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Migraine is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as being one of the top 20 most debilitating diseases. According to the neurovascular hypothesis, neuroinflammation may promote the activation and sensitisation of meningeal nociceptors, inducing the persistent throbbing headache characterized in migraine. The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) gene cluster, made up of TNFα, lymphotoxin α (LTA), and lymphotoxin β (LTB), has been implicated to influence the intensity and duration of local inflammation. It is thought that sterile inflammation mediated by LTA, LTB, and TNFα contributes to threshold brain excitability, propagation of neuronal hyperexcitability and thus initiation and maintenance of a migraine attack. Previous studies have investigated variants within the TNF gene cluster region in relation to migraine susceptibility, with largely conflicting results. The aim of this study was to expand on previous research and utilize a large case-control cohort and range of variants within the TNF gene cluster to investigate the role of the TNF gene cluster in migraine. Nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected for investigation as follows: rs1800683, rs2229094, rs2009658, rs2071590, rs2239704, rs909253, rs1800630, rs1800629, and rs3093664. No significant association with migraine susceptibility was found for any of the SNPs tested, with further testing according to migraine subtype and gender also showing no association for disease risk. Haplotype analysis showed that none of the tested haplotypes were significantly associated with migraine.
Familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) is a rare autosomal dominant subtype of migraine with aura. It is divided into three subtypes FHM1, FHM2 and FHM3, which are caused by mutations in the CACNA1A, ATP1A2 and SCN1A genes respectively. As part of a regular diagnostic service, we investigated 168 patients with FHM symptoms. Samples were tested for mutations contained within the CACNA1A gene. Some tested samples (4.43%) showed an FHM1 mutation, with five of the mutations found in exon 5, one mutation in exon 16 and one in exon 17. Four polymorphisms were also detected, one of which occurred in a large percentage of samples (14.88%). The exon 16 2094G>A polymorphism, however, has been found to occur in healthy Caucasian control populations up to a frequency of 16% and is not considered to be significantly associated with FHM. A finding of significance, found in a single patient, was the detection of a novel mutation in exon 5 that results in a P225H change. The affected individual was an 8-year-old female. The exact phenotypic effect of this mutation is unknown, and further studies are needed to understand the pathophysiology of this mutation in FHM1. New information will allow for diagnostic procedures to be constantly updated, thus improving accuracy of diagnosis. It is possible that new information will also aid the development of new therapeutic agents for the treatment of FHM.
Aim: To describe the recruitment, ophthalmic examination methods and distribution of ocular biometry of participants in the Norfolk Island Eye Study, who were individuals descended from the English Bounty mutineers and their Polynesian wives. Methods: All 1,275 permanent residents of Norfolk Island aged over 15 years were invited to participate, including 602 individuals involved in a 2001 cardiovascular disease study. Participants completed a detailed questionnaire and underwent a comprehensive eye assessment including stereo disc and retinal photography, ocular coherence topography and conjunctival autofluorescence assessment. Additionally, blood or saliva was taken for DNA testing. Results: 781 participants aged over 15 years were seen (54% female), comprising 61% of the permanent Island population. 343 people (43.9%) could trace their family history to the Pitcairn Islanders (Norfolk Island Pitcairn Pedigree). Mean anterior chamber depth was 3.32mm, mean axial length (AL) was 23.5mm, and mean central corneal thickness was 546 microns. There were no statistically significant differences in these characteristics between persons with and without Pitcairn Island ancestry. Mean intra-ocular pressure was lower in people with Pitcairn Island ancestry: 15.89mmHg compared to those without Pitcairn Island ancestry 16.49mmHg (P = .007). The mean keratometry value was lower in people with Pitcairn Island ancestry (43.22 vs. 43.52, P = .007). The corneas were flatter in people of Pitcairn ancestry but there was no corresponding difference in AL or refraction. Conclusion: Our study population is highly representative of the permanent population of Norfolk Island. Ocular biometry was similar to that of other white populations. Heritability estimates, linkage analysis and genome-wide studies will further elucidate the genetic determinants of chronic ocular diseases in this genetic isolate.
In the mammary gland, Wnt signals are strongly implicated in initial development of the mammary rudiments and in the ductal branching and alveolar morphogenesis that occurs during pregnancy. Previously, we identified two Wnt signaling pathway-implicated genes, PPP3CA and MARK4, as having a role in more aggressive and potentially metastatic breast tumors. In this study, we examined two SNPs within PPP3CA and MARK4 in an Australian case-control study population for a potential role in human breast cancers. 182 cases and 180 controls were successfully genotyped for the PPP3CA SNP (rs2850328) and 182 cases and 177 controls were successfully genotyped for the MARK4 SNP (rs2395) using High Resolution Melt (HRM) analysis. Genotypes of randomly selected samples for both SNPs were validated by dye terminator sequencing. Chi-square tests were performed to determine any significant differences in the genotype and allele frequencies between the cases and controls. Chi-square analysis showed no statistically significant difference (ρ > .05) for genotype frequencies between cases and controls for rs2850328 (χ2 = 1.2, p = .5476) or rs2395 (χ2 = .3, p = .8608). Similarly, no statistical difference was observed for allele frequencies for rs2850328 (χ2 = .68, p = .4108) or rs2395 (χ2 = .02, p = .893). Even though an association of the polymorphisms rs2850328 and rs2395 and breast cancer was not detected in our case-control study population, other variants within the PPP3CA and MARK4 genes may still be associated with breast cancer, as both genes are implicated with processes involved in the disease as well as their mutual partaking in the Wnt signaling pathway.
microRNAs are small, non-coding RNAs that influence gene expression on a post-transcriptional level. They participate in diverse biological pathways and may act as either tumor suppressor genes or oncogenes. As they may have an effect on thousands of target mRNAs, single-nucleotide polymorphisms in microRNA genes might have major functional consequences, because the microRNA's properties and/or maturation may change. miR-196a has been reported to be aberrantly expressed in breast cancer tissue. Additionally, the SNP rs11614913 in hsa-mir-196a-2 has been found to be associated with breast cancer risk in some studies although not in others. This study evaluated the association between rs11614913 and breast cancer risk in a Caucasian case-control cohort in Queensland, Australia. Results do not support an association of the tested hsa-mir-196a-2 polymorphism with breast cancer susceptibility in this cohort. As there is a discrepancy between our results and previous findings, it is important to assess the role of rs11614913 in breast cancer by further larger studies investigating different ethnic groups.
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