive symptoms were more common in ethnic minority groups. Urbanicity was associated with a higher score on the general factor. Men presented with more negative and less depressive symptoms than women. Early age-at-first-contact with psychiatric services was associated with higher scores on negative, disorganized, and manic symptom dimensions.
Our results suggest that the bifactor model of psychopathology holds across diagnostic categories of non-affective and affective psychosis at FEP, and demographic and context determinants map onto general and specific symptom dimensions. These findings have implications for tailoring symptom-specific treatments and inform research into the mood-psychosis spectrum.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
The nutrient choline is necessary for membrane synthesis and methyl donation, with increased requirements during lactation. The majority of immune development occurs postnatally, but the importance of choline supply for immune development during this critical period is unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the importance of maternal supply of choline during suckling on immune function in their offspring among rodents. At parturition, Sprague–Dawley dams were randomised to either a choline-devoid (ChD; n 7) or choline-sufficient (ChS, 1 g/kg choline; n 10) diet with their offspring euthanised at 3 weeks of age. In a second experiment, offspring were weaned to a ChS diet until 10 weeks of age (ChD-ChS, n 5 and ChS-ChS, n 9). Splenocytes were isolated, and parameters of immune function were measured. The ChD offspring received less choline in breast milk and had lower final body and organ weight compared with ChS offspring (P<0·05), but this effect disappeared by week 10 with choline supplementation from weaning. ChD offspring had a higher proportion of T cells expressing activation markers (CD71 or CD28) and a lower proportion of total B cells (CD45RA+) and responded less to T cell stimulation (lower stimulation index and less IFN-γ production) ex vivo (P<0·05). ChD-ChS offspring had a lower proportion of total and activated CD4+ T cells, and produced less IL-6 after mitogen stimulation compared with cells from ChS-ChS (P<0·05). Our study suggests that choline is required in the suckling diet to facilitate immune development, and choline deprivation during this critical period has lasting effects on T cell function later in life.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and disabling condition with well-established heritability and environmental risk factors. Gene–environment interaction studies in MDD have typically investigated candidate genes, though the disorder is known to be highly polygenic. This study aims to test for interaction between polygenic risk and stressful life events (SLEs) or childhood trauma (CT) in the aetiology of MDD.
The RADIANT UK sample consists of 1605 MDD cases and 1064 controls with SLE data, and a subset of 240 cases and 272 controls with CT data. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were constructed using results from a mega-analysis on MDD by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. PRS and environmental factors were tested for association with case/control status and for interaction between them.
PRS significantly predicted depression, explaining 1.1% of variance in phenotype (p = 1.9 × 10−6). SLEs and CT were also associated with MDD status (p = 2.19 × 10−4 and p = 5.12 × 10−20, respectively). No interactions were found between PRS and SLEs. Significant PRSxCT interactions were found (p = 0.002), but showed an inverse association with MDD status, as cases who experienced more severe CT tended to have a lower PRS than other cases or controls. This relationship between PRS and CT was not observed in independent replication samples.
CT is a strong risk factor for MDD but may have greater effect in individuals with lower genetic liability for the disorder. Including environmental risk along with genetics is important in studying the aetiology of MDD and PRS provide a useful approach to investigating gene–environment interactions in complex traits.
Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 became the predominant circulating strain in the United States during the 2013–2014 influenza season. Little is known about the epidemiology of severe influenza during this season.
A retrospective cohort study of severely ill patients with influenza infection in intensive care units in 33 US hospitals from September 1, 2013, through April 1, 2014, was conducted to determine risk factors for mortality present on intensive care unit admission and to describe patient characteristics, spectrum of disease, management, and outcomes.
A total of 444 adults and 63 children were admitted to an intensive care unit in a study hospital; 93 adults (20.9%) and 4 children (6.3%) died. By logistic regression analysis, the following factors were significantly associated with mortality among adult patients: older age (>65 years, odds ratio, 3.1 [95% CI, 1.4–6.9], P=.006 and 50–64 years, 2.5 [1.3–4.9], P=.007; reference age 18–49 years), male sex (1.9 [1.1–3.3], P=.031), history of malignant tumor with chemotherapy administered within the prior 6 months (12.1 [3.9–37.0], P<.001), and a higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (for each increase by 1 in score, 1.3 [1.2–1.4], P<.001).
Risk factors for death among US patients with severe influenza during the 2013–2014 season, when influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 was the predominant circulating strain type, shifted in the first postpandemic season in which it predominated toward those of a more typical epidemic influenza season.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1251–1260
Both maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations during pregnancy and
placental amino acid transporter gene expression have been associated with
development of the offspring in terms of body composition and bone structure.
Several amino acid transporter genes have vitamin D response elements in their
promoters suggesting the possible linkage of these two mechanisms. We aimed to
establish whether maternal 25(OH)D and vitamin D-binding protein (VDBP) levels
relate to expression of placental amino acid transporters. RNA was extracted
from 102 placental samples collected in the Southampton Women's Survey,
and gene expression was analysed using quantitative real-time PCR. Gene
expression data were normalised to the geometric mean of three housekeeping
genes, and related to maternal factors and childhood body composition. Maternal
serum 25(OH)D and VDBP levels were measured by radioimmunoassay. Maternal
25(OH)D and VDBP levels were positively associated with placental expression of
specific genes involved in amino acid transport. Maternal 25(OH)D and VDBP
concentrations were correlated with the expression of specific placental amino
acid transporters, and thus may be involved in the regulation of amino acid
transfer to the fetus. The positive correlation of VDBP levels and placental
transporter expression suggests that delivery of vitamin D to the placenta may
be important. This exploratory study identifies placental amino acid
transporters which may be altered in response to modifiable maternal factors and
provides a basis for further studies.
Strategies to dissect phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity of major depressive disorder (MDD) have mainly relied on subphenotypes, such as age at onset (AAO) and recurrence/episodicity. Yet, evidence on whether these subphenotypes are familial or heritable is scarce. The aims of this study are to investigate the familiality of AAO and episode frequency in MDD and to assess the proportion of their variance explained by common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP heritability).
For investigating familiality, we used 691 families with 2–5 full siblings with recurrent MDD from the DeNt study. We fitted (square root) AAO and episode count in a linear and a negative binomial mixed model, respectively, with family as random effect and adjusting for sex, age and center. The strength of familiality was assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). For estimating SNP heritabilities, we used 3468 unrelated MDD cases from the RADIANT and GSK Munich studies. After similarly adjusting for covariates, derived residuals were used with the GREML method in GCTA (genome-wide complex trait analysis) software.
Significant familial clustering was found for both AAO (ICC = 0.28) and episodicity (ICC = 0.07). We calculated from respective ICC estimates the maximal additive heritability of AAO (0.56) and episodicity (0.15). SNP heritability of AAO was 0.17 (p = 0.04); analysis was underpowered for calculating SNP heritability of episodicity.
AAO and episodicity aggregate in families to a moderate and small degree, respectively. AAO is under stronger additive genetic control than episodicity. Larger samples are needed to calculate the SNP heritability of episodicity. The described statistical framework could be useful in future analyses.
Clinical and ethical implications of personality and mood changes in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients treated with subthalamic deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) are under debate. Although subjectively perceived personality changes are often mentioned by patients and caregivers, few empirical studies concerning these changes exist. Therefore, we analysed subjectively perceived personality and mood changes in STN-DBS PD patients.
In this prospective study of the ELSA-DBS group, 27 PD patients were assessed preoperatively and 1 year after STN-DBS surgery. Two categories, personality and mood changes, were analysed with semi-structured interviews. Patients were grouped into personality change yes/no, as well as positive/negative mood change groups. Caregivers were additionally interviewed about patients’ personality changes. Characteristics of each group were assessed with standard neurological and psychiatric measurements. Predictors for changes were analysed.
Personality changes were perceived by six of 27 (22%) patients and by 10 of 23 caregivers (44%). The preoperative hypomania trait was a significant predictor for personality change perceived by patients. Of 21 patients, 12 (57%) perceived mood as positively changed. Higher apathy and anxiety ratings were found in the negative change group.
Our results show that a high proportion of PD patients and caregivers perceived personality changes under STN-DBS, emphasizing the relevance of this topic. Mood changed in positive and negative directions. Standard measurement scales failed to adequately reflect personality or mood changes subjectively perceived by patients. A more individualized preoperative screening and preparation for patients and caregivers, as well as postoperative support, could therefore be useful.
The use of organic nonlinear optical (ONLO) materials in electro-optic (EO) modulators requires that the active molecular components (chromophores) be acentrically oriented. The fundamental molecular constituents are in a condensed, glassy phase. Molecular orientation in such systems is typically achieved by applying a DC poling field to the glassy material. We are developing efficient coarse-grained classical Monte Carlo (MC) methods to simulate the order of such systems. The most challenging aspects of these simulations are convergence to an experimentally relevant equilibrium ensemble and verification of simulation accuracy. We use a variety of molecular descriptions and a variety of MC methods to achieve proper order in the shortest number of computational cycles possible. Herein, we illustrate a few examples of the types of calculations and compare with experimental results with representative amorphous organic materials, including electro-optic chromophores.
Although usually thought of as external environmental stressors, a significant heritable component has been reported for measures of stressful life events (SLEs) in twin studies.
We examined the variance in SLEs captured by common genetic variants from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 2578 individuals. Genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) was used to estimate the phenotypic variance tagged by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We also performed a GWAS on the number of SLEs, and looked at correlations between siblings.
A significant proportion of variance in SLEs was captured by SNPs (30%, p = 0.04). When events were divided into those considered to be dependent or independent, an equal amount of variance was explained for both. This ‘heritability’ was in part confounded by personality measures of neuroticism and psychoticism. A GWAS for the total number of SLEs revealed one SNP that reached genome-wide significance (p = 4 × 10−8), although this association was not replicated in separate samples. Using available sibling data for 744 individuals, we also found a significant positive correlation of R2 = 0.08 in SLEs (p = 0.03).
These results provide independent validation from molecular data for the heritability of reporting environmental measures, and show that this heritability is in part due to both common variants and the confounding effect of personality.
Lyme borreliosis (LB) is the most common arthropod-borne disease of humans in the Northern hemisphere. In Europe, the causative agent, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex, is principally vectored by Ixodes ricinus ticks. The aim of this study was to identify environmental factors influencing questing I. ricinus nymph abundance and B. burgdorferi s.l. infection in questing nymphs using a large-scale survey across Scotland. Ticks, host dung and vegetation were surveyed at 25 woodland sites, and climatic variables from a Geographical Information System (GIS) were extracted for each site. A total of 2397 10 m2 transect surveys were conducted and 13 250 I. ricinus nymphs counted. Questing nymphs were assayed for B. burgdorferi s.l. and the average infection prevalence was 5·6% (range 0·8–13·9%). More questing nymphs and higher incidence of B. burgdorferi s.l. infection were found in areas with higher deer abundance and in mixed/deciduous compared to coniferous forests, as well as weaker correlations with season, altitude, rainfall and ground vegetation. No correlation was found between nymph abundance and infection prevalence within the ranges encountered. An understanding of the environmental conditions associated with tick abundance and pathogen prevalence may be used to reduce risk of exposure and to predict future pathogen prevalence and distributions under environmental changes.
We report on experiments aimed at the generation and characterization of solid density plasmas at the free-electron laser FLASH in Hamburg. Aluminum samples were irradiated with XUV pulses at 13.5 nm wavelength (92 eV photon energy). The pulses with duration of a few tens of femtoseconds and pulse energy up to 100 µJ are focused to intensities ranging between 1013 and 1017 W/cm2. We investigate the absorption and temporal evolution of the sample under irradiation by use of XUV and optical spectroscopy. We discuss the origin of saturable absorption, radiative decay, bremsstrahlung and atomic and ionic line emission. Our experimental results are in good agreement with simulations.